From the Bench: A Televised, Live-Streamed Prep Tribe Football Game Reprieve Courtesy of MetroNews

By Jeff Toquinto on October 22, 2017 from Sports Blog via

For those dismayed about the canceling of the television and web-based broadcast of Bridgeport’s football game at East Fairmont earlier this year, there’s some good news. Bridgeport’s final game of the regular season against Lincoln will be shown live on MetroNews’ statewide Web site.
Some of you may already know that. But there’s a little bit more of a surprise later that may ease the sting of those who wanted to get a little Indian football fix by way of a free broadcast.
Trust me, there were plenty of folks dismayed when the BHS-East Side game was canceled through no fault of the station that was broadcasting it – just trust me on that. Regardless of why the Bridgeport-East game was canned it left many out of state, out of the area or who simply can’t get to every game out in the cold.
That’s going to change Nov. 3 with the broadcast of the Indians and Cougars in what very well could be a battle of two Class AA playoff bound teams. This is all part of MetroNews’ expanded coverage of high school football in the state and the first year it is broadcasting games that aren’t part of its coverage done for the last few years for a couple of games in partnership with the WVSSAC.
“High school athletics are a big part of what MetroNews does, including football. For years, we’ve done the state title games and this year we decided to do a handful of regular season games,” said Chris Moran, who will serve as the executive producer for the contest. “This season has been a trial run for us and things have worked out well.”
The regular season schedule included Parkersburg South at University and Wheeling Park at Morgantown. The SSAC partnership continued this year as well as a Thursday night season-opening contest featured Robert C. Byrd at Fairmont Senior and will feature the Morgantown and University “MoHawk Bowl” as the annual October Classic.
“This game made sense for us logistically to do and it featured two teams from this region that haven’t been featured this year,” Moran said.
For those reading this and our disappointed that it’s on MetroNews’ Web site and know folks who don’t dabble on the internet or even have internet, there’s some really good news. According to Moran, MetroNews is doing a first with this coverage and teaming up with WVFX right here on Lodgeville Road to show the game on live television.
“It will be live on WVFX in addition to being on the MetroNews Web site,” said Moran. “This is a first for us.”
Since I’m not technologically savvy, or savvy about most things, I was surprised when Moran said doing the dual feed is not challenging. In fact, he said it’s rather easy.
“It’s not incredibly difficult. Our production facility, which is our mobile truck, is already going to be producing the event in HD and it’s formatted for television … It’s just matter of getting that program delivered to the local television station, which is not much of a challenge,” said Moran.
Moran said it creates a new partnership and he said it’s more than just letting WVFX broadcast the game. Joining MetroNews’ broadcast team of Kyle Wiggs doing play by play and John Halbirtter doing color commentary, while be WVFX (and WDTV) Sports Director/Anchor Joe Brocato doing the sideline reporting.
“This is a real hybrid situation and one we’re looking forward to,” said Moran.
While this is certainly good news for the Bridgeport and Lincoln football fans, there may be good news for football fans statewide in 2018. While nothing is definite, there could be more games on the MetroNews Web site next year and beyond.
"We are looking at avenues to expand our high school football broadcasts in 2018," said Moran.
For those not familiar with a MetroNews broadcast, let me be the first to tell you that it’s not like watching sports by way of a public access channel on cable television. It’s just the opposite.
There will be five cameras at the game with eight channels set up for instant replay as needed. The broadcast will feature audio effects and utilize microphones on the field to enhance the viewer’s experience. They also feed you constantly with graphics and stats throughout the contest as a staff of 15 will handle the game-day broadcast.
“This broadcast, like our others, will be top notch. Since its inception, having a quality product is paramount for MetroNews,” said Moran. “We put a heavy value on quality and we are confident those watching the Bridgeport and Lincoln game will see that.”
I’ll back up Moran’s assessment. And I think you’ll do the same on Nov. 3. Be sure and spread the word.
Editor's Note: Top photo shows BHS players lining up for action in an early season game, while bottom photo shows Chris Moran, middle,, producing a state basketball tournament game as Travis Jones, left, handles the play by play duties.

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