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Local Reaction: Coaches sound off on WSIL hosting State Finals on local television


 
By Spyder Dann mdann@dailyregister.com
updated: 7/15/2019 5:03 PM

On Monday, the Illinois High School Athletic Association d digital broadcast partner the NFHS Network are proud to announce a new partnership with Quincy Media, Inc. that will create a statewide television and digital network to carry IHSA State Final broadcasts live during the 2019-20 school year and will continue on for the 20-21 and 21-22 school years.

Locally, WSIL TV 3 will be the home for IHSA State Finals and many people in the immediate area, like Harrisburg High School head girls' basketball coach Jake Stewart, are excited about not having to search through 400 channels to find the state finals.

"This brings me back to the older days, thinking of the 1995 Harrisburg basketball team playing at state on TV. Im a head basketball coach but I'm a huge fan of all sports. High school sports are great for kids and communities in which people can come together rooting for their hometown team.

"Having this televised will only advertise high school sports even more. With the way technology is today, this is something that is well overdue, being able to watch the state tournament on TV and I don't mean searching through the 400 channels or subscribing to something extra. Just good ol' WSIL channel 3. I would definitely tune in to watch football, basketball, baseball, and softball state games."

Previously, the  IHSA had partnered with NBC Sports Chicago exclusively airing the state football and basketball championship finals.

Quincy Media, Inc. owns and operates television stations in 16 markets including four in Illinois. In addition, the company operates WGEM AM/FM and the Herald Whig newspaper in Quincy.

"We are pleased to partner with the IHSA and NFHS Network to provide statewide coverage of the Illinois high school football and basketball championships," said Ralph M. Oakley, President/CEO of Quincy Media, Inc. "We have lined up an incredibly strong network that includes our own stations along with stations of our partners from Weigel and Nexstar. As a result, the residents in Illinois will have the opportunity to watch these events on over the air television."

Oakley added that the stations are readily available as well on cable and satellite and throughout the state of Illinois.

The IHSA Football, Girls Basketball, and Boys Basketball State Finals will continue to be streamed live and on demand on the NFHS Network.

The partnership will debut with the 2019 IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show on October 26, 2019, followed by the 2019 IHSA Football State Championship games live from Northern Illinois University's Huskie Stadium in DeKalb on Friday and Saturday, November 29-30, 2019. America's Original March Madness will air on the channels in February and March, as the IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals and Boys Basketball State Finals unfold over the course of four weekends.

Herrin High School head boys' basketball coach Styler Shurtz acknowledged that southern Illinois wasn't left out of the equation when it come to prioritizing TV programming.

"Getting the State Tournament broadcasted on WSIL is a nice little win for southern Illinois. Growing up I used to go to the tourney every year but now it's a little more difficult to make that trip. Teams from the south are well represented every year and there is still a strong basketball following in this area. Sometimes southern Illinois gets overlooked when it comes to these types of decisions. It's always been accessible but now it's a whole lot easier for the average fan to watch these games."

Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois Local Media News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshoot