In regard to the NDHSAA position on webcasts...
I can certainly see the need to charge a fee for doing a webcast. A company like BEK probably isn't going to pay $1500 to show a game if the school is also going to set up a webcast that costs them nothing and cuts in to BEK viewership. Also, I don't know if the fee is the same for all 4 levels, or if the larger schools have to pay more. If 9-man has to pay the same as AAA, that needs to be adjusted.
This webcast was publicized well in advance of the game, and it was not a first-round game, but the state semi-finals. Yet we had only 275 unique viewers for the webcast. If EVERY ONE of those viewers would have attended the game, it would have brought in $1650. Of course, there's no way to know, but I doubt if there could have been more than a couple dozen people who decided to stay home and watch the game on a computer monitor rather than attend the game in person.
Our first-round webcast had 57 unique viewers, 2nd round (audio only) webcast had 150. If we had not done the audio webcast for round 2, there would have been no coverage of game 2 whatsoever. That was a very exciting game--it's a shame it wasn't viewable. There's no way we would have been able to pay to do a video webcast all 3 games--or even 2.
There's got to be a middle ground on the fees. Certainly not free, but also not $1,500, and less for earlier rounds. BEK gets paid advertising, and I'm sure a TV broadcast gets a LOT more viewers than a webcast. Maybe $1500 is reasonable for them. If they don't think it's economically viable for them, they probably don't do it.
I don't know enough about how NDHSAA operates and comes up with their regulations. But I think they need to hear input from the school administrators and coaches on this so it can be changed for next year. What I would propose:
1) Give companies like BEK first shot at any game. If they want to broadcast for $1500, then no local webcast is allowed. If they don't commit by Wednesday, it's open for webcast.
2) A sliding scale for the 4 levels of competition, and also a sliding scale for each round--much cheaper for Round 1 than Round 3. Just to throw out some numbers based on our viewership, for 9-man, I could certainly live with $250, $500, $750 for the 3 rounds. Even at those rates, I would think NDHSAA would easily be making more money on those fees than they lose from lost ticket sales.
3) If there is no TV OR radio coverage announced by Wednesday, local video webcasts are allowed at a reduced rate. (radio and audio webcasts are only $30--a totally insignificant payment)
Also, I would think it only fair that the opposing team voluntarily contribute for some of the fees. We tried to get DC to kick in a bit on this, but they didn't go for it. The host school isn't making any money by doing it, and with the travel distances involved, I would guess that for any webcast there would be far more viewers from the traveling town than the local town. Local fans go to the game, it's opponent fans and far-flung alumni that need the webcast.