First – Friday night lights.
And now – Thursday night television.
South Sound prep football certainly received a boost late in the summer when Root Sports announced it will air nine regular-season games as part of its “Game of the Week” slate – all on Thursday nights.
It debuts this Thursday when O’Dea travels to Gig Harbor.
“It really wasn’t specific to a day,” said Mark Jorgensen, Root Sports senior vice president. “It kind of goes in line (with the) evolution of Root Sports, in general. What we are trying to do is do programming that is something longer term than a single event.”
Jorgensen said high school sports has shown very well in the ratings in the company’s other two network markets – Pittsburgh and the Rocky Mountain region.
The Pittsburgh network has been showing a prep game of the week for years. Rocky Mountain followed suit – and now, so has the Northwest.
Because the deal to launch the new programming was not finalized until this summer, the games will feature schools in the Seattle-Tacoma designated market area (DMA) that generally had previously established Thursday dates.
For one, the South Puget Sound League has had Thursday football games for years – and that is heavily reflected in Root Sports’ nine-game slate. At least five of the broadcasts will showcase those schools.
“Us doing this over the summer, and finalizing it … probably put us in a little bit tougher situation just to get off the ground with our schedule,” Jorgensen said.
Jorgensen said discussions for future high school game broadcasts are ongoing, and “may branch out to the entire state, and could even branch out to a large portion of our region” past this season.
All of this season’s games will be broadcast in high definition – with four to five television cameras used at each site. Brad Adam will serve as the play-by-play guy, and Jason Stiles will be the color commentator.
“High school breeds local community and incredible passion for their teams, and that is what we’d really like to tap into,” Jorgensen said. “We are thrilled with that. It really lives up to our brand promise.”
2012 ‘GAME OF WEEK’ SCHEDULE
Thursday: O’Dea at Gig Harbor, Roy Anderson Field, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6: Federal Way at Emerald Ridge, Sparks Stadium, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13: Kings at Archbishop Murphy, Terry Ennis Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20: Curtis at Puyallup, Sparks Stadium, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27: Kentlake at Auburn, Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4: To be determined.
Oct. 11: Rogers at Bethel, Art Crate Field, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18: Lakeside at Seattle Prep. West Seattle Stadium, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25: Kentwood at Kentlake, French Field, 7 p.m.