I can only imagine that MLB’s lawyers got a wet spot from their excitement over all the inventive ways they can scare the bejesus out of fans who are caught using social media at games. From the Wall Street Journal:
Baseball fans hoping to use Meerkat or Periscope to stream live video from Opening Day games today might strike out. Major League Baseball will watch for egregious self-streaming activity, said Bob Bowman, president of business and media for the league.
“Fans know the rules,” Mr. Bowman said. “We’ll be watching to see how it’s used and when.”
MLB has talked with the league’s 30 teams to remind them of the policy for fans and credentialed media, he said. Teams are on alert. In Los Angeles, Ralph Esquibel, vice president of IT for the Dodgers, said he expects increased adoption of streaming apps and a consequent increase in bandwidth consumption.
Bill Schlough, CIO for the San Francisco Giants, said he’ll be monitoring his network for streaming with Meerkat and Periscope apps, both for bandwidth issues and potential content infringement. He hasn’t researched exactly how to curtail the activity but said it likely can be identified and selectively shut down, “just like filtering porn.”
Nothing rings more tone-deaf than an old guy wagging his finger at fans, the vast majority of whom undoubtedly don’t know that they can’t use the latest social media app at a game. Instead of, say, embracing the damn thing – and encouraging fans to share exciting moments from the ballpark (Phillies fans need not apply) – MLB, and it sounds like the NFL and NBA, are going to put a stop to it real fast. This puzzles me. It’s not like using Periscope or Meerkat – but let’s face it, probably Periscope – within reason (no tripods and mobile hotspots) would have even the slightest impact on the game’s regular broadcast. No person with an iPhone is going to be able to replicate an HD broadcast (now or in five years), and all live streaming does is encourage fans to #buzz about the on-field product. For example, why not live stream Phils fans throwing back home run balls in left?
Meanwhile, remember yesterday when I said the Phillies social media person was dumb for not periscoping the Phils’ march into CBP? Well, there’s a reason the Yankees social media person works for the Yankees. From Business Insider:
At the same time, teams themselves are quickly trying to harness those apps’ power. The New York Yankees used Twitter’s (NYSE: TWTR) Periscope to live-stream player introductions at Opening Day, and Geekwire pulled up examples of a media organization and an individual using Periscope to broadcast clips. Perhaps notably, in those examples, ESPN showed workout footage, not game footage, which would likely draw the ire of sports leagues that draw huge chunks of revenue from selling television rights.
Just when the Phillies’ social media person finally thought they got a got grasp on Twitter, the whole world goes and changes. Hot damn!
UPDATE: Bowman went on CNBC and said the WSJ got it wrong:
Well then. Wonder if criticism led to an, um, adjustment in thinking?