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MHSAA Joins NFHS Network


Contact:  John Johnson 517.332.5046
media@mhsaa.com 

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Sept. 10 - The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) is one of 32 members of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) that has joined the NFHS Network, the new all-digital network devoted to coverage of high school sports and performing arts through the Internet at MHSAA.tv and  NFHSnetwork.com.

The NFHS, in association with PlayOn! Sports (PlayOn), announced the official launch of the NFHS Network on August 1. With coverage of boys and girls sports and activities initially in at least 32 states during the 2013-14 school year, the NFHS Network becomes the largest aggregated destination for coverage of high school sports in the country. Through a digital service  that is at least partially subscription-based available at MHSAA.tv and NFHSnetwork.com, more students, parents and fans will be able to watch high school sports than ever before.

In addition to the MHSAA, NFHS member associations in the following states have finalized agreements and will be a part of the NFHS Network as the 2013-14 season begins: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

In addition, member associations in a number of other states are expected to join the NFHS Network soon.

“We believe this is one of the greatest opportunities in the 94-year history of the NFHS as we are able to take advantage of new technology and showcase high school sports and performing arts across the United States,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “We are excited to provide viewership opportunities for fans of high school sports that have never existed before. The NFHS Network will help showcase our primary mission of expanding participation and opportunities for involvement in education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities.”

“For more than a century, school sports has had the highest profile of all youth sports,” said John E. “Jack” Roberts, MHSAA executive director.  “We feature pep assemblies, pep bans, marching bands, cheerleaders, homecoming parades and dances, letter jackets and other traditions, with large crowds of classmates, neighbors and families cheering on students.  Ours is a unique brand that stands out among all of youth sports.   Done right, this network will solidify interscholastic athletics as the most popular and principled youth sports experience for many more generations.”

Postseason games in all sports sponsored by the MHSAA will be available online on the Network, except for select championship events for which the MHSAA has existing television contracts with other media partners. Viewing opportunities for other NFHS Network events will be posted in the coming months at NFHSnetwork.com.

The NFHS Network will build on the past success of PlayOn’s high-quality coverage of high school sports at the state level.   PlayOn currently streams nearly 30,000 events per school year and has worked with 32 state associations and sections in 26 states.

“Teaming up with the NFHS is a natural progression to build a truly national high school sports platform while honoring the local communities that support them,” said David Rudolph, PlayOn! Sports chief executive officer. “Our mission is to serve the current and future generations of student-athletes, support and encourage their participation and make their performances accessible to their friends, family and fans on every media platform they use.”

The NFHS Network is a joint venture between the NFHS and PlayOn! Sports and will be governed and overseen by a combination of NFHS and PlayOn executives.   On August 8, Roberts was elected chairman of the five-member NFHS Network board of directors that will be responsible for guiding the Network.  “This won’t be easy,” Roberts said, “but nothing really worthwhile ever is.”

“Ultimately, we want to make the NFHS Network the most treasured and trusted source for high school athletics,” Gardner said.

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About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)
The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 16 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,000 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.6 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS Web site at nfhs.org.

About PlayOn! Sports
PlayOn! Sports is the largest rights holder, producer, and aggregator of high school sports events distributed across television, the Internet, and IP-video enabled mobile devices. By combining state associations’ postseason content with the regular-season events of member schools, PlayOn streams more than 30,000 high school sporting events a year, providing marketers with a unique multi-media platform solution to reach teens, young adults and families. PlayOn is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with offices in the Southeast, Midwest and California. View the PlayOn! Sports Network at playonsports.com and follow us on Twitter and Facebook @playonsports.

About the Michigan High School Athletic Association
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract approximately 1.6 million spectators each year.

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