SDPB stands as only broadcast bidder for SDHSAA events

A general view of Barnett Arena at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center on Feb. 22, 2019 during the South Dakota State Wrestling Tournament in Rapid City during the parade of wrestlers. (South Dakota Public Broadcasting photo)

South Dakota Public Broadcasting was the only bidder for the broadcast rights to state championships and events sanctioned by the South Dakota High School Activities Association.

The five-year bid was awarded to SDPB at the April meeting of the SDHSAA board of directors. The meeting took place in Pierre via teleconference.

The SDPB bid starts at $100,000 for the 2020-2021 school year and increases by $2,000 per year. The last year of the contract, 2024-2025, calls for a payment of $108,000.

The bid includes live television broadcasts of championship football, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, track and field and the all-state chorus and orchestra grand concert.

Soccer, cheer and dance and gymnastics will be available on the SDPB website. Tape-delayed broadcasts are planned for the all-state band and all-state jazz band concerts.

“They cover every single event that we have,” said SDHSAA Executive Director Dan Swartos.

The association’s ability to contract for broadcasting rights was the subject of a bill during the last legislative session. House Bill 1213 would have kept the SDHSAA from granting exclusive broadcasting rights to its athletic and fine arts events.

Rep. Spencer Gosch, R-Glenham, sponsored the legislation, noting that broadcasters who followed a team throughout the season were not allowed to broadcast that team’s games from championship tournaments. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives before being defeated by the Senate Education Committee.

Swartos said SDPB is now agreeable to allowing secondary broadcasts of championship contests.

Seeking a singular merchandise vendor

In an effort to help alleviate the costs incurred by school districts that host state events, the South Dakota High School Activities Association is issuing a request for proposals that seeks a vendor to sell T-shirts and souvenirs.

The SDHSAA board approved the RFP at its April meeting in Pierre. The meeting was conducted via teleconference.

The RFP calls for the vendor to pay the association $60,000, or more, as well as 35% of gross sales, or more. The successful vendor will also provide personnel to sell the merchandise at state championship sites.

Board member Randy Soma of Brookings said schools that host state events end up paying a large share of the event’s management fees.

“It would be nice to alleviate that, somehow,” Soma said.

When hosting a tournament, schools often incur extra costs for workers at the events as well as substitute teachers who fill in for those workers.

Board member Brian Maher of Sioux Falls said hosting a state tournament brings economic development to the community but is not a moneymaking proposition for the school district.

“We lose money as a school district when we host those tournaments,” Maher said.

SDHSAA will consider the vendor bids at its June 11 meeting.