High school sports broadcasting company, known for exclusivity contracts, expands



The trend of broadcast companies receiving exclusive broadcasting rights to high school sporting events could continue to expand now that one of the one of the largest producers and aggregators of high school sports coverage is growing its team.

PlayOn! Sports has contracts with 28 state scholastic athletic associations, many of them giving PlayOn! exclusive rights to broadcast many postseason high school events. The company just acquired Digital Scout, an Ohio company that tracks athletic statistics for roughly 60 percent of high schools, according to its website.

Advisers and student journalists have raised concerns about the impact of such companies, which contract to receive exclusive rights to broadcast sports events. In some cases student reporters have said they weren’t able to receive credentials or have faced restrictions on live-broadcasting and play-by-play reporting. An article in the winter 2014 edition of SPLC’s Report covered the issue of the restrictions places on student journalists as a result of these contracts.

Students in at at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colo., faced regulations because PlayOn! has exclusive rights from the Colorado High School Athletic Association to show postseason games, Joe Quigley said in the article. Quigley is a sports reporter for RJ Live, Regis Jesuit’s broadcast journalism club.

“It’s (CHSAA) supposed to be promoting sports and activities and things like that among our other schools so kids can succeed,” Quigley said. “By putting limits on broadcasting, it’s limiting our ability to flourish in a high-pressure playoff situation, since it’s not live anymore.”

The company could continue to grow, as this year PlayOn! broadcasted nearly 40,000 games, while the estimated total market share is 2 million games a year, David Randolph, the company’s CEO told Columbus Business First in February.

PlayOn! will fully integrate Digital Scout’s content sometime this fall, according to a PlayOn! news release.

Tagged: exclusive broadcasting rights, newsgathering, photojournalism