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PSHS_PHS Football Game

By: Roger Sheppard
By: Roger Sheppard

Why didn't WTAP carry it live?

Sometimes I get e-mails that are so incredbile, I have to share them.
This is one of those times.
I have removed the name of the person who wrote this e-mail to me, but I assure you it was a REAL e-mail.
For anyone who wonders why WTAP did NOT broadcast the PSHS-PHS football game live on Friday night, Oct. 10, 2008, here you go:


From:
Sent: Sat 10/11/2008 12:09 AM
To: Sheppard, Roger
Subject: PHS/South Game

I'm sure that I won't be the only one to contact WTAP regarding this situation, but I felt something had to be said.

The last time I checked, I live in Parkersburg, WV.  WTAP news is typically broadcast from its station in downtown Parkersburg. 

What I can't understand is why the PHS/South game, two teams from Parkersburg, WV - was not broadast live, as was the Williamstown/St. Mary's game. 

I understand that you attempt to give equal airtime to different schools - but, honestly, I think it is pretty sad when the best way to get news from Parkersburg is only by watching a newsstation from Huntington or Charleston.

Stadium Field was packed, cars lined the school as many wanted to see the game.  It seems sad that our local newsstation couldn't grant the schools the courtesy of the broadcast on the "local" newsstation.

Thank you for your time.  I look forward to a response.

(Name)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My response......
Mr. _____,
 
I'm not sure what planet you just dropped in from but we announced MANY TIMES over the past week that PHS would permit WTAP to broadcast the PSHS-PHS game ONLY...I repeat ONLY...if it was a sell-out. We repeatedly urged supporters of both schools to get out and buy tickets so that we COULD broadcast the game live, not only on WTAP but on wtap.com to fans across the U.S. and around the world. We told our viewers that buying tickets to the game would help to make this exciting game available not only to folks faraway but to people here in the Mid-Ohio Valley who physically were unable to make it to the game.
 
As of Noon on Thursday, when we had to make our go/no-go decision, it was not sold out. I'm not sure if it was an official sell out by game time on Friday night or not. There were still about 1,000 of the 9,500 tickets available at Noon on Thursday. Several years ago, it was not uncommon for all of the tickets to this game to be sold by the end of the MONDAY before the game on Friday.
 
In the case of the Williamstown game, school officials at Williamstown were prepared to call the game a sell out in time for us to broadcast that game live. The seating in Williamstown is much smaller and perhaps it's easier to get a sell-out there. But of course, the schools and the communities are smaller, so those fans obviously did a proportionally better job of buying tickets.
 
It was not a matter of WTAP granting the schools "the courtesy" of showing the game. It was a matter of the schools DENYING WTAP the right to show the game, because it was not sold out. I don't blame them for that. Football revenues support many other sports in every school. And they have to maximize football revenues. And if people think they can sit home and watch the game, they won't buy tickets. That's why major league baseball and NFL games are often "blacked out" in the communities in which the games are played, to boost tickets sales and make sure local folks don't just elect to stay home and watch on TV.
 
You may or may not recall that we DID broadcast the PSHS-PHS game for about three years running. Then, last year, it was not sold out at South, so we couldn't broadcast it. The same situation occurred this time at PHS.
 
I hope you feel better informed about the reality of the situation now. I also hope you watched our 11:30pm replay of the game last night on FOX Parkersburg or get a chance to watch it Sunday morning at 9:30am on FOX Parkersburg, or watch highlights on wtap.com.
 
And what coverage of this event was better from the "Huntington or Charleston" media?
 
Thanks for writing.
 
Roger Sheppard
VP/GM, WTAP-TV
 
 
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