(Centralia, WA) Another sports season is bearing down on us in lighting fast time and the Eli Sports Network is entering our 9th year of covering the sports we all love. All of us at ESN are gearing up for the year and no matter what sport we are covering or where we are we usually get the same question over and over again and that is why are you called the Eli Sports Network. I have written this story before but I think it is more than worth revisiting the answer.
In 2011 Paul Beattie was looking to start a sports website that focused on High School sports mostly schedules, scores and standings along with live audio broadcasting. Paul had just left radio after 25 years as a news and sports broadcaster and turned to a former broadcast partner in trying to get the new network off the ground. Alex Alderson had done some on-line broadcasting and was key in getting us started. Alex and his family own and operate Awards West Printwares in Centralia so Alex had limited time to give but was a indispensable in the creation of the vision.
We then struggled at trying to find a name for our company and knew we didn’t want something like the Pacific or Cascade or Evergreen Network there are too many and we felt we would get lost in the sea of similar names. At this same time Alex and his wife Elise were expecting their 2nd son but there was concern for the little boy’s health especially his heart. They knew upon his birth he was gonna have to have surgery. As we worked to figure out how to put together a sports network the Alderson’s were dealing with this issue.
When Eli was born Alex and Elise and the family got to spend a little time with him and hold him. This precious little boy then was taken to the operating room and battled and battled to live. After 14 hours on this earth Eli left us but not before he left a huge imprint on this earth. This is when Paul asked the Alderson’s if they would allow us to name the Sports Network after Eli. They gave us their blessing, (probably believing this little experiment would fold after a short time.) Instead Eli is our leader, he is the reason we continue to push and do more and most of all never give up.
We were able to put up 875 live games and events last year plus do State Tournament coverage of Football, Volleyball, Boys and Girls Soccer, Basketball and Track. Girls Bowling, Fastpitch and Baseball plus state cheer, dance and drill. We finished last year with 1.5 million viewers. We were the 2nd highest revenue producer for the NFHS in all 50 states and I can tell you that is not good enough for us. We will work harder this year than ever before we are focused on getting 2,000 live broadcasts and 4-million viewers. We intend to cover the following sports State Tournaments as many as we can, Football, Volleyball, Fastpitch, Bowling, girls and boys soccer, cross country, basketball, wrestling, track tennis, golf and cheer, dance and drill.
These lofty goals are all due to the on-going presence and inspiration from our namesake Eli Conrad Alderson. We have the picture above hanging in our office and Eli is a constant reminder of what we are trying to accomplish and to keep it in proper perspective. Here is the copy from that photo:
Eli Alderson came into this world and was faced with the challenge of his life. His parents and family knew the battle was going to be difficult but Eli came from a family of competitors.
Little Eli battled to live for 14 hours and lived every second like it was his last. He lived more in 14 hours than some people do in a lifetime. Eli is the definition of a fighter and never gave up despite overwhelming challenges.
We are proud to carry the legacy of Eli and this has become the mission of the Eli Sports Network.
We have learned to keep sports in its proper perspective of what is truly important in life. We have learned that giving up is not an option. We know that no matter what we face on the field or court of competition that in the end it is about competing and giving your all.
The legacy of Eli is knowing that the parent who has to work while their kid is playing can now watch. The Grandparents who physically can’t go to games can be there and family members in the Military can escape their reality and be with their loved ones through our work inspired by this incredible gift to not only us but to the world.
THIS IS THE ELI SPORTS NETWORK!
This is exactly what keeps ESN going and we hope to continue to legacy of this little man.