CIF inks $8.5M broadcast deal with Time-Warner

Pact gives Time-Warner exclusive rights to championships for 15 years
By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Sports Writer
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Television contracts have reshaped the college sports landscape and the fervor behind broadcasting has not been missed at the high school level. The California Interscholastic Federation announced Monday it had signed an $8.5 million, 15-year deal with Time-Warner Cable to broadcast the state championships in all sports. Time-Warner’s contract gives it exclusive rights to all state and regional championships. The deal also allows Time-Warner to resell its content to local outlets in areas, as is the case in most of Northern California, that the cable company doesn’t have a strong foothold. “I think this is an opportunity throughout the state for other schools that will get to the regionals and maybe not the state championship, (they) will have an opportunity to be showcased,” CIF executive director Marie Ishida said. “I think this is a great opportunity for all parts of our state to have the ability to be on TV or webcasting or whatever platform that is used to get these games out.” Del Oro High is coming off a state title appearance. The Eagles lost 35-24 to Helix in the CIF State Division II championship game at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The game was aired locally by Comcast SportsNet. High school sports have made their way onto the TV more often in recent years. ESPN airs high school sports on ESPNU, its college sports-centric channel, and online at ESPN3. The deal was a boon for the CIF and could trickle down to area schools. Schools currently pay dues to the CIF that goes toward league fees, travel and championship games that equate to about 63 cents per student. With this deal, the fees could potentially go away, Ishida said. “Right now it will keep school dues and legal fees to what they are now,” Ishida said. “We haven’t raised dues for the last five years and we don’t intend to, especially in today’s tough economic time. We’re eventually hoping with this broadcasting agreement and then other sponsors coming on board, I’m hoping (that) somewhere down the line we’re not charging our schools any fees.” Placer regular season games are shown on replay, usually the Saturday following Friday night games, by Touchdown Productions, but Placer football coach Joey Montoya said he could see local regular season games broadcast live. “Our section in itself is one of the most respected football sections in Northern California, if not the whole entire state,” Montoya said. “I know it would be fun for us because we’d have quite a few teams up here that would have an opportunity to do that. What an experience for the kids.”