Live Sports, Made for NewTeeVee


After spending more than a few minutes sampling CBS’s free live Internet streaming of video from both the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament and the Masters golf tourney, it’s clear that more live sports coverage will be a popular staple of web TV going forward.

With any luck, it won’t all be put behind a pay-per-view window, though the lure of squeezing out some extra bucks from what used to just be unwatched camera shots has to be strong. My point (my plea?) is that there is no better commercial, no better advertisement for a big, live, sporting event than the event itself. Want me to watch the final (heavily sponsored) round of a golf tournament? What better way than to tee up some of the early rounds as a preview, online?

(and why not make some daily highlights stuff embeddable, too, so we don’t have to scrounge unauthorized clips of Tiger whacking a tree from YouTube?)

Some sports and events will lend themselves more to online consumption than others — basketball tournaments and golf seem to work well because there are many different competitors, and (on the broadcast side of things) only one screen to watch. Online gives you the ability to pick and choose, giving the broadcaster a wider range of audience without sinking in additional resources outside of a flexible web site design.

Also, any event that takes place during normal workday hours qualifies, for obvious reasons — I’m guessing few employers would look kindly on a midday TV break on a company couch, but that fewer still would object too strongly to brief glimpes of scores and action in a corner of your monitor. Events like Wimbledon, the Olympics, the Tour de France come to mind here — sports with devoted, potentially large yet scattered audiences who could take advantage of an Internet connection and their ever-present laptop to tune in when the games are on. MLB.TV is already showing signs of how successful this idea can be (it gets $79 a year from Om, among others).

My early betting line says the 2008 Olympics in Beijing could and should be the biggest-ever Internet-viewed sporting event (for American audiences), simply because most of the action will take place at hours not synchronized to prime time.

And while big broadcasters with professional crews already in place may dominate the Internet sports scene in the early going, there’s no reason that low-budget or no-budget events can’t find their way to online broadcasts soon, if some of the promises of personal P2P streaming technology come to pass. As Jackson has noted, some devotees are jumping through serious technical hoops to watch some probably less-than-legal P2P streams of live events. High time for the events themselves to make it easy, legit, and live.


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Guys, if you are hockey fans check out the NHL’s streaming efforts for the playoffs. Both Comcst and Yahoo are streaming playoff games, nice addition to the “normal” TV coverage on Versus. Last night I was able to watch the San Jose-Nashvill OT game on and Minnesota-Anaheim on yahoo while Versus was showing a differnet game.

The Comcast stream in particluar was unbelievably stellar, best streaming video I’ve ever experienced. This was done on my laptop receiving my Verizon dsl signal wirelessly.

Best part is these are free, you don’t have to be a comcast customer or anything.

Paul Kapustka

Tim and Adrian, are there any sports or broadcasters you see as being aggressive with Internet options like CBS here in the U.S.?


I see the internet as a great possible new revenue stream for Pay Per View (or even better Pay Per Tournament) live sports events. For example, over here in the UK the Cricket World Cup is only available to watch with a Sky Sports subscription. That is fine, but for those of us without the possibility of getting cable and not having enough time to watch TV to make a Sky Sports subscription useful as I don’t want the rest of sky and being a student a 12 month contract isn’t possible (or there would be 3 months wasted).

I would, however, happily pay £10 (half a month’s Sky Sports subscription cost) to have the ability to watch the whole of the World Cup over the internet or even for just the England games.

At the moment there is no such option and so the ‘unofficial’ options are getting used by people instead. And to be honest are not difficult to set up at all – they just involve downloading a player and visiting a url…

Adrian Keys

“My early betting line says the 2008 Olympics in Beijing could and should be the biggest-ever Internet-viewed sporting event (for American audiences), simply because most of the action will take place at hours not synchronized to prime time”.

Yes…even though cricket is a different animal…it’s really disappointing to see that the organisers (and other powers ) could not do more to make the 2007 Cricket World Cup available on the Net.

I guess if you are that interested then there is always CricInfo’s 3D version.

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