MLS MatchDay Live showing what amounted to watching a Benny Hill sketch about soccer.
So I’m watching the MLS MatchDay Live free preview weekend, bored to tears by the Chicago Fire taking on a fledgling Vancouver Whitecaps (in NFL terms, like if the Vikings took on Carolina — yeah, that messy) while missing a blacked out Galaxy/Red Bulls game and can’t help to pay attention to Silverlight-based application I’m using. You see, I’m watching the game on my computer, as I’ve done for many a sports broadcast over the past year or so. Along with this I’ve also enjoyed some Premier League and Serie A soccer on ESPN3 and the NFL on NBC’s Sunday Night Football application.
ESPN has been on the front lines for the industry in terms of technology, first pushing high-definition along with The Discovery Channel (and, arguably, selling the nation on its value) and, now, being on of the first cable networks to offer 3D (no matter how completely ridiculous you think it is for entertainment to sink its money into that pit). Naturally, their ESPN3 nee ESPN360 was one of the first serious internet-based sports viewing applications. As other networks pick up on the trend, and internet-enabled televisions pick up some steam in the marketplace (makes more sense than having to put on battery-powered glasses everytime you want to watch TV), I can see how this could be a testing ground for the grand assimilation of internet and old(er) media. It’s like TV is giving internet a drawer, maybe a key, that could lead to moving in together before eventual marriage.
Other TV streaming options like Hulu or Netflix are great for recorded television but live television is a different animal, especially since it’s a goldmine for data. Gauging audience participation during a live (or first-run) event using the power of the internet? Being able to create your own application for your channel to offer audiences extras and options and your advertisers real-time data and interactivity for promotions? Why wouldn’t you want to do this?
Sports, as a genre with ample live value and strong audiences, is a natural fit for testing the waters in a new manipulation of the medium and the applications are getting stronger. But what’s good and bad about them so far?
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