NORWALK — The relationship between the FCIAC and the company formerly known as Hersam Acorn Newspapers, once limited to the league’s website, jumped to a new level on Tuesday, when an agreement to currently stream 25 games this fall was announced during a press conference at the Norwalk Inn.
The rebranded HAN Network announced a three-year deal with the FCIAC. The media company’s chief executive officer, Martin Hersam, said it was valued at $24,000 annually, roughly what the league had been receiving from its previous partner, MSGVarsity.
HAN Network and the FCIAC would share any revenue from the deal. After two non-league games, HAN Network will kick off the league season airing a girls soccer game between New Canaan and Brien McMahon on Sept. 15.
The first of 11 football games over 10 weeks will feature Ridgefield hosting New Canaan on Sept. 18.
HAN Network will stream the FCIAC football championship on Nov. 21.
As with MSGVarsity, all games will be free of charge except any title and possible playoff games, which Hersam said will be available for a nominal fee.
Sixteen of the 17 league schools will be featured at least in one of the four sports HAN Network will stream; in addition to football there will be weekday boys and girls soccer and field hockey.
Hersam said the plan was for a weekly three-hour show prior to each of the streamed football games that will serve as both a preview and review of football and other FCIAC sports.
“HAN Network’s move into live video and audio stream broadcasting is still in its nascent stage,” Hersam said in a released statement. “However, it is only because of our hard-working, dedicated and incredibly innovative staff that we have been able to prove to the FCIAC that we are ready to be their broadcasting partner.”
Viewers will be able to access games across all 18 of the HAN Network’s news sites, as well as FCIAC.net and a new corporate site, www.HAN.Network.”
John Kuczo, the FCIAC executive secretary who will be retiring at the end of the forthcoming school year, said it was important to leave the conference with a bright future.
“We’re very proud of our league and how well it does, but now the exposure that our kids are going to get through this new medium of live streaming is fantastic,” Kuczo said. “Hersam Acorn and Marty Hersam in particular stepped up to develop this whole concept to us. This is something we could not turn down.”
HAN Network has broadcast 40 live FCIAC and CIAC sporting events since last February.
Hersam discounted any possible conflict of interests between a news organization that will be working in partnership with a league it also is covering.
“While HAN is a community news organization, there is a very important delineation between our relationship with the FCIAC and our obligation to cover local news,” Hersam said in the statement. “HAN has been operating the FCIAC.net website on behalf of the conference, under the direction of our New Canaan Adverister sports editor, Dave Stewart.
“It’s about the student athletes… Dave has taken great care to ensure that the content on that site is only about the student athletes, FCIAC coaches and related topics. It is not a ‘sports writer personality site,’ nor is it a news site.
“The same balance will hold true with HAN Network’s broadcasting strategy of the FCIAC. If, and when, there is real news to report regarding the FCIAC, that will be handled by our news divisions in an objective fashion.”
The released broadcast schedule:
- Friday, Sept. 11 — Football: John Jay (NY) at Yorktown (NY), 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 12 — Football: Weston (SWC) at Notre Dame-Fairfield (SWC), 1 p.m.
- Tuesday, Sept. 15 — Girls Soccer: New Canaan at McMahon, 4 p.m.
- Thursday, Sept. 17 — Boys Soccer: Wilton at Greenwich, 5 p.m.
- Friday, Sept. 18 — Football: New Canaan at Ridgefield, 7 p.m.
- Monday, Sept. 21 — Girls Soccer: Warde at Westhill, 4 p.m.
- Tuesday, Sept. 22 — Field Hockey: Darien at New Canaan, 4 p.m.
- Thursday, Sept. 24 — Boys Soccer: Wilton at Ludlowe, 6 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 26 — Football: Darien at Greenwich, 4 p.m.
- Monday, Sept. 28 — Field Hockey: Staples at Wilton, 4 p.m.
- Tuesday, Sept. 29 — Trumbull at Warde, 4 p.m.
- Friday, Oct. 2 — Football: Law (SCC) at Fairfield Prep (SCC), 6 p.m.
- Friday, Oct. 2 — Football: Fairfield Warde at Staples, 7 p.m.
- Monday, Oct. 5 — Field Hockey: Darien at Ridgefield, 4 p.m.
- Tuesday, Oct. 6 — Boys Soccer: Greenwich at Stamford, 4 p.m.
- Friday, Oct. 9 — Football: Stamford at Danbury, 7 p.m.
- Monday, Oct. 12 — Boys Soccer: Norwalk at Ludlowe, 5 p.m.
- Friday, Oct. 16 — Football: St. Joseph at Wilton, 7 p.m.
- Monday, Oct. 19 — Boys Soccer: New Canaan at Wilton, 6:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, Oct. 20 — Girls Soccer: Wilton at New Canaan, 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 24 — Football: New Canaan at Greenwich, 3 p.m.
- Monday, Oct 26 — Field Hockey: Staples at Greenwich, 6 p.m.
- Tuesday, Oct. 27 — Field Hockey: Warde at New Canaan, 4 p.m.
- Friday, Oct. 30 — Football: Greenwich at Ludlowe, 7 p.m.
- Friday, Nov. 6 — Football: Trumbull at New Canaan, 7 p.m.
- Friday, Nov. 13 — Football: Ridgefield at Greenwich, 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 21 — Football: FCIAC Championship Game (teams TBA), TBA
- Thursday, Nov. 26 — Football New Canaan at Darien, 10:30 a.m.