Published Online: October 30, 2007
Published in Print: October 31, 2007, as Friday Night Lights Via the Web

Sports

Friday Night Lights Via the Web

Friday night nostalgia could be only a few mouse clicks away.

If a Wisconsin entrepreneur’s plans take hold, high school sporting events across that state will be shown on an Internet site, with viewers able to tune in to games for a $9.95 monthly fee.

Steve Kearns, who owns audiovisual, auto, and title companies across the state, says he has already reached agreements with about 100 Wisconsin high schools to put their games on the air—or rather, on the Web.

Online offerings on the site, which was recently under construction (www.prepsonthenet.com), are likely to include traditional big draws such as Friday night football and boys’ and girls’ basketball, and possibly volleyball, wrestling, hockey, and track.

Schools will receive $2 for every subscriber to their events, Mr. Kearns said. Schools will also get a portion of revenue from products sold online, such as DVDs. The plan is to begin with boys’ and girls’ basketball this academic year, Mr. Kearns said in a recent interview.

“We’ve been getting hundreds of e-mails,” he said of interest so far. “There are a lot of parents, grandparents, and alumni who can’t go to the games.”

One early fan of the venture is George Karl, a former head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, a pro basketball team. Mr. Karl, now the coach of the Denver Nuggets, is an investor in the project.


Mr. Kearns plans to provide free video equipment to the participating schools, which will be responsible for the taping. The equipment will pick up the sound from an event, he said, and the site will include coaches’ interviews, statistics, and other information.

The Webcasts should offer a service to students’ families and alums—and a valuable source of revenue to schools, said Greg Smith, the activities director for the 2,400-student West De Pere district, outside of Green Bay, Wis., which has plans to participate.

“With athletic budgets what they are, any opportunity to bring in money … is appealing,” he said. “Communities are getting sick and tired of getting their doors knocked on, for money.”

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Vol. 27, Issue 10, Page 8

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