By SETH STASKEY
For The Intelligence
Want to watch the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference soccer semifinals today?
You'll have the chance even if you can't make it to Wheeling Island Stadium as the OVAC and Play On Sports partnership officially begins with this weekend's tournament.
The partnership, which was announced in August, becomes a reality as championship season for the OVAC kicks into full gear this weekend with soccer playing today and then the championship games on Monday.
"We re thrilled to be working with the largest functioning high school conference in the country," said Jason Rine, who serves as a territory manager for PlayOn! Sports. "We're looking forward to brining this type of technology to sports fans and schools of the OVAC."
Throughout the school year, OVAC Championships in soccer, volleyball, swimming, wrestling, cheering, dual wrestling, basketball, baseball, softball and track and field.
PlayOn! Sports has signed deals with numerous state associations throughout the nation and actually, according to Rine, the OVAC's 50-school membership is bigger than some of those associations.
"This is the first conference relationship of this kind for us," Rine said.
Those wishing to watch the games can log onto nfhsnetwork.com and follow the prompts to find the OVAC's events.
There is a fee to watch the events live. There are different types of passes available on the site, including 24 hours, 30 days, sports specific and full access for an entire school year.
"People often complain the conference is too big, but the nice part, you can pay a fee to come to the game or you can buy a pass and watch this live at home," OVAC Executive Secretary Tom Rataiczak said. "This can really accommodate a lot of people if it's inclement weather or they don't want to drive or if there's family all over the country."
The games are also archived on the site and available in their entirety via an on-demand for free three days later.
"Another really nice thing for us is all of our materials will be archived and we'll have them down the road historically," Rataiczak said. "It's going to be nice to have these for future generations."
The games will be broadcast by professional on-air talent and done by full broadcast and production teams, according to Rine.
"When we do games and events for the state associations or, in this case, a conference, we use professional producers, camera people and broadcasters," Rine said. "There will be a full graphics package like you're watching any game on television."