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Bright Lights Football: Madison Central vs. Northwest Rankin
Award-Winning Original Program Celebrates Rich Tradition Of Some Of the Oldest, Biggest Gridiron Rivalries in the South
Wireless Provider to Partner with FOX Sports South to Broadcast Three Rivalry Games in HD,
Including Oct. 27 Showdown Between Madison Central Jaguars and Northwest Rankin Cougars
RIDGELAND, MS. (Sept. 25, 2011) – CSpire Wireless, the nation’s largest privately owned wireless communications provider, today announced plans to once again partner with FOX Sports South (FSSO) to televise three of the South’s biggest high school football rivalry games in prime time this fall.
The games and the high-profile broadcast plans are part of CSpire’s “Bright Lights” original sports programming that showcases the drama, passion, community pride and human interest stories around some of the most famous high school football rivalries in the South.
The award-winning program, which is coming off its second highly successful season in 2010, will feature 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.
Match Ups Feature Some of Oldest, Biggest Gridiron Rivalries in South
Rivalries to be featured in the program this fall include an Oct. 27 Madison County-Rankin County grudge match between perennial powers Madison Central and Northwest Rankin. This cross-town rivalry 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.
“We’re honored to be one of the teams chosen to participate in CSpire Wireless’ Bright Lights high school football rivalry program, which has received lots of attention and praise in football circles around the country,” said Bobby Hall, who will be making his second appearance in one of the program’s rivalry games as head football coach and athletic director at Madison Central. Hall’s Jaguars defeated archrival Clinton 24-3 in the program’s inaugural game on Sept. 25, 2009. “Northwest Rankin 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,” 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 the game against the Jaguars will be a great showcase for our community, our school and our fine student-athletes,” said Pete Hurt, head football coach and athletic director at Northwest Rankin. “This will be tremendous exposure for both schools and communities and we intend to take full advantage of the opportunity,” Hurt said.
Other featured match ups this year include:
- Daphne Trojans at Fairhope Pirates – Oct. 13 in Fairhope, Ala. – 7 p.m. CT
- Louisville Wildcats at Noxubee County Tigers – Oct. 20 in Macon, Miss. – 7 p.m. CT
As one of the single largest and most comprehensive sports programming and customer engagement initiatives undertaken by a company, the Bright Lights high school football program also will feature a wide variety of user-generated content, contests, games, new sports-related applications and interaction with social networking sites. All of the program content will be housed on 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, the Bright Lights football program 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 CSpire Wireless.
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 SportSouth. “Our commitment to local coverage is reflected in our partnership with CSpire to televise these exciting high school gridiron rivalries.”
Games Will Showcase Latest Professional Sports Production Technology
“All three games will be 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), Cspire’s New York-based advertising agency since 2008, will be the executive producer of the 2011 Bright Lights 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 Cspire 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 Cspire Wireless 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, CSpire 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
CSpire 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 Magnolia state’s 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 be featured in the 2011 Bright Lights 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 CSpire 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 Bright Lights 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 Cpire’s 2011 Bright Lights high school football rivalry program, visit www.cspire.com/football.
About CSpire Wireless
CSpire is a privately-owned diversified mobile communications company passionately committed to helping customers get the most out of their wireless devices and services. The nation’s largest privately owned wireless communications provider accomplishes this goal by providing the most reliable and advanced high-speed nationwide wireless voice and data network, offering industry-leading family and unlimited flat rate voice, text and mobile web plans, and through its online and in-store Discover Centers, which give customers easy, simple and convenient tools, tips, advice and information on how to get the most out of their mobile phone. For more information about CSpire and its products and services, visit www.cspire.com.
About FOX Sports South
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.com and FOXSportsTennessee.com.
About Young & Rubicam Brands
If you've ever felt the need to "Be a Pepper," you can thank Young & Rubicam Brands (Y&R). As the advertising and media services unit of UK-based WPP Group, Y&R has developed memorable commercial spots for many clients, including the well-known tag line of Dr Pepper. Y&R operates primarily through its flagship creative ad agency, Y&R Advertising, but it also offers consulting and marketing services through Wunderman, public relations through Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe, and digital expertise through a partnership with VML. Its Landor unit is a brand building shop while The Bravo Group is a multicultural advertising agency. Y&R, which has about 540 offices in 80 countries, was acquired by WPP in 2000. For more information, visit www.yrbrands.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.