In an unconventional move for a professional sports team, the San Francisco 49ers have purchased and renamed a local TV show about high school sports.
According to the San Jose Mercury-News, the Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area on NBC Sports California will rebrand as 49ers Cal-Hi Sports Report, after the NFL team bought the weekly show. In addition to airing on NBC Sports California, 49ers Cal-Hi Sports Report will air on 49ers.com and on a YouTube channel. It will continue to be hosted by longtime anchor Robert Braunstein.
Buying up local sports shows isn’t exactly a common practice for pro sports teams. In fact, we can’t recall any other examples of similar purchases. Many franchises and college programs have focused on creating content, but that content typically airs on their own platforms (such as the Redskins Radio Network) and typically focuses inward, on their own teams. The 49ers, on the other hand, will produce a show on someone else’s network, covering something only tangentially related to their own team.
Here’s the team’s statement on the deal:
49ers President Al Guido added, “The 49ers have a strong commitment to youth sports across the San Francisco Bay Area and that makes the launch of the 49ers Cal-Hi Sports Report so exciting for us as an organization. Robert and his team have dedicated their careers to showcasing the talented high school student-athletes throughout the region and their excellence in positively promoting Bay Area high school sports was a natural fit for us.”
Presumably, the Niners are looking to have fans of all age, throughout the Bay Area, associate football on all levels with their team. With the Raiders about to bail for Las Vegas, the 49ers will have a monopoly on NorCal football, and apparently they want that monopoly to extend down to high school.
Terms of the 49ers’ purchase have not been revealed, but the deal sure seems like a win for NBC Sports California, which gets to affiliate with a popular sports team, and for the 49ers Cal-Hi Sports Report team, which gets wider distribution on its show.
“The purchase of our show by the 49ers is an affirmation of all the hard work my staff and I have put in over these past 15 years,” Braunstein said in the release. “It’s an honor to be part of the 49ers, a team my dad introduced me to when I was a young boy. We would collect milk cartons for discounts to tickets at Kezar Stadium. I know my dad would be proud that my show is now part of this historic team.”
The show’s new season will begin Aug. 27 at 6 and 10 p.m. PT.