Unfortunately The Baxley News-Banner was not allowed to broadcast/live stream last week’s football game between our Appling County Pirates and the Upson-Lee Knights, of Thomaston, played in Appling County at Jimmy Swain Stadium. As of press time, we are still awaiting word from GHSA if we’ll be allowed to broadcast this week’s playoff game between Appling County and Greater Atlanta Christian in Norcross on Friday night.

The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) would not allow The Baxley News-Banner to have a contract to stream/broadcast last week’s game. The association cites that it has full broadcast rights of all state playoff games and has a current exclusive agreement with an outside of this state organization to broadcast all Georgia state playoff games. That organization charges viewers to watch the game and to our knowledge, our school system or programs receive nothing in return from the broadcasting service. We have since learned that that organization did not even get the broadcast to work during Friday night’s game between Appling and Upson-Lee. Hopefully the people who paid for the service got their money back.

The newspaper was given a contract the prior week when Appling County and Morgan County played and we paid GHSA’s required $750.00 fee for the right to broadcast. That fee was added to gate sales from that game and divided between Appling County, Morgan County and even GHSA, who receives 12 percent of the gate. We should also note that GHSA’s exclusive company streamed the Appling/Morgan football game as well as another local broadcasting company. GHSA told us they made a mistake allowing our newspaper to have a contract to broadcast the Appling/Morgan County game.

One of this newspaper’s main focuses for broadcasting community events, including Appling County School athletics and extracurricular activities such as last week’s Appling School System Choral Department’s Talent Show, was to give people who may not be able to attend events due to COVID-19 related health concerns the ability to view these events from the safety of their own homes. It is shameful to take these free broadcasts away from our citizens.

It is also our belief that no outside organization, that doesn’t pay property taxes in our community, should have the right to dictate who can utilize our taxpayer funded/public facilities and resources.

The Baxley News-Banner and BNB Broadcasting thank all our loyal fans for your support and comments this football season. At this time we can only offer you our disappointment and sadness for not being able to bring you our playoff games.

Best of luck to our Pirates as they travel to Greater Atlanta Christian this week to play in the third round of the AAA Playoffs. Only eight teams remain in the playoffs. Players and coaches please know that The Baxley News-Banner will be cheering you on to another victory. Go, Pirates!