MSG Varsity Expands Digital Curriculum, Drops Linear Network

Entering its fifth year, MSG Varsity is expanding its digital offerings, but will drop its linear channel.

The high school sports service, which Cablevision launched in 2009 and has been using as a retention and acquisition tool, will offer over 500 professionally filmed games and events during the 2013-14 school year that will be live-streamed to authenticated subscribers online to desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones. Shortly after their conclusion, encores of these presentations will be available on-demand on interactive channel 614, which will also feature DVR functionality enabling parents and their progeny to rewind and exult in the students’ athletic accomplishments. Moreover, the contests will be archived for the entire school year.

However, MSG Varsity, which has laid off a number of employees over the past year, will no longer be available on channel 14 on the Cablevision dial. The MSO said it will announce its content plan for the linear channel position over the next few weeks.

Plainview, N.Y.-headquartered NeuLion is continuing to serve as the technology partner facilitating the high-definition streaming, as well as DVR and instant-replay features, highlights and additional content to sports fans, students and parents. NeuLion has deals with the NFL, NBA, UFC, MLS and NHL, as its Sports Platform provides a solution for the worldwide digital delivery of live events to multiple Internet-connected devices.

On Aug. 29, MSG Varsity will announce its schedule for the upcoming fall athletic seasons and unveil a new web site that will serve as a nexus for its coverage, including Friday night football.

Game action aside, MSG Varsity will continue to serve up original news and highlights shows across the varied platforms, including Varsity Weekend Review on Mondays; Quick Hits with high school sports doyen Mike Quick, who reveals his top 25 large and small schools in the New York metro area on Tuesdays; Varsity Letters, which breaks down the area’s best of  boys and girls soccer and field hockey on Wednesdays; and Prime Time Preview on Thursdays, when the traveling show visits campus within the MSO’s footprint.