No ticket, no worries: NFHS changes the game


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The recording of the 2021 MPSSAA Boys Lacrosse Playoff game against Richard Montgomery is featured on demand on the NFHS Network website along with all other WCHS fall sport games.

By Olivia Yasharoff, Editor-in-Chief

If students or parents missed a WCHS sporting event in years past, there would be no way to know what happened, except for word of mouth. Now, a new MCPS program means all sporting events can be live-streamed for anyone to watch at any time. 

The NFHS Network, a partner of the National Federation of State High School Association, covers 27 regular and postseason sports in high schools across the country and allows fans to watch games live from the comfort of their own homes, thanks to previously-installed cameras set up in all MCPS school gyms, stadiums and fields. 

“This is a fantastic way for our families, friends and fans to be able to see our games when they can’t be there in person,” WCHS Athletics Specialist Jesse Smith said. “NFHS gives the grandparents out of state the ability to watch their grandchild compete or the traveling parent a way to not miss a game when out of town on business. It’s just a wonderful way for everyone to continue to keep up with and root for our Bulldog student athletes.”

Before the pandemic, MCPS bought NFHS Pixellot Cameras for each gym and stadium in all 25 MCPS high schools, according to the Bulldog Update, the weekly newsletter of WCHS Athletics. 

“This is something that MCPS Athletics has been looking into for the last 2 years and it finally materialized after the NFHS network came to us with a proposal to make sure all of our schools were able to do this,” Smith said. “The process was a bit difficult and still presents obstacles. From building it up and promoting it to maintaining the indoor and outdoor systems, it’s a big task but it’s been worth it to give everyone another way to watch our games.”

This effort is proving useful for athletes and coaches, too. With the “On Demand” option, games can be watched after they are completed, providing a helpful tool for coaches and players to watch old game footage in order to refine their plays and skills, or even for athletes to take highlight segments for college recruitment videos.

“I think the ability to live stream the games is very helpful, especially for players who have parents who aren’t able to watch. It impacts my family and teammates by providing more access and ways to support the games,” WCHS volleyball player and junior Arya Thambi said. “Being able to watch game plays definitely helps my team and I improve by being able to see and correct any mistakes we made.”

Some may be hesitant to go to in-person sporting events due to the pandemic, making live-streamed sports a great alternative for supporters of WCHS to watch games live or on demand from the comfort of their home.

Other advantages of the platform include being able to fast forward to any specific part of on demand games. Also, scores provided at the bottom of the screen make it easy to follow each game no matter the sport and makes the recordings look fairly similar to college or professional sports games on live television.

Students will eventually be given the opportunity to voice play-by-play for games through the Bulldog Broadcasting Club, according to Smith. Those interested are encouraged to stop by his office, which is across from the main gym.

“I don’t believe it will ever take fans out of the stands because I believe we would all rather watch these games in person,” Smith said. “But it does provide an opportunity for our athletes to be seen by loved ones and fans when they don’t have the ability to get out to games.”

A monthly subscription to watch games live or on demand costs $10.99 and a yearly subscription of $69.99 is also available to year-round WCHS sports fans. With a free subscription, games are free to watch on demand after 72 hours. To find WCHS games online, fans can search “Winston Churchill High School” on, which takes users to WCHS’ Athletics page where all sports and recorded games can be found.

“The hope is at some point all of our games regardless if they are on the stadium or in the gym, will be broadcasted. The livestreaming of our games is an entirely new and exciting thing for our student athletes that will only get better,” Smith said. “We’ll also eventually have students doing play by play through our Bulldog Broadcasting Club. So be on the lookout for that in the future and for anyone interested, stop by and see me.”