Shawnee Mission parents speak out on potential price tag to view live-streaming high school sports

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SHAWNEE, Kan. — High school football fans across the metro have not been allowed to cheer on their teams in-person this year in their full numbers.

In the time of COVID-19, district administrators have turned to live-streaming the games so more people can watch. Those live-streams have widely been free, but that could be changing at least in one district.

Parents in the district have been sharing a letter from an athletic director that says one school’s homecoming game will be live-streamed but people will have to pay for it.

Some athletes suspect that means viewers – friends and family – won’t tune in because of the cost.

The letter, from the Shawnee Mission South High School Athletic Director John E. Johnson, said “The [football] game live stream will be done by our own KSMS, but to access it, you must use a subscription you purchase from the NFHS.”

NFHS stands for “National Federation of State High School Associations”. Their streaming service – basically Netflix for high school sports – starts at $10.99/month or $69.99/year.

“I’ve got family in like Missouri and other places and I know that some of them aren’t able to afford things like that because they have other things to pay for,” Shawnee Mission Northwest High School Senior Christopher Brown said.

“It’s just ridiculous. I don’t understand that. It should be free. It really should be,” Brown, a linebacker on the football team, said.

While it is true that to watch these football games in the past and in-person – there were ticket costs, but some relatives of athletes say things have changed.

“We’ve had a free streaming service for football since the beginning. And the students already pay an activities fee. So if that’s the case for the parents, okay. What about the students,” Darcy Lane, a parent in the district, said.

FOX4 has reached out to the Shawnee Mission School District to try to get a clearer picture on the details of the decision. So far administrators have not responded to messages asking if the subscription will also broadcast district “away games”.

There are also questions on whether this program will be rolled out district wide, and what timeline that might be happening on.

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