Triple Crown tourney makes TV debut
July 19, 2006
Missed the controversial call in the 12-and-under division to give the California Courage the 5-4 win and the championship victory or the signature "bee dance" after the 16-and-under Killer Bees decisively stung the Artesia Punishers 7-1? Don’t worry, the high and lows of this year’s Premier Resorts Triple Crown Girls Fastpitch World Series softball championship games can be seen next week on a local television station.
This year, the annual Triple Crown tournament decided to take their product to the big time by securing television coverage of the championships on Saturday.
The idea to broadcast the games actually started in Triple Crown’s baseball division last year. Thad Anderson, the baseball director for the state of Colorado, often puts his broadcasting degree from Indiana University to work by helping out with Colorado State University telecasts. Through his connections there, he met officials from KCMetroSports, a Time Warner Cable company that broadcasts for the Kansas City Royals. Triple Crown negotiated a contract with KCMetroSports with plans to broadcast two baseball and two fastpitch softball games per year.
The cost of this year’s contract rang in at between $15,000 and $20,000 a deal for a televised event, according to Triple Crown fastpitch softball event organizer Bill Pilcher. The Park City Chamber of Commerce was in on the negotiations, because the broadcasting of such an event would serve as an ideal way to market the area as a place to hold a youth athletic tournament. The Utah Sports Commission agreed to cover some of the costs.
"It’s a very good deal and it will help market us and Park City," Pilcher said.
Last year, they broadcast two baseball games at a tournament in Steamboat Springs, Colo.and incorporated softball into this year’s itinerary.
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Pilcher knows how lucky the tournament is to have the coverage. He says that most people in the softball world hear of their television deal and can hardly believe they were able to negotiate such a contract.
"Most didn’t believe until they saw the cameras," Pilcher said. "Most people have never seen fastpitch on television, except college."
Last fall, Triple Crown began contacting local cable stations in as many major cities as possible. Companies like Comcast in Salt Lake and Altitude in Denver, Colo. quickly came onboard. All of the stations are required to show the games at least twice.
Pilcher said that next year he hopes to group the 16-and-under and 18-and-under team tournaments into one week, so that viewers can enjoy the highest level of youth club competition and make the product more enticing to local stations. The 12-and-under and 16-and-under games were selected this year because the tournament dates aligned best with the KCMetroSports production schedule.
A total of four cameras were stationed around the Jack Sutton Field for the championship games, with another roving camera to catch reactions, special calls and team celebrations.
So far, Triple Crown has only been able to market the broadcasts to parents, associates and friends involved with the tournaments and other contacts in the softball world, but Pilcher says that’s a start and hopefully word-of-mouth will carry the news of the coverage further. Pilcher expects that the Park City Chamber will also direct various sports entities to the broadcast to illustrate how well the city can host an event.
"The decision to broadcast is two-fold to increase our Triple Crown brand and to show the great area around Park City," Pilcher said. "It’s a great way to attract attendance."
To find local listings for the game broadcasts, visit. http://www.triplecrownsports.com and click on the "forms" link.