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Hearst-Argyle Takes High School Sports Online

Aug 16, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Hearst-Argyle Television is taking high school sports coverage into new territory with High School Playbook, a Web site that will feature heavy coverage of prep teams and that will debut Thursday in the markets of seven of the group’s stations.
Eventually, all 26 markets in which Hearst-Argyle has stations will have High School Playbook coverage that will be available on the Web and via mobile devices. Syndication also is a long-term goal.
The site name also will be used as the on-air brand for local high school sports coverage during newscasts starting Thursday on WESH-TV in Orlando, KCRA-TV in Sacramento, WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, WBAL-TV in Baltimore, WLWT-TV in Cincinnati, WYFF-TV Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C., and WXII-TV in Greensboro-Winston-Salem, N.C.
KCRA, WTAE and WBAL are adding High School Playbook features to their existing YouTube channels. WESH, WLWT, WYFF-TV and WXII are initiating YouTube pages to accommodate High School Playbook content.
According to the announcement, SmithGeiger conducted research for Hearst-Argyle that showed an increasing demand for high school sports content online, with 59% of respondents expressing interest in a Web site of this nature, and 74% having recently attended a high school sporting event.
Highschoolplaybook.com will add social networking touches (cheerleader and nutrition pages) and blooper-style elements to information about schools, game schedules, statistics, individual athlete profiles, interscholastic comparisons, and “game day” weather reports provided by the Doppler radar technology at the local stations.
The video will come from pros and from specially trained student journalists, who will be designated sideline reporters, and equipped camcorders from Canon, a sponsor of High School Playbook.
“We’ve created a super-charged broadband platform with a stellar ‘user experience’ to give high school athletes a spotlight,” said Terry Mackin, Hearst-Argyle Television executive VP in charge of digital media, in the announcement. “ Not only will it deliver stunning video and informative stats; it will also showcase the spirited sense of community surrounding high school sports. And while high school sports are inherently local, we have built this to have national scale. Highschoolplaybook.com sets a new bar for coverage of high school sports, and for all competitors in this space.
“Our marketing partners and advertisers will benefit from High School Playbook’s built-in demand, from its reach among an attractive demographic and from its geo-targeted content offerings,” Mackin noted.

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