Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sports Viewing Options of the (Near) Future

Dr. Z recently had his yearly column ranking the football announcers. While I agree that the dream team would include Ron Jaworski and Dick Vermeil doing color (and I said so at the time they did that one game back in September) - I think that the over-riding point of Dr. Z's column is the fact that most football announcers suck and fans have no recourse but to hit the mute button on clowns like Joe Theisman.

His column also gives me another chance to remark on what I see as the future of sports broadcasting.

When I was a kid the Celtics were the big thing but many people turned the sound off on their TV to get the commentary from Johnny Most on the radio. Sure there was a bit of latency on the radio description vs what you saw on the TV but it was worth it to hear Johnny call the Lakers thugs or berate the collective manhood of the Pistons.

With the advent of podcasting - I see something similar happening real soon. People will combine watching the video they get from their TV with their own running commentary and I bet more than a few people will prefer the podcast commentary to what the announcers are saying. People will mute their TV sets and turn up the volume to their computers.

If you are in DC - think of the Sports Junkies. They were just a couple of guys talking sports like they were in a bar but people liked to listen to them and suddenly they had their own radio show. Imagine listening to the Sports Junkies do Monday Night Football instead of Joe Theisman and Tony Kornheiser. Imagine the fun the Junkies could have laying into those lame guests MNF always tries to insert into the game like Matthew McConaughey or Toby Keith or Arnold Swarzenegger (and his proposal to bring two NFL teams to LA). Imagine Fitzy in Southie doing Celtics games and calling it like he sees it with no worries about the FCC. I'm telling you this could be big.

People doing podcasts could have sponsors or do it live from a bar or something like that. I don't think they would be breaking any laws in doing so either. The ad always says its illegal to re-broadcast the transmission without the expressed written consent of blah blah blah but you wouldn't be re-broadcasting. You would be putting out original content of you commenting on an over the air broadcast. Teams sell radio broadcast rights but you wouldn't be broadcasting over the radio airways. I don't see the legal roadblock.

I really do see this as the future.

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