|Posted:||January 26, 2023 12:56 PM|
|From:||Representative James B. Struzzi, II and Rep. Marla Brown|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Helping Local Broadcasters by Keeping Sports Coverage Fair (Former HB 2074)|
|In the near future, we plan to reintroduce legislation that will allow visiting teams and their local broadcasters in high school athletic competitions the same rights to broadcast, stream and provide telegraphic play-by-play accounts as the home team.
Radio stations have served our communities for decades and have become a significant part of interscholastic athletic competitions in the school districts they serve. As technology continues to improve, video streaming has rapidly become another way to support and watch high school sports with most students, parents, out-of-state family and fans tuning in. Unfortunately, some Pennsylvania high schools have signed “exclusive” video streaming contracts, with many schools unknowingly shutting the door on local broadcasters who have been covering these school districts for many years, with out-of-state companies. This results in fans being alienated and our local broadcasters being cut out in a time when staying connected to our local communities is becoming more difficult.
By way of background, the National Federation High School (NFHS) Network provides video streaming services for 27 different sports across the country. While this is a great service for the high schools, much of this service is blocked behind a paywall that the visiting team may have no choice but to pay since their local broadcasters are unable to film the games and matches. Pennsylvania is not alone in this fight to protect our local broadcasters, however. Oklahoma has recently introduced legislation (SB 302) to protect the disregard of the visiting teams and allow visiting teams the right to video stream games with their preferred provider. My legislation seeks to follow in the footsteps of Oklahoma’s SB 302 by ensuring our local broadcasters are protected and are afforded the opportunity to compete in the same marketplace. Last September, the House Education Committee held a hearing on this topic. At the time, it appeared that both sides were close to reaching a resolution on this issue, however, these problems continue today.
We respectfully ask for your support on this crucial piece of legislation to ensure our high schools are receiving fair treatment for broadcasting games that mean so much for families, students, and fans alike.
Introduced as HB30