C Spire Wireless Reveals Plans for Award-Winning “Bright Lights” High School Football Rivalry
Original Sports Programming Celebrates Rich Tradition Of Some Of the Oldest, Biggest Gridiron Rivalries in the South
Wireless Provider to Partner with FOX Sports South to Broadcast Rivalry Games in HD,
Including Oct. 20 Match Up Between Louisville Wildcats and Noxubee County Tigers and
Oct. 27 Showdown Featuring Madison Central and Northwest Rankin
RIDGELAND, MS. (Oct. 17, 2011)– C Spire Wireless, the first wireless provider in the U.S. to introduce personalized wireless services, today announced plans to televise two of the South’s biggest high school football rivalry games in prime time on FOX Sports South (FSSO) this month.
The games and the high-profile broadcast plans are part of “Bright Lights Football,” C Spire’s original sports programming that showcases the drama, passion, community pride and human interest stories around some of the most famous high school football rivalries.
The award-winning program, which is coming off its second highly successful season in 2010, features live, professional-caliber prime-time television broadcasts in high definition of three of the oldest and biggest high school football rivalries in Mississippi and Alabama on FSSO, reaching up to 12.9 million cable and satellite households in seven Southeastern states for select televised games. Young & Rubicam, a New York-based advertising agency, developed the program in partnership with C Spire and serves as the executive producer. The first game between south Alabama powerhouses Daphne and Fairhope was played last Thursday.
Match Ups Feature Some of Oldest, Biggest Gridiron Rivalries in South
Remaining rivalries to be featured in the program this fall include “The Toothpick Bowl,” an Oct. 20 showdown between Louisville and Noxubee County, a fierce rivalry between two 4A powerhouses that dates back 25 years. Noxubee County has won four games in a row in the series, but all bets will be off when the two teams square off in a special Thursday night game. Louisville, which is led by former Noxubee County head football coach M.C. Miller with a penchant for chewing toothpicks during games, beat Noxubee County 21-20 the only time the two teams have met in the 4A state playoffs in 2002.
“We’re honored to be one of the teams chosen to participate in C Spire’s high school football rivalry program, which has received lots of attention and praise in football circles around the country,” said Miller, who two sons will split assistant coaching duties on opposing sides of the field during the game. “Noxubee County has a very good team and they are capable of beating any team on any given night, so we will need to come prepared to do battle and give our best effort on the field to win this game,” Miller said.
Noxubee County is coming off of an 11-2 season that featured a 19-12 victory over Louisville in the Class 4A, Region 4 title game last year. “We know the game against the Wildcats will be a great showcase for our community, our school and our fine student-athletes,” said Tyrone Shorter, head football coach at Noxubee County. “This will be tremendous exposure for both schools and communities and we intend to take full advantage of the opportunity,” Shorter said.
The other featured match up this year will showcase an Oct. 27 Madison County-Rankin County grudge match between perennial powers Madison Central and Northwest Rankin in Flowood, Miss. The “Cross Town Cat Fight” dates back to the early 1990s and has grown more competitive in recent years as evidenced by the Cougars regular season upset of previously unbeaten Madison Central in a 24-21 thriller on Oct. 29, 2010.
Madison Central Head Coach and Athletic Director Bobby Hall will be making his second appearance in one of the program’s rivalry games. Hall’s Jaguars defeated archrival Clinton 24-3 in the program’s inaugural game on Sept. 25, 2009. “We need to continue to build on our momentum and bring our “A” game if we hope to defeat Northwest Rankin,” Hall said.
Northwest Rankin is coming off of one of their best seasons in school history with an 11-2 record and looking to avenge a 27-20 heartbreaking loss at the hands of Madison Central in the 6A state championship quarterfinals last year. “We know this will be an exciting and hard-fought game on both sides of the ball by both teams,” said Pete Hurt, head football coach and athletic director at Northwest Rankin.
As one of the single largest and most comprehensive sports programming and customer engagement initiatives undertaken by a company, the program also will feature a wide variety of user-generated content, contests, games, new sports-related game applications and interaction with social networking sites. All of the program content will be housed in the company’s website, including back stories, video highlights of the rivalry games, user-generated videos, photos, blogs and more.
“From marching bands, intense coaches and dedicated young players to cheerleaders, dance teams and pep squads, Bright Lights Football will continue to explore the drama, passion and community pride associated with these rivalries and capture the compelling content and human interest stories that emerge from this competition,” said Kevin Hankins, chief operating officer for C Spire.
To bring the action to the most high school football fans, games will be aired on FOX Sports South in selected markets reaching up to 12.9 million cable and satellite households across the Southeast.
