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Column: How MaxPreps changed the high school sports landscape

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Let’s sing a birthday song together.

“Happy birthday. Happy birthday. Happy birthday dear MaxPreps…”

Yes, MaxPreps turns 20 this year. Few organizations are more important in moving high school sports into the digital age.

You have to remember what MaxPreps looked like before it was created in the Sacramento area in 2002 by California-based Andy Beal.

Rosters, schedules and scores were sometimes distributed or confirmed by Pony Express. Seriously, information was collected by phone or by asking coaches and freelancers to report their scores to newspapers. Infrequently, the reporter asked the players on the sidelines to name them one by one.

The idea of ​​MaxPreps as a one-stop shop for reporting scores, viewing rosters, stats, and schedules took years to come to fruition as it relied on schools generously donating time and effort to input information. It took. In some sections, I asked or recommended coaches for help. It’s been a slow and steady improvement, and even today there are certain sports stats and roster holdouts.

MaxPreps was eventually acquired by the owners of CBS Sports Digital in 2007. Now, CBS also acquired his recruitment service, 247Sports, in 2015, so it’s consistent with management’s favorite word: “synergy.” This he is active in all 50 states.

California has a bit of competition going on. In 2019, relatively new Scorebook Live surpassed MaxPreps to become the exclusive digital provider of the California Interscholastic Federation, the state’s governing body for high school sports. There was a small uprising among schools who wanted to continue using MaxPreps and not switch to Scorebook Live. Scorebook Live will develop a live scoring platform so fans can continuously receive scores from the game, he told CIF.

Scorebook Live later became SB Live Sports, but learned that the process of earning royalties and volunteers was very slow. Also in 2020 he had the COVID-19 pandemic, so the transition didn’t go well.

MaxPreps was hailed with a new contract a year later. We now share all information entered on the CIF Home website (scores and schedules) that automatically navigates to both MaxPreps and SB Live. Interestingly, SB Live switched strategies to focus more on written, social media and recruiting content than on scores, hiring both a photo editor and top California staff his writers from his MaxPreps. You seem to have supported the cause.

The CIF sponsorship deal with MaxPreps and SB Live expires in 2023, so who knows what will happen next, but the lesson from last time was that the school was shouting loudly that they didn’t want to lose MaxPreps. that was made clear. If both sides are happy with their current information-sharing arrangements, the CIF will no doubt be happy too. But the CIF will say “Show me the money” first.

MaxPreps has proven to be a valuable archive for former high school athletes looking to step back in time and show their children and grandchildren what they did in high school. That record goes all the way back to his 2004, when schools can enter the information to see who’s on the team and how many yards someone has run.

MaxPreps is bigger and more profitable than ever. Its rankings, photos, and national coverage continue to grow. The people who run it know that the bread and butter of a successful digital enterprise includes building the trust and support of local customers. As successful as volunteers.

CIF wants live scoring to become part of the digital environment.

MaxPreps Platform or SB Live?

CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti said: “I think we’ll get there.”

I hope that happens in the next 20 years. Happy Birthday, MaxPreps! etc.