In Fall 2017 the Newport Cubs Boys Soccer team signed on with Oregon SportsBeat to live broadcast a handful of their regular season games. They joined the growing list of soccer teams joining the Oregon SportsBeat Network; Central Catholic, Hood River Valley, Wilson, and Grant to name a few. The Cubs play in the 4A Oregon West Conference, which meant they would be travelling into the Valley often for away games in a highly competitive conference. Game broadcasts of their away games made logistical sense, and game broadcasts of some home games would generate a buzz around town. We broadcast 7 regular season games, plus their entire run to a 2nd straight 4A Boys Soccer Championship. From Stayton to Seaside to Brookings-Harbor and everywhere between, it was an historic run that will forever be enjoyed by players, coaches, families, and the entire Newport community.
The Cubs came onto the Oregon SportsBeat radar in 2016 when they traveled to play at Stayton for their regular season finale that would decide the Oregon West Conference Champion. It was a fantastic game; it was a heated, loud, intense scene as fans from both small towns came to support their side. The Cubs tied that game, and from there went on a 5 game winning streak to win their first State Championship. Soon after claiming their title they were invited onto SportsBeat TV for an appearance to celebrate their accomplishment.
The following season the Cubs would be losing some good players, but they were also returning some great talent. Coach Ollie Richardson, and many fans from Newport that couldn’t make the trip to Stayton, had seen our broadcast of that game in 2016, and witnessed the value of Oregon SportsBeat services first hand. Talks ensued, and in the spring of 2017 we began setting things up for game broadcasts that fall. Coach Richardson requested which games he wanted to broadcast, I put together a sponsorship packet that would cover the cost of the service AND put money into the Cubs soccer program. Together we presented the plan to the NHS administration.
The plan was approved in the spring, which was good because it meant we had the summer to get the sponsorship work done. Selling it was not difficult; like many high school sports programs, the Cubs soccer team were the biggest show in town, and the OSB network guarantees that thousands of fans around the state and beyond will have quality access to watch games. Together we had a great opportunity for sponsors to promote their business support the project.
The Cubs didn’t win every game that we picked to broadcast, Coach Richardson picked the 7 toughest games on the schedule and they actually lost 3 of those. But video tells the truth, and the truth was that the Cubs needed to get better to make run at another a state title. Coach had not only great video footage of his team’s most important games, he had a valuable tool at his disposal to help his team get better. The video footage helped by placing a firm hand of accountability on the program to improve.
The Cubs finished the regular season and entered the playoffs as a #9 seed. Game 1 vs. Elmira at home. Win. Game 2 at Phoenix. Win. Game 3 at #1 Ranked Seaside. Win. State semifinal game at Brookings-Harbor. Win. Oregon SportsBeat was there every step of the way as the Cubs reached their peak at the right time and went on to defend their State Title. In a fitting end to their epic 2017 season, the Newport Cubs won the 2017 4A Boys State Soccer Title.
The players, the Cubs soccer program, Newport High School and the entire community now have a high quality video account for all the games in their historic run, complete with a raging Newport fanbase growing along the way. Thousands of fans got to enjoy the journey, and thousands more will enjoy it as their saga is etched in history. In the end Cubs soccer program actually made money off of their broadcasts. Some lucky businesses are forever linked to their program. It’s a great example of how video can play a role in a sports program.
There will never be another story like it, although there may be a better one; the Cubs are aiming for their 3rd State Title in 2018.