About that NFL live blogging ban…

Written by: Mike, Sunday, October 4, 2009 10:12

Anyone following sports the last few months has seen a rather harsh crackdown on live blogging of professional events by media present (we’ll come back to that). The belief that banning any tweeting or live blogging during games will keep profits high is far from the truth. Have you ever followed a game by a live blog type of coverage? It’s good for “to the point” information and quickly read through. However, it’s far from the visual experience watching it on TV or seeing it live would be. Though the rich suits in charge of these mega-million dollar teams don’t have the slightest clue on how their market operates. Do you really believe that a die hard sports fan, the ones who give the leagues the most money, are going to stop going to games and paying for expensive sports cable packages and instead start following games by live tweet? Hardly. That type of thinking is ridiculous.

Now, back to that live blogging ban. The live blogging/tweeting ban varies somewhat from league to league, but they do share a similar set of rules. The biggest similarity being that all live blogging and tweeting is banned from 90 minutes pre-game up to 90 minutes post-game. The cause as well know is that these leagues want to protect revenue from TV deals and what not. Moving on, enforcing such a ban is extremely hard, almost impossible in fact with the only real threat being getting kicked out of a game. However, notice that these rules and penalties are all directed at people who are live at the game and live blogging. Simple work-around? Liveblog from home. Peter Sanders, a reporter for the WSJ did that very thing…

Blatantly defying the network and league’s rules is no small thing. By the way, I congratulate you Peter. Stick it to the man. Back to the point, Peter retreated to the confines of his living room couch and live blogged the New York Jets vs. Tennessee Titans game via a TV station he was watching. Now can you all see how utterly dumb and pointless this ban is. In order to effectively ban all live blogging by those not present (which in essence is what these leagues and networks want) you would have to cut off all live broadcasting of the game. And we all know that isn’t going to happen. I see either one of two things happening as this story gains media attention with the leagues and networks surely not thrilled.

  1. The leagues and networks are going to realize their stupidity and back down on this live blogging/tweet ban and return to some sense of normalcy.
  2. Because we all know that money and greed make the world go ’round, the most likely outcome is that they will somehow become even more strict, with a small possibility of them ignoring this media breach and continuing on as if nothing happened.

Whichever course they take, the fact that we’re even discussing this is another example of how the greedy few are trying to ruin an industry by “protecting” and trying to force old ways on us. It’s time to adapt and change. How about instead of banning these new ways of “watching” a game, why not find a way to at least monetize some forms. Heck, have a special Twitter feed with exclusive updates or locker room chat, etc. that costs a small fee to follow? Such small things like that won’t replace the multi-million network deals, though they will still reach their ultimate goals — that is, to make more money.

Peter may have been the first to get media attention for his clever ploy, but I can guarantee you he certainly won’t be the last. I’m sure you’ll be able to find Peter, live blogging some game again this coming week. I suggest you go to the respective page that he’s live blogging on and show him some support. Of course, the fact that the WSJ has a paywall up meaning many won’t be able to get to his page is another entirely different subject. I guess we have to liberate the internets one small step at a time…


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