Live streams help expand audience for high school sports

Beattie spent two decades in radio before realizing a new direction was needed. In the 11 years since ESN’s launch, video has become a mainstay.

“I had no idea how, when or where it would happen,” Beattie said. “I had to wait for this opportunity to present itself.”

This happened in 2017 when the WIAA asked ESN to help broadcast the Class 2A state basketball tournament. Since then, ESN continues to increase its number of shows. Last winter, with the help of independent game broadcasters, the network aired 180 state basketball games over four days across the three WIAA locations: Spokane, Tacoma and Yakima. In state volleyball in 2021, he has broadcast nearly 150 games and played in 48 state football games. He also had his first state bowling show using a trio of streams. In 2021-22, ESN broadcast over 1,200 events.

Will they broadcast all WIAA State Championship events?

“We’re not there yet,” Beattie said, “but that’s our goal.”

Beattie estimated that last school year’s audience ranged between 900,000 and 1.2 million. This includes 550,000 live viewers.

And that’s why Beattie’s goal remains to deliver to fans.

“I like to be there for those who just can’t attend the game,” he said. “We want to see the stands full. We want that excitement at the stadium. That’s high school sports. But if we can help people when they can’t get to it, or they can watch it again, then that’s great.

As high school sports become more and more high-tech, live streaming is here to stay, whether through automated cameras or live streams.

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