YouTube Streaming Could Change Sports for Good

Jeanne Sager

You Tube LogoYouTube is about to supplant the dog as man's (and woman's) best friend. Video site owner Google is in talks with both the NBA and the NHL to stream games live over the Internet, with other leagues allegedly in line for later negotiations.

People! Do you know what this means? The end of TV blackouts on Center Ice games! No more living in Georgia and wondering if you will ever get to see your Knicks play! Can I get an amen?

I never realized quite how lucky I had it being a New York Yankees fan and growing up in New York. I turned on the radio, and they were there. I turned on the TV, and they were there. No one would dare keep a Bombers fan from her boys in pinstripes. Go ahead with the Evil Empire jokes, but hey, it works for us!

Then I met my Southern husband, moved to Virginia, and was introduced to "regional sports airings" and the world of charging your firstborn in order to buy a TV package to see your favorite team every time they play. NFL, I'm looking at you. You try catching one Buffalo Bills game a year when you live in Virginia. Good luck with that.

By the time we came back home to New York, my husband had spread my sports fanship from the Yankees and Bills on into basketball and hockey. Suddenly, I was introduced to the blackout rules. If one media market has dibs on a game, they have full rights. So you can either pony up for a second service or buy a ticket to the game. See what I mean about fanship getting expensive? I love the Rangers. I just don't love, love the Rangers enough to subscribe to two cable services.

But accessing all teams on YouTube from anywhere could change all that if it's done right. Right now there's no talk of charging viewers for the YouTube games. A Bloomberg report on the negotiations indicates the site will be looking to make money by keeping viewers on the site longer in order to "woo more advertisers."

The question is what the NBA and NHL ... and eventually the other leagues ... will want out of the deal. Will they give up the opportunity to sell us expensive packages like NBA League Pass and NFL Sunday Ticket? And will fans be willing to make the change?

Would you watch your teams on YouTube? What if you had to pay?


Image via YouTube

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