The Alabama High School Athletic Association announced a new program on Wednesday that could help athletic programs limit potential revenue losses from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The program, offered through the NFHS network, allows schools in Alabama that currently lack sufficient production equipment to receive two free automatic production units or Pixellot units.
The units will help high schools broadcast their sporting events and activities so fans can follow the action even when they can’t be there in person. The NFHS Network will also help schools by increasing its subscription revenue sharing starting August 1.
“As our schools grapple with reduced resources and the potential loss of event-related revenue, the NFHS Network High School Support Program can help reduce the impact of COVID-19,” said the Executive Director. of AHSAA, Steve Savarese, in a press release. “I encourage our eligible schools to immediately register for their free Pixellot units.”
State Superintendent Eric Mackey said schools in Alabama will reopen in the fall and after-school activities — halted suddenly by the pandemic in March — will resume. The first football matches of the 2020 season are scheduled for August 20. Fall camps can open on July 27.
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What hasn’t been definitively addressed is the topic of crowds at sporting events. This decision should be made by individual school boards or state schools. If crowds need to be limited to prevent further spread of the virus, the NFHS Network can provide a way for fans to view games and schools to continue earning revenue.
“We recognize that the next few years will be challenging for our high schools and state associations,” said NFHS Network CEO Mark Koski. “Many are facing budget cuts and reduced resources, and attendance at sporting and other school events can be limited.
“Since the inception of the NFHS Network seven years ago, we have been driven by the goal of creating a platform that showcases every high school event across all sports and all levels of competition. In line with this goal, we want the Secondary School Support Program to demonstrate our continued commitment to helping our partner schools manage the inevitable complications created by COVID-19.
In addition to free gear and income upgrades, the Secondary School Support Program will also offer fans the ability to donate online directly to the schools of their choice through the NFHS Network platform starting August 1.
There are currently over 5,000 Pixellot units in high schools across the country that will produce over 250,000 live games this coming school year without any human involvement.
“Schools can benefit from fully automated, easy-to-use production units to broadcast live sporting events to their fans, allowing them to watch from anywhere,” Savarese said. “At the same time, revenue sharing from viewer subscriptions can help offset lost ticket sales, concessions, etc., due to COVID-19. We appreciate the valuable revenue stream generated by the program.”
Schools can register for their free Pixellot units at www.nfhsnetwork.com/pixellot.