Pick your favorite sport - baseball, basketball, football, golf, tennis, auto racing, etc. and it's likely that in 2009 some part of the action has been available via broadband or mobile video. 2009 is looking like the year that sports executives - and the TV network honchos that pay dearly for sports' broadcast rights- concretely realized that broadband and mobile complement traditional sports broadcasting and that they should be embraced, not spurned.
In VideoNuze's News Roundup, I've been keeping track of all the broadband and mobile sports headlines this year. Here's just a partial list of what I've captured, along with links:
- PGATour.com to Offer Live Video Streams of Key Holes for Tour Playoffs (B&C)
- U.S. Open to Stream Almost All Matches Online (PaidContent)
- DirecTV Offers NFL Sunday Ticket via Internet in NY Trial (USA Today)
- "Live at Wimbledon" Streaming Coverage Announced by NBC (Sports Media News)
- Cablevision Subs Will Gain Access to In-Market Streaming of YES's Yankee Telecasts (Multichannel News)
- MLB.com Streams Live Baseball Games to the iPhone (NYTimes Bits)
- NBA Playoffs to Stream on Android App (Online Media Daily)
- Speedtv.com to Stream Part of Le Mans 24 Hours (Multichannel News)
- NHL to Launch Daily Stanley Cup Pre-game Web Series (Mediaweek - reg required)
- Follow the Masters on Your iPhone (Electronic House)
- March Madness! YouTube Gets Live Video via Silverlight (NewTeeVee)
In some cases the initiatives provide specially-produced video, while in other cases they offer streams that are already available on TV. The former type isn't that surprising as supplementary video can add a lot of value to the main event (the analog in entertainment are the popular "behind-the-scenes" extras that come with DVDs).
It's the latter type - where broadcast streams are delivered via broadband or mobile, either live or on-demand - that is much more intriguing as it represents a big step forward in sports and TV network executives' thinking about multi-platform distribution. Traditionally the approach has been to tell fans when the sporting event was on and on which network to find it. But with these broadband and mobile efforts, increasingly we're seeing executives scrap that model and replace it with a more fan-friendly approach that seeks to bring the action to fans, on-demand and wherever they might be.
In my view, this is a welcome change. Regrettably, big-time sports are now all about big-time money. To understand the stakes, I'm fond of reminding people to do the math on what just ESPN rakes in on just its U.S. monthly affiliate fee of approximately $3.75 from cable operators, satellite operators and telcos carrying the channel into 90 million + homes (your calculator may run out of zeros if you try). With that kind of money on the line, it's imperative that networks and sports themselves figure out how to harness new technologies to deliver more value. From the looks of 2009's initiatives, they appear to be well on their way.
What do you think? Post a comment now.