When the WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese signed a five-year deal with PlayOn! Sports to broadcast the WIAA/Dairy Farmers of Washington/Les Schwab Tires State Championships, he anticipated that it would be a success. What he did not see coming was the thriving following of viewers the WIAA Network would generate in the first year of the contract.
During the 2011-12 school year, PlayOn! Sports produced and distributed coverage for 11 different WIAA athletic and activity events. Overall, the Network generated over 630,000 total page views and reached over 100,000 unique visitors that spanned each of the 50 States and over 97 different countries around the world. The top 5 countries outside the US to log on to the Network were Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and Australia.
“The Association wanted to provide more exposure for all State Championships, not just the big sports like basketball and football that had been televised in the past,” Colbrese said. “The amount of viewers in our first year is very encouraging, and as we move forward and expand our coverage, it will be exciting to track our progress.”
In the fall, the Network provided coverage for cross-country, 3A, 4A girls soccer, girls swimming/diving, and football. Nearly 50,000 viewers watched the free online streaming that first season.
Momentum carried into the winter where the Network aired all six classifications of the basketball championships for both boys and girls. In addition, all six mats at the wrestling finals were aired, along with the dance/drill and cheer competitions. Just under the 60,000 mark, the winter proved to be the most successful season for the Network.
The year finished with spring coverage at 3A, 4A baseball, 4A softball and 2A, 3A, 4A track and field. The unprecedented, live, three-day track coverage eclipsed the 20,000 mark, to bring the spring total to 28,643.
“The Association has heard tremendous reviews about the quality of the broadcasts and the accessibility of the Network from family and friends of the participating student athletes,” Colbrese said. “It’s an exciting time for high school programs in the state of Washington.”
The WIAA and PlayON! Sports will meet over the summer to determine which events will be covered for the following year. When the contract is fully implemented, the Network will feature 200 state tournament and championship events.
To view the archived footage for on-demand viewings go to www.WIAANetwork.com