Beyond Bleachers: PlayOn! Brings High School Sports to the Masses

David Rudolph

ATLANTA, Ga. – Upset that you can’t get off work in time to watch your son’s or daughter’s high school game live in the school gym? You are not alone.

For many families, high school sports are a long-standing tradition that evokes excitement, nostalgia, and fosters a sense of community pride. They are more than just games.

To that end, an Atlanta-based tech firm has a smart solution. PlayOn! Sports livestreams high school sporting events, giving fans the option of watching on the Internet, mobile devices or television screens. If you can’t watch live, games are also available on demand.

The online destination for all the action is the NFHS Network, a joint venture between the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), its member state high school associations, and PlayOn! Sports. The network’s business model is based on a per-month subscription fee.

PlayOn! Sports covers 27 different types of sports, regular season and postseason playoffs and championships. About 12,300 U.S. schools have appeared at least once on the NFHS Network this year; that’s 65 percent of all U.S. high schools.

David Rudolph, the founder of PlayOn! Sports, was an executive at Turner Broadcasting where, among other things, he wrote the business plan for and launched Turner South, the first regional entertainment network featuring original programming, movies and live sports.

The idea for what would become PlayOn! Sports was sparked when Rudolph, a Georgia Tech alumnus and fan, missed an away football game he thought would be televised. Soon after, the concept for livestreaming college-level sports via the Internet was developed and launched inside Turner, in partnership with the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Ultimately, Rudolph spun off PlayOn! Sports from Turner in 2008, refocusing the company’s vision on high school sports. Fast forward to 2019 and PlayOn! Sports is the largest rights-holder, producer, distributor and aggregator of high school content in the nation. More than 150,000 games will be livestreamed during the upcoming school year.