Some high school championships will be broadcast live - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Some high school championships will be broadcast live

August 1st, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Some high school championships will be broadcast live
Sports and Recreation

By Zach Alvira
Sports Editor

The Arizona Interscholastic Association has partnered with Arizona’s Family to broadcast select high school championship games live on local channels beginning this season.

The announcement comes after the AIA announced a three-year deal with local station, which broadcasts live on channels 3 and 5. The deal makes Arizona’s Family the “Exclusive Content Partner of the AIA,” a position previously held by Bally Sports Arizona.

“We’re thrilled to have a partner in Arizona’s Family that is able to engage fans in a way that will provide a great deal of excitement around high school sports,” AIA Executive Director David Hines said in a press release. “The content fans will enjoy are more than just championship events. It’s also how the AIA impacts each school’s community. Now there will be many more opportunities to showcase the talent we have at our schools and those programs.”

The three-year partnership begins with the upcoming 2022-23 school year. As a result, the 5A, 6A and Open Division football championship games will be live on Arizona’s Family channels. It is the first time since 2015 football championship will be broadcast on live television.

In previous years, Fox Sports Arizona, which later became Bally Sports Arizona, recorded championship games and broadcasted them at a later date on a tape delay.

“I think for the notoriety of what’s going on, promoting the sport in Arizona, that’s a positive,” Chandler head football coach Rick Garretson said. “It gives everybody the ability to not have to pay but still watch the kids play and support them. I think it’s definitely a positive step for the promotion of AZ football.”

Garretson has coached the Wolves to six straight state title games as both an assistant and the head coach, including last year’s Open Division state championship where they fell to Saguaro. He believes the live broadcast won’t, and shouldn’t, have much of an impact on the players’ overall mindsets for a game of that caliber.

But he believes it’s good for the growth of Arizona high school football as a whole. Saguaro head football coach Jason Mohns agrees.

“I think it’s a great thing for AZ HS Football to have our state championships broadcast live on television,” Mohns said. “We have some of the very best programs and players in the country, and it will be great for sports fans across the state and around the country to see them perform live on the biggest stage.”

Along with 5A, 6A and the Open Division football championships, Arizona’s Family will also broadcast all 5A, 6A and the new Open Division boys and girls basketball finals. The 5A and 6A baseball and softball championship games will also be live.

Mountain Pointe head basketball coach Kaimarr Price, who led the Pride to two straight state championship games in 2020 and 2021, said it’s a big opportunity for the players.

“This is a huge opportunity for these young student athletes to have the chance to play on live TV,” Price said in a text. “High school sports provide a unique experience which they will carry the memories of throughout life.”

As part of the partnership, weekly stories on Arizona’s Family channel lineup and the ability to broadcast bracket release shows done for most sports throughout the school year.

Since its inception in 2019, the Open Division football championship game has become one of the must-see events in Arizona high school sports. The first-ever championship game between Saguaro and Chandler drew thousands to Sun Devil Stadium.

In recent years, baseball and softball championship games have nearly filled Farrington Stadium at ASU and Tempe Diablo. Basketball championships, since moved to Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, have also drawn large crowds and that is only expected to grow with the addition of the Open Division for girls and boys this year.

But one constant complaint from Arizona high school sports fans has always been the lack of a working livestream. Now, that problem will likely be solved with the AIA’s new partnership with Arizona’s Family.

“Arizona’s Family has always been committed to serving our community,” Vice President and General Manager of Arizona’s Family Debbie Bush said in the press release. “We know that there are so many inspiring stories coming from the high school experience and this partnership with the AIA allows us to shine a light on all the good that is happening in our local communities.”