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GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - High school football games can officially be live streamed online after Gaston County Schools made a final decision this week.
"We're very excited," said Calvin Hastings, president of KTC Broadcasting. "We were hoping the county schools would go that way, and a lot of the fans were tickled to death too."
Hastings has been part of radio broadcasts of local football games for 30 years but just started live streaming video last year when the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) made it legal to stream online.
Since then, Gaston County coaches and athletic directors have differed on whether to allow streaming of football games. The county recently decided to make one decision for all of its schools instead of handling streaming on a case by case basis.
Some athletic directors worry they'll lose ticket sale revenue as more people watch games online instead of coming out to the stadium, but Hastings disagrees.
"People who come out to the games are going to keep coming out to the games. Hopefully we can catch the shut-ins. Also, the alumni that don't live in the area. We have a lot of folks out of state, even out of the country," he said.
Now that live streaming is allowed, some are wondering if live television broadcasts could be next. Davis Whitfield is the commissioner of the NCHSAA.
"I don't think that possibility is out of the question," said Whitfield in a phone interview Friday. "But I think there would have to be a shift in terms of our schools' position for that to take place, and I think at this point there's a majority of our schools that would like to maintain what we currently have."
Whitfield said a television audience would likely be larger than an Internet audience and could hit ticket sales hard.
For now, live streaming on the web is a big step, and one that Hastings doesn't think will empty out the stadiums any time soon.
To watch a live broadcast of a Gaston County high school football game, click here and scroll down.