More on Liveblogging, ESPN and the NCAA

Posted by: adamw

Brad Schlossman, the beat writer for the Grand Forks Herald, has an excellent post/rant on the NCAA liveblog policy.

Like I said yesterday, the NCAA will eventually lose this one, or back down. It’s completely absurd epecially when you consider that ESPN is monopolizing the NCAA games. We’ve gone back 10 years with this tournament as a result. ESPN has the TV rights to all NCAA events. It bought them as a package. But in the last few years, they didn’t have a natural home for regionals, so it would offer them up to stations around the country. Now, with ESPN-U in existence, ESPN is hoarding the games there – which would be fine, if anyone could get ESPN-U. Mainly, it’s only people with the DirecTV sports pack. If you have Comcast Cable, forget it.

Funny thing is, I’ve worked for both Comcast and ESPN in the past, and I have absolutely no love for Comcast or cable providers in general. In fact, they are pretty evil. But even if ESPN is “right” in its fight with Comcast, it doesn’t make this situation right. Bottom line is, college hockey fans can’t see the games.  This is where the NCAA needs to jump in, but it hasn’t.  Instead, it invokes live blogging policies that has scared the be-jeezus from anyone wishing to live blog.

Note, by the way, that the NCAA’s marketing people also had the audacity to try to get the college hockey web sites to post their ad on our front page. What was the NCAA offering in return? I asked whether we could put a small ad in their program, or put out flyers at the NCAA events. We were turned down. But the NCAA/ESPN still wanted us to post their ad on our front page. I didn’t do it for a week … then I decided to do it simply because it’s good information for the fans. But I might have to re-think it. I don’t like battling the NCAA – As the little guy, we can’t afford to. And I like all the people there that I deal with. But I don’t get this one.

Again, the NCAA will eventually lose. This reminds me of 1997, when the NCAA tried to say it would not credential online media sources. It was mainly targeted at college basketball web sites, but the policy didn’t discriminate — it was going to ban everyone. I wrote something for the NCAA News saying that it was silly, with the way the Web was growing, to discriminate on the basis of the source of the medium. Whether you are Web or Print, you can still be a solid media organization, or a crappy one. If you are a legit media member, that’s all that should matter.

That policy didn’t last very long, and it’s obvious today that it really doesn’t matter.

Just like when the NBA lost its case against Motorola — when the NBA tried to stop Stats Inc. from sending out live in-game scoring updates via the ticker — the NCAA will eventually lose this.

One Response to “More on Liveblogging, ESPN and the NCAA”

  1. arch24us Says:

    Sorry for being late to the party, but I just now learned how to log in. I don’t know who to thank for this great commentary….AdamW, or Brad Schlossman but in either case, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    This NCAA theory of trying to make watching hockey,( NCAA hockey,btw ) harder than Chinese arithmetic is perplexing to me. What is it about hockey that causes the NCAA heirarchy to go brain dead? Aren’t all of these student athletes participating in a major sport? Don’t they all, by simple math extension, have friends and family all over the country interested in THEIR quest for an NCAA title? The arrogance of the NCAA directors is a slap in the face to those same student athletes. Especially when trying,as a fan, to figure out their maze like TV deals with obscure networks.

    I guess if it’s not football or basketball it’s irrelevent. I’m not great at math but I have a hunch it has something to do with the ratio of revenue for the NCAA coffers, and that’s disgusting and insulting to the premise of all student/athletes being equal in the true amatuer sense,except when it comes to the NCAA and it’s predatory, pocket stuffing agenda.

    How could anyone in the NCAA TV rights department not know that the majority of the Midwest and East Coast is monopolized by Comcast? To assign the rights to ESPNU exclusively for regional coverage of last weekends games was a blunder on SOMEONE’S part whose head should roll. Sweetheart deals notwithstanding,they did nothing to fascillitate expanding their fan base….and these are supposedly educated people.

    Probably ’nuff said,but thank you Brad for a right on commentary.