Football is back.
The NFL season is right around the corner, college football’s kickoff is relaunching this week, and high school football has already wrapped its arms around local communities for another fall.
The breeding ground for future professional talent, high school football is receiving a unique spotlight for the rest of 2018 because Adidas and Twitter announced the collaboration of a new live streaming series “Friday Night Stripes,” which will showcase eight games live on Twitter featuring teams from Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, California, Florida, and Texas.
At the center of it all is play-by-play announcer Courtney Lyle.
Lyle is a rising star in the industry with extensive experience commentating for ESPN and the SEC Network. She covered over 80 events for ESPN last year, spanning six different sports, including the 2018 NCAA beach volleyball national championship. Handling the analysis alongside Lyle is former NFL star and Super Bowl XLV Champion A.J. Hawk with sideline reporting duties being handled by YouTube personality Cameron “Scooter” Magruder. The series will feature special guests and Adidas NFL athletes throughout each episode.
— Courtney Lyle (@sportney_lyle) August 29, 2018
With Intersport being tasked to handle production of the series, the installments will be highlighted in an intimate way that will allow the audience to gain an in-depth perspective on the teams, players, and the preparation that goes into these Friday night matchups. Geoff Glick, senior coordinating producer with Intersport, notes how Intersport’s past experience with highlighting high school athletes prepares the company well for producing this new series.
“We started talking about this program for high school football and giving fans the opportunity to view it live on Twitter,” said Glick. “We wanted to attack it from a talent perspective and from different angles than you normally would. This new venture is coming off the heels of #TheDebut, our collaboration with Gatorade and Twitter from earlier this year. It was a unique opportunity to highlight the top high school men’s players in the country including Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett. The audience really appreciated the unique perspective that Twitter provided and we are excited to work with Twitter and Adidas to tap into that unique perspective again.”
— PabloMurphy® (@PabloMurphy) August 29, 2018
The ability to highlight that unique perspective starts with those calling the action itself. The broadcast team is stacked with personality and experience. Glick highlighted the strength of this broadcast team with Lyle at the helm.
“When we came across Courtney in our search for assembling our broadcast team, she really embodied everything that we were looking for. She has a great combination of a calm demeanor while still being eager for the opportunity. She’s really smart and super dedicated to her craft. Given that our target demographic is 16 to 35, she is a great reflection of that group we are hoping to capture. She really provides a voice that could speak to that generation and captivate the audience through providing insight that will resonate with both casual observers and die-hard fans.”
In talking with Lyle, she noted the important role that Twitter is playing in giving fans the ability to see high school football from a different angle and showcase these up-and-coming athletes in ways not seen before.
“Our audience will be able to impact the broadcast right away. It’s unlike any other platform, because no second screen is required. They can watch the game, ask questions and interact with A.J., Scooter and I all from their computer or phone,” said Lyle.
Lyle also touched upon what to expect from the different perspectives that the broadcast team carries.
“I’m really excited about the team we have in place. Working with A.J. Hawk and getting his perspective about the recruiting process and making it to the next level, that will be really valuable to have within our broadcast. Scooter won’t just be doing sideline reports. He will be able to talk with us freely and provide a view from the field and the stands, really giving us a sense of what each school’s game night environment is like.”
While much of her success and notoriety is recognized from her time on-air, it is her preparation and work leading up to the live broadcasts that will help to truly make this series special.
“We are going to focus on the action, but that’s not going to stop us from telling a good story and introducing the audience to these athletes. I’m really excited for the Thursdays leading up to games. I’m looking forward to seeing the players practice and gathering their perspectives on the team. That’s when you really learn about a group.”
Engrained within all of the prep work and research that Lyle executes is the drive and passion for the game of football at its earliest roots.
“Growing up right around the corner from the University of Tennessee, football was a big deal,” said Lyle. “When I was a sophomore in high school, we ran a small TV station outside of Nashville that broadcast in the county. The first time I ever did play-by-play was on that station for our high school football game. I laugh about it now, but it was probably the worst thing that’s ever aired. And yet, that’s where I started this love of broadcasting. I was 15 years old then. To have this opportunity to return to the sport that got me started is incredible.”
Lyle forecasts a broadcast team that will deliver great rapport and interactive player insights — all backed by a cutting-edge live-streaming experience that will take the audience into all-new perspectives and lenses.
“I hope our crew can convey how unique and exciting Friday nights are for these athletes,” said Lyle. “It’s going to be a fun environment for A.J., Scooter and I, but also the viewer. You will be watching future Saturday, and even Sunday stars at their beginning. I think that’s pretty incredible.”