“Hole Nation” Covers the Ins and Outs of Cornhole

By Bethany Bradsher, May 21, 2018

When the live broadcast of a cornhole tournament from Charleston, West Virginia, attracted more than 1 million views in two days on YouTube, American Cornhole Organization Marketing Director C.S. Alexander knew the sport’s little secret is out. Cornhole is more than just a way to pass the time in the backyard while the burgers are grilling.

That level of interest prompted Alexander and ACO president and CEO Frank Geers to pull the trigger on a project both were anxious to launch: a 30-minute cornhole telecast featuring news, highlights and human interest stories from every aspect of the sport.

Thus was born “Hole Nation,” the flagship show of the ACO Digital Network that also features live tournament broadcasts, highlight shows and programming featuring the best backyard setups from the nation’s cornhole enthusiasts. The response to Hole Nation, which premiered in February, has proven that the popularity of ACO’s earlier cornhole broadcasts was no fluke.

“There is a learning curve for the rest of America, many who are just now discovering that the game they love playing in their backyard actually has a professional side to it,” Geers said. “Hole Nation is meant to help bridge that gap and convert those millions of viewers from our live telecasts to actual participants in the tournaments they are watching.”

The first three episodes of Hole Nation were hosted by Geers and written and produced by Alexander. They included segments like “First Pitch,” which covers the lead story in the sport at that time, “News and Notes” and an interview segment called “One to One.” Alexander and Geers are always making improvements to the show, which will beef up its covered in conjunction with the competitive cornhole season starting in late May. Look for a new host and some additional features.

One of the most popular segments of Hole Nation so far is “Taco,” short for “Talking ACO,”,a video version of an existing audio broadcast that covers the world of cornhole and ACO happenings. Taco is hosted by Fin, a former morning drive radio host in Cincinnati known as the “ACO Mouthpiece.”

Even though professional cornhole news is a key element of Hole Nation, Alexander’s vision has been to fill at least two-thirds of the broadcast with news and tidbits that will appeal to the backyard player. From product reviews to information about how to turn a casual cornhole interest into competing in or hosting a tournament in your area, Hole Nation aims to educate viewers (or “Hole Heads”) about the sport’s reach and their potential role in it.

“The way I look at cornhole as an industry, it’s the Wild West, but it’s the WIld West once the town was settled,” said Alexander, who points out that ACO and its main competitor, the American Cornhole League, have a cooperative relationship about growing the sport.

ACL even bought time on ESPN to broadcast its cornhole championships last summer. “We need to create a foundation of a culture, build it up and then show networks that going with us is going to be a profitable venture.”

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