New Illinois High School Association Championship Network
Not having an access to cable will no longer be an issue for fans of Illinois high school football and basketball championships. On Monday, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and digital broadcast partner the NFHS Network announced a new partnership with Quincy Media, Inc. that will create a statewide television and digital network to carry IHSA State Final broadcasts live during the 2019-20 school year and will continue on for the 20-21 and 21-22 school years.
Quincy Media’s over-the-air stations in Harrisburg (WSIL), Quincy (WGEM), Peoria (WEEK) and Rockford (WREX) are the foundation of the new network, while Nexstar stations will supplement Quincy Media’s coverage, where the games will return to WCIX in Champaign/Springfield and will air on KGCW in the Quad Cities. In Chicago, IHSA state final events return to Weigel Broadcasting’s WMEU, “The U” and WCIU “CW26”, stations with long-time roots in high school sports coverage.
That means that Quad City fans will no longer have to rely on the cable channel NBC Sports Chicago to watch the football and basketball championship finals. Previously, the IHSA had exclusively partnered with NBC Sports Chicago.
“We are incredibly excited to announce this new partnership,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “I don’t think it is an overstatement to say it will provide the largest statewide TV audience access to IHSA State Final broadcasts since the games aired nationally in the 1970s.”
The new partnership will debut with the 2019 IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show on October 26, 2019, followed by the 2019 IHSA Football State Championship games live from Northern Illinois University’s Huskie Stadium in DeKalb on Friday and Saturday, November 29-30, 2019. America’s Original March Madness will air on the channels in February and March, as the IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals and Boys Basketball State Finals unfold over the course of four weekends.
Here is the 2018 IHSA Football Playoff Selection Show that fans can look forward to watching in 2019 on the NEW IHSA Championship Network.
“We are pleased to partner with the IHSA and NFHS Network to provide statewide coverage of the Illinois high school football and basketball championships,” said Ralph M. Oakley, President/CEO of Quincy Media, Inc. “We have lined up an incredibly strong network that includes our own stations along with stations of our partners from Weigel and Nexstar. As a result, the residents in Illinois will have the opportunity to watch these events on over the air television.”
“Quincy Media was the key to making this happen,” said Anderson. “We’ve had similar setups in the past but this network of Quincy, Weigel and Nexstar stations provides a synergy like none we’ve had. These companies and their stations care deeply about local high schools and serving their communities. They will deliver great broadcasts of IHSA events to the entire state.”
The IHSA Football, Girls Basketball, and Boys Basketball State Finals will continue to be streamed live and on demand on the NFHS Network.
"The NFHS Network is thrilled to continue our great partnership with the IHSA and our new television partner in Quincy Media," said Mark Koski, CEO of the NFHS Network. "The NFHS Network's OTT platform for digital viewing combined with the Quincy Media powered IHSA TV Network, will create the largest distribution footprint in the history of the IHSA Championships."
Quincy Media, Inc. is a privately owned family company that is headquartered in Quincy, Illinois with roots in the media business dating back to 1926.
Quincy Media, Inc. owns and operates television stations in 16 markets including four in Illinois. In addition, the company operates WGEM AM/FM and the Herald Whig newspaper in Quincy.