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C Spire Wireless Names Veteran Broadcast Team for Third Season of Award-Winning “Bright Lights”
Original Sports Programming Celebrates Rich Tradition Of Some Of the Oldest, Biggest Gridiron Rivalries in the South
Wireless Provider Partners With FOX Sports South To Broadcast Three High School Football
Rivalry Games This Fall Reaching Up To 12.9 Million Television Viewers
RIDGELAND, MS. (October 6, 2011) – C Spire Wireless, the nation’s largest privately owned wireless communications provider and the first to introduce personalized wireless services, today named a trio of veteran sports broadcasters to call all the action for high school football fans during the third year of its award-winning “Bright Lights” original sports program, which showcases the drama, passion and community pride around high school football rivalries in the South.
The “Bright Lights Football” program, which is coming off its second highly successful season in 2010, will feature live, primetime telecasts in high definition (HD) on FOX Sports South (FSSO) of three of the oldest and biggest high school football rivalries in Mississippi and Alabama. Select game telecasts will reach up to 12.9 million cable and satellite households in seven Southeastern states.
Richard Cross, Veteran Sports Talk Show Host and Announcer, Joins Stellar Broadcasting Team
Richard Cross, a veteran sports talk show host and former Ole Miss radio announcer and Sun Belt Conference television commentator with over a decade of sports broadcasting experience in the Southeast, will be the play-by-play announcer in 2011 for all Bright Lights football games. Joining Cross in the press box as a color analyst will be Matt Wyatt, former Mississippi State University quarterback and veteran television high school and college sports reporter and anchor. Wyatt performed a similar role last year and Cross replaced Dave Armstrong, who was the play-by-play announcer during the program’s first two years.
Roaming the sidelines again this year to report on all the exciting plays and calls during games this season will be Russ Robinson, a 35-year veteran broadcaster for high school and college sports in the South. Most recently, Robinson has been the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School, Jackson Prep and Mississippi College football.
“I’m thrilled and honored to join the broadcast team for C Spire Wireless’ Bright Lights high school football rivalry games,” Cross said. “I’m really looking forward to sharing some great high school football games with our expanded audience this season.”
Wyatt, Cross and Robinson will bring their extensive experience covering local high school football to the broadcast series. “Professional and college football are fun and exciting, but everyone knows that some of the biggest rivals don’t play on Saturday or Sunday,”said Wyatt. “They’re played on Thursday and Friday nights in high school football games and pit the collective community pride of entire towns and cities against one another for regional bragging rights,” Robinson added.
Rivalries to be featured in the program this fall include an Oct. 13 showdown between perennial south Alabama football powerhouse Daphne High School and Fairhope High School. The cross-town rivalry – known as the “War on the Eastern Shore” – dates back to 1990 and although Daphne holds the series edge, anything can happen with the Mayor’s Cup on the line for the winning team. Daphne is the reigning 6A state champion and has won 14 out of the last 15 contests between the two teams – its only loss a 35-7 road loss to Fairhope in 2009.
Other featured match ups this year include:
- Louisville High Wildcats at Noxubee County High Tigers – Oct. 20 in Macon, Miss. – 7 p.m.
- Madison Central Jaguars at Northwest Rankin Cougars – Oct. 27 in Flowood, Miss. – 7 p.m.
To bring the action to the most high school football fans, games will be aired on FOX Sports South in selected markets reaching more than 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 SportSouth. “Our commitment to local coverage is reflected in our partnership with C Spire Wireless to televise these exciting high school gridiron rivalries.”
Games Will Showcase Latest Professional Sports Production Technology
All five games will be televised in primetime and HD with top broadcast talent and production quality, Genthner said. “FOX Sports South will bring network-quality production values to these high school football telecasts.”
The games also will feature NFL-caliber pyrotechnics, aerial video and the world’s largest mobile Jumbotron video messaging and display board as well as exciting fan engagement centers where attendees can register to win prizes and participate in a text-to-screen application.
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 another successful 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 in the South an opportunity to enjoy some of the most spirited high school football rivalries around.”
Part of that early program success was some international attention and recognition for the “Bright Lights” program with Y & R and C Spire winning a Bronze Cannes Lion at the 57th annual Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in 2009 in the media category for best use of media.
“Y’all vs. Us” 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 called “Y’all vs. Us” about 15 of the biggest high school football rivalries.
The company has partnered with officials from public and private high school athletic associations in Mississippi and Alabama to identify and recruit the six high school football teams featured in the 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,” said Jim Richmond, director of Corporate Communications for C Spire Wireless. “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.”
Richmond said “Bright Lights” also will feature some exciting documentary-style back stories that provide details, insights and historical facts and circumstances surrounding the high school football rivalries between the teams. All of this rich media content will be posted on the company’s “Bright Lights” football website at www.cspire.com/brightlights.
In 2009, 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 2010 by FOX Sports Network and continues to be rebroadcast periodically nationwide reaching more than 83 million households.
About C Spire Wireless
C Spire Wireless is a diversified mobile 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 receive for using their phone in new ways – all with seamless ease and at amazingly fast speed. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire products and services, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.
About FOX Sports
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in high-definition, making FSN one of the most prolific producers of HD sports programming in the country. In addition to its thousands of home team games and a wide variety of locally produced sports programs, FSN televises national sports events and programs, including Pac-10 and ACC basketball and Pac-10 and Big 12 football. For more information, visit www.msn.foxsports.com.