“FOX Sports South strives to serve the interests of local sports fans,” said Jeff Genthner, senior vice president and general manager of FOX Sports South and Sports South. “Our commitment to local coverage is reflected in our partnership with
C Spire to televise these exciting high school gridiron rivalries.”
Games Will Showcase Latest Professional Sports Production Technology
“All of the games are televised in high-definition in primetime with FOX Sports Network caliber talent and production facilities,” Genthner said. The games also will feature NFL-caliber pyrotechnics, aerial video and the world’s largest mobile Jumbotron video messaging and display board.
Young & Rubicam (Y&R), C Spire’s New York-based advertising agency since 2008, will be the executive producer of the 2011 program while FOX Sports South will produce and televise the high school football rivalry games.
“We’re looking forward to building on the success of our first two years of programming as C Spire engages consumers in new and exciting ways,” said John Morris, managing partner for Y&R. “We’ve assembled an outstanding broadcast, film and production team to showcase this dynamic content and give football fans an opportunity to enjoy some of the most spirited high school football rivalries around.”
Part of that success has been some international recognition for the program with C Spire and Y&R winning a Bronze Cannes Lion at the 57th annual Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival last year in the media category for best use of media.
During the program’s inaugural year, in addition to broadcasting the five rivalry games, C Spire sponsored a 12-episode television reality series that followed two rival Mississippi high school football coaching staffs and their teams through the 2009 season and playoffs. The series was picked up in April 2010 by FOX Sports Network and was telecast nationwide reaching more than 83 million households.
Book Inspiration for High School Football Rivalry Program
C Spire got its inspiration for the program from Jackson attorney Mike Frascogna, Jr., who along with his sons, Mike Frascogna, III and Marty, published a book in 2008 about 15 of the biggest high school football rivalries.
The company worked with officials from public high school athletic associations in Mississippi and Alabama to identify and recruit the six high school football teams that will beare featured in the Bright Lights Football 2011 rivalries program. “All the coaches and schools involved are very excited and enthusiastic about the opportunity to showcase their student-athletes, their schools and their communities,” Hankins said. “We’ve received a tremendous amount of cooperation from the schools, the teams and officials in the high school athletic associations and we appreciate their willingness to get involved and support this program.”
“We’re excited to partner with C Spire to bring this rich, compelling content to high school football fans,” said Don Hinton, executive director of the Mississippi High School Activities Association. “The South has a long, rich tradition of being a hotbed for more than its fair share of gridiron rivalries.”
Dr. Steve Savarese, executive director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, said the high school football rivalry program makes a lot of sense because some of the biggest grudge matches aren’t always played on Saturday or Sunday in college and professional football games. “They’re played in high school football games and pit the collective community pride of entire towns and cities against one another for regional bragging rights,” he noted.
For more information and details about Cellular South’s 2011 “Bright Lights” high school football rivalry program, visit www.cspire.com/brightlights.
About C Spire Wireless
C Spire Wireless is a diversified wireless communications company passionately committed to helping customers by personalizing wireless services designed just for them. The nation’s largest privately owned wireless communications provider personalizes customers’ experience by offering apps that fit who they are, services that anticipate their needs, and rewards they’ll get just for using their phone in new ways – all with seamless ease and at amazingly fast speeds. This news release and other announcements are available at http://www.cspire.com/news/. For more information about C Spire and its products and services, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/cspirewww.twitter.com/cspire
About FOX Sports
The FOX Sports regional networks serving the Southeast – FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports Tennessee and SportSouth – collectively reach more than 12.9 million cable and satellite television households in seven states across the Southeast and are the television home of the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, Carolina Hurricanes, Charlotte Bobcats, Memphis Grizzlies and the Nashville Predators, as well as the Atlantic Coast Conference, Conference USA, Southeastern Conference, Big 12 Conference and Pac-12 Conference, and offer expanded coverage of the University of Kentucky, University of South Carolina and University of Tennessee. Combined, the four networks produce more than 800 live local events each year. For more information, visit FOXSportsSouth.com, FOXSportsCarolinas.comand FOXSportsTennessee.com.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association is a non-profit, nondiscriminatory association operated by the state’s secondary schools. The Association is responsible for academic and athletic competition among the 530,000 students in the state’s public and private schools, including debate, drama, speech, writing, music and 14 different types of sports. The MHSAA also is responsible for 4,000 officials and referees, who are registered and certified through association clinics. For more information, visit www.misshsaa.com.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association, founded in 1921, is a private agency organized by its 688 senior and junior high and middle school members to coordinate and promote their interscholastic athletic programs. Currently, more than 75,000 students participate in the program, which strives to help member schools conduct their interscholastic athletic programs and reach each systems’ educational objectives. For more information, visit www.ahsaa.com.