This past week, I watched the State Championship games of Arizona, Washington, Oregon as well as playoff games in California on Direct TV. Besides this, State Championships from Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Florida were also on TV.
I am hearing the complainers now say - we are not like those other States! That is right and that is part of the problem with what is going on with High School Sports in this State.
When I was watching NFL on the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas this Sunday, I saw multiple Carls Jr commercials where they were touting the play of High School Athletes from Gorman and Palo Verde in football. This coming from the station in Las Vegas which shows less High School football highlites than any other station in Las Vegas if not Nevada.
So Channel 8 can land money from Carls Jr using High School Sports and yet our Leaders can not grab this same purse to help out High School sports? I am sure Palo and Gorman are not receiving one dime from these spots, all of the revenue is going direct to the station. Would it be nice for someone to make a call to Carls Jr to say "We have a way to get you involved with High School Sports in Nevada that helps our State grow and maintain our Championships?
Where is this phone call? Who is supposed to make it for the High School Athletes and Schools? We all know the answer to this question.
We had a State Championship Game with live internet streaming of the game two weeks ago. Not a real costly endeavor. But, not exactly high tech either with people talking in the background about the Alabama Florida game and also talking smack about the schools in the game. Was this streaming even being monitored by any official? That is the state of things in Nevada, we are happy to have what we have while everyone else in the West has shown the ability to grow their events over the past 10 years.
Do people care more about High School Sports in this State than they did 10 years ago? Yes. There was a State Radio broadcast. This again by a Station who does not pay their bills with those who help them and gives nothing back to any school. The same station that did not care enough to even make sure that they got a notice to the local Las Vegas newspaper that they were even airing games. Mostly due to the fact, that they were not sure how committed that they were going to be towards actually providing a broadcast. Again - someone else is making money and the NIAA is not even in the conversation with the same sponsors.
So we are crying about money now. People are being layed off and the CCSD has already said that there would be a 15% cut in athletics and extra ciricular activities. What does that mean? Maybe we will see the eventual 5 A classification where the South only plays against other Southern teams? Somehow we were able to see multiple Southern teams afford the opportunity to play in Northern Nevada this year during the regular season? Do these schools have an economic solution that the Championships can not seem to get a handle on?
The State Basketball Tournament is a shell of it's former self. So lets talk money and how to fix it. Trade hotel rooms for advertising. Then the NIAA needs to get a solution to it's television problem of not being able to get games on TV. Channel 8 just got $$ from Carls Jr, would they not be a prime target to sponsor the TV part of the deal? The current RJ deal is no where near the past deal that US Bank had with the NIAA. How the RJ can support the deal moving forward with the newspaper business struggling nationally is a concern. So where are the conversations with sponsors similiar to what is bringing the Washington, Oregon and California High School associations their great championships? Then again, a 4 team State Basketball Tourney does not capture the media attention that it once had. So where is the value for any sponsor?
Any sponsor willing to back a State that only has an Internet live streaming of their State title game? Any sponsor willing to back coverage that does not even get into the newspaper the morning of the title game? You dont need to be a rocket scientist to see that the answer is no. No value. No understanding if this is really something that the People of Nevada are really into. Clearing a game on TV is easier than clearing a game on radio, just give them a good feed with a professional broadcast. Not some tape delay the following day being edited in a Van outside of the stadium.
Maybe we can go with the 5 A format and let the CCSD go into a public private partnership to grow their Championships? Even with the demise of so many of our great High School Hoops Tourneys in December, the CCSD should look for financial ways to run a great event and showcase it like the one we will see on Prime Ticket next weekend in LA?
Crying now is not looking back on what has not been done during the good times. Ray had great points, but in not tackling the elephant in the room just is a convient way of playing politics instead of providing solutions.
Solutions are what this State needs in Carson City and also among the leaders of our High School Sports scene.