Varsity Extra

IdahoSports earns audio rights for state high school tournaments

After losing the online video rights, won approval for the state’s high school sports tournaments Tuesday at the Idaho High School Activities Assocation Board of Directors meeting.

The contract starts this fall and awards IdahoSports exclusive rights to audio streaming through the 2020-21 school year, but it does not affect over-the-air radio. IdahoSports will pay $3,500 for each of the first three years and then $5,000 each for years four and five.

Paul Kingsbury, the owner and managing editor of IdahoSports, said the company will continue to provide the broadcasts for free.

“We want to stay involved,” Kingsbury said. “We want to be there to provide something for free. This is how we are making lemonade out of lemons.”

The NFHS Network outbid IdahoSports for online video rights in April ($265,000 for five years). It will charge viewers to watch events on its website — $9.95 for a day pass, $14.95 for a 30-day pass and $119.95 per year.

The IHSAA defines state tournaments in football as the semifinals and beyond in 5A and 4A, and the quarterfinals and beyond in the 3A, 2A and 1A classifications. It includes the full eight-team tournaments in basketball, soccer, volleyball, etc.

Neither IHSAA contract affects the regular season or district tournament, allowing IdahoSports or other broadcasters to establish their own deals.

Kingsbury said IdahoSports plans to broadcast audio from every state tournament basketball game and as many state playoff football games as possible, including games the NFHS Network is also broadcasting with video.

“The others, they don’t really make a whole lot of sense to do audio,” he said. “Wrestling, track, they don’t make for a really riveting audio broadcast. So right now, we’re looking at 132 state basketball games and as many as we can for football.”


The IHSAA added a proposal to sanction swimming to its Sept. 27 meeting agenda. The board would need to approve the proposal again Dec. 6 before the sport could be added for the fall of 2017 at the earliest.

IHSAA Executive Director Ty Jones said 30 to 40 schools in the state have 10 or more swimmers competing in the club sport, and there are approximately 50 schools with at least one swimmer. He said the IHSAA is only considering sanctioning the sport at this point, not sponsoring a state tournament.

Baseball is sanctioned by the activities association but runs its own state tournament outside of the IHSAA.


The IHSAA board voted for the final time to approve a new mercy rule for all 11-man classifications this fall.

The rule says if a team is ahead by 40 or more points in the second half, the clock will run continuously, with the exception of timeouts, scoring plays and the end of quarters.

Idaho’s eight-man classifications (1A Division I and II) have a separate mercy rule with a running clock in the first half. The eight-man rule also allows the losing coach to end the game at halftime or at any point in the second half.

Idaho previously had a mercy rule in 1990 that ended the game after three quarters if a team led by more than 32 points. The state repealed it after one season.

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama