HS Football on ESPN: ‘Exposure’ over finance

espnhsfbMOBILE, AL (WNSP) — This Thursday, Saraland will play at Spanish Fort, and the game will air on ESPN2.

Later this month, Hoover will host a Georgia school as part of the same program—the 2016 GEICO ESPN High School Football Showcase. As AL.com’s Ben Thomas reports, each school will receive $1,000 as a minimal rights fee.

“It’s not about the money,” Spanish Fort coach Ben Blackmon said. “It’s about exposure for our program and our kids. It’s a great opportunity to showcase Spanish Fort and Saraland to a national audience.”

Alabama High School Athletic Association spokesman Ron Ingram told Thomas that schools manage regular-season game contracts, and the AHSAA receives no stipend from any network for regular-season broadcasts.

“I don’t really deal with the finance part of it,” Hoover coach Josh Niblett said. “It’s just a great opportunity for us or any school to play a nationally televised game.

“How many high school football players can say they played on ESPN? I would like to think that every kid that comes through our program will be able to say they played at least one game on TV. We work hard to get intriguing matchups that networks might want to show.”

Ingram told Thomas that as long as the host school gets permission to start a game later than 7 p.m., and that the game must be played in accordance to NFHS rules, there is no problem.

The Spanish Fort-Saraland game kicks off at 7 p.m., as all area football games do. The Hoover-Gorman (Georgia) game is set for Friday, Oct. 28.

For more, check out Prep Spotlight today at noon, featuring Thomas, WNSP’s Randy Kennedy and Pigskin Pete.