EAST LANSING – Live postseason events streamed on MHSAA.tv during the 2020-21 school year were viewed nearly 1 million times, with 15 events drawing more than 10,000 live views apiece.
The final championship weekend of the Spring – featuring Girls Soccer Finals and Baseball and Softball Semifinals & Finals, all across four divisions June 17-19 at Michigan State University – saw nearly 70,000 live views on MHSAA.tv despite record attendance of those events at Old College Field.
The Division 2 Softball championship game – which ended with Owosso claiming its first Finals title in any sport, drew a weekend-high 5,677 live views on the network. The previous weekend, the Division 1 Girls Lacrosse Final won by Rockford on June 12 led the way with 4,284 live views.
The total number of live postseason views on MHSAA.tv for 2020-21 was 962,371. The most-viewed live tournament events were the Individual and Team Wrestling Finals, which with all rounds over all four divisions combined drew 244,044 live views. Among individual games broadcast solely by MHSAA.tv, the Division 3 Boys Basketball Semifinal matching Iron Mountain and Schoolcraft (15,393 live views) and the Division 1 Volleyball Semifinal featuring Novi and Lowell (13,484) ranked among the most watched.
MHSAA.tv is a partner of the NFHS Network. Postseason events streamed on MHSAA.tv included most sports’ Finals, and Semifinals and Quarterfinals for some – especially sports where multiple concluding rounds were hosted by the same tournament site.
MHSAA.tv also ranked second among NFHS Network contributing states with 18,973 live events (postseason and regular-season combined) streamed during the 2020-21 school year. That total of nearly 19,000 live postseason events was an increase from 7,710 events streamed live during 2019-20 and 3,900 during 2018-19, and placed Michigan behind only Illinois.
The School Broadcast Program is responsible for nearly all production of regular-season events. Having now concluded its 13th year, the SBP gives members an opportunity to showcase excellence in their schools by creating video programming of athletic and non-athletic events with students gaining skills in announcing, camera operation, directing/producing and graphics. Rockford – one of the state’s largest schools with nearly 2,500 students – broadcast 242 events, drawing an SBP-high 74,437 live views and 89,604 total with on-demand replays included. Much smaller Pewamo-Westphalia, a school of 300 students, received the second-most views of SBP members in 2020-21 with 56,009 including live and on-demand. Marquette, Lake Orion, Cedar Springs, Montrose and McBain also were among top SBP providers.
In addition to bringing local events on air nationally, the School Broadcast Program gives schools the opportunity to raise money through advertising and viewing subscriptions. NFHS Network subscriptions begin at $10.99 per month. Subscribers receive access to all live and on-demand video from across the country. School Broadcast Program participants receive a portion of every subscription sold by a school to benefit its program.
Broadcasts from the majority of Michigan schools – especially those lacking the ability to staff events for production – are streamed using a Pixellot automated camera. Michigan schools have 774 Pixellots in service, third-most in the country behind only Texas and California. Most Michigan schools have one camera at an outdoor stadium and a second at the main indoor gymnasium.
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 more than 1.4 million spectators each year.