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What Weird Super Bowl Streaming Says About Online Ed
February 5, 2012 - 10:05pm

I was finally able watch the Super Bowl at home. We don't have cable, satellite or broadcast TV- and for the most part we don't miss it. Restricting our ability to channel surf has resulted in more reading and better (at least more purposeful) video selections. It has been a good choice for our family.  

But our no TV choice breaks down with sports. Sure, you can buy sports streaming packages - but casual fans who lack a TV signal are basically out-of-luck.  Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime all add up to compelling arguments to cut the cord - but live sports remain locked in a broadcast world.   

That is why I was so excited that the first Super Bowl streaming event would prove to be a turning point. Instead, I'm left wondering why NBC and the NFL could not figure out how to put on a quality online event.   

If higher ed did online learning like NBC does online football then nobody would take online classes.

Why couldn't NBC simply stream the TV Super Bowl signal? Instead, we ended up getting:

  • Endless re-runs of the same 3 or 4 advertisements  (i.e. no streaming of super bowl ads). Do you know how annoying it is to watch the same bad ad over and over again?
  • Instead of Madonna and a half-time show, we somehow got the NBC commentators killing time in the basement of the Indianapolis stadium. Did Madonna's contract not include streaming rights?
  • A "social feature" on streaming site that only including 2 Twitter streams, one of which being Jimmy Fallon who apparently did not get the memo that he was supposed to tweet during the game.

NBC's weird streaming coverage of the Super Bowl tells me a few things.   

First, that NBC knows broadcast, but not the internet. There must be a whole bunch of web savvy folks who work at NBC sports, but they clearly were not given the budget or power to take advantages of the possibilities that a live web event could afford.   

Second, it is clear that NBC and the NFL failed to grasp the potential to make real money with live streaming events. The number of people in this world who can't (or won't) access a broadcast signal has got to be huge. I'm also guessing that a streaming eyeball has to be a valuable eyeball.

Or maybe I'm just bitter because my Patriots lost. But wow, what a game.


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