The future of sports is streaming

So a few weeks ago during the Baseball All-star game I must have been busy. To busy to take in how genius this was. So you may know that I like streaming content. I watch almost all of my TV shows via a computer and a web browser. I love it because I can watch it on my time or at any point. Between Hulu and Netflix I am never short of things to fill my time.

Recently I have noticed a number of sports webcasting. The first one I noticed was March Madness. This was great especially at the beginning with so many games during the day at work.. You could stream any game so I could watch my beloved U of I Illini even though I was in Boston. Ultimately when the games were all in the evening I just watched it live on the TV, but it was still a good first try. The second one I noticed was Wimbledon. I love tennis and it worked very well. I actually watched the Men’s championship live on TV and streaming. The stream was a few seconds behind so I got automatic replays of good points.

While I like these options I understand the person who says, “Who cares?” The streams weren’t Hi-Def as far as I could tell and most people don’t have their TV hooked into their computer like I do. I mean even watching tennis is better on a 40 inch vs a 15 inch. So why would I say the future of sports is streaming? It came down to the all-star game. I wish I had realized how genius this stream cast was. I don’t have pictures, but this blog does a good job with screen shots.

Here is the key, TV is a broadcast only medium. It works great with professionals behind the scenes making sure you always get the best shot and always get the action, but that means you only get to see what they want you to see. Streaming can be interactive and the All-star game stream showed off just how good it can be. The first option is just to pick one camera angle to watch the game with. This could be anything from behind the plate, from the outfield, or just the outfield. You could also select 2 cameras to watch at the same time or 4 cameras to watch at the same time. All I can say is, “Wow, you just blew my mind.” It takes you from being a limited watcher to an interactive controller. You get to watch what you want to watch. It is the closest thing to literally being there, and perhaps better since you can watch multiple places at the same time. Suppose there is someone at first base and you want to watch him to see if he steals second. Now you can.

It is hard not see this as the next big step for consuming sports. At Wimbledon imagine being able to fix a camera on Federer and on Nadal. You get to see their form in its finest glory. In Football imagine watching the fixed camera on the QB while watching another cameras of up field. Now you can literally watch as the passing lanes open up or dissolve in a sack.

There are still some advantages to the traditional one-way broadcast medium. At first I was overwhelmed with my options during the All-star game. I also didn’t know what camera angle was best. Since you pick it and leave it it was possible to miss some action. But I think this is a minor issue to resolve. I kept changing cameras till I found the perfect balance.

Ultimately I see this as the future, I sure hope so at least. I would be willing to pay for this option if needed. $10 for all of Wimbledon, yea I’d do that. The price would have to be low, but it could be there. Of course offering it for free just makes it all the more compelling and likely more used. You can make a lot from advertising especially since the breaks are hard set due to the live TV streaming. Eventually people will figure out how to make all this work.

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