Saturday, August 4, 2007

Talk About Counterproductive (NFL Edition)

The Boston Globe reports (free registration required) :

In a high-stakes struggle for control of NFL news in cyberspace, the league has prohibited news organizations from airing more than a total of 45 seconds per day of online audio or video of team personnel from its stadiums. The action could foreshadow other major sports leagues imposing similar restrictions.

The NFL wants to prevent news organizations from diminishing the potential value of its online properties: and all 32 team websites.

This is a very short-sighted decision. The NFL is making a mistake by treating independent media outlets like the Boston Globe as competitors. One of the reasons that football is so popular is the media coverage, which builds excitement for the games themselves. Shouldn't the NFL want video clips of its product distributed as widely as possible? When I see a video of Lawrence Maroney blowing by tacklers, it fires me up for the next Patriots game. Then there's this:

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the 45-second rule reflects the league's attempt to balance the needs of news outlets with the league's need to protect its media assets. The policy also requires news sites to remove NFL audio and video from their websites after 24 hours of usage.

In addition, news websites that use audio or video from NFL facilities must provide links to and that team's Web page. News sites also are barred from running advertisements alongside the NFL content.

The bigwigs in the NFL apparently believe that the media should cover football for free. Somehow, I suspect that this will lead to less coverage. Good work, NFL! I won't be visiting any time soon.

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