A report appeared in the Associated Press stating the NFL would stream the upcoming Super Bowl XLVI on both the NFL's website and NBC's. It's the first time the NFL has taken such a bold move, but considering the success of CBS' March Madness On Demand, streaming the Super Bowl is something of a no-brainer decision.
The next Super Bowl takes place in Indianapolis on February 5, 2012, and the commitment to streaming marks the first time "the big game" will be offered online in a legal manner. No more fighting with Justin.tv, hoping the stream you found stays alive for the duration. While the details of AP's report are sparse -- will the same commercials be shown on the stream as they are on the live televised broadcast, or does the steaming opening an entirely new market for advertisers? -- it does reveal the streams will be available on personal computer and hand-held mobile devices.
While the AP singles out Verizon-carrier phones, Reuters uses the more general "tablets and even on their mobile phones," giving the appearance that any Internet-connected smartphone should be able to access the stream. While the idea being promoted is one of convenience:
"Whether it's just for a quarter if somebody has to run out to the store to get something they forgot, now they can stay connected to the game," Hans Schroeder, the NFL's senior vice president of media strategy and development, told The Associated Press. "With such a big television audience, it will be interesting to see the expanded reach."
Embracing streaming content is just another step of the NFL's embrace of digital media as a whole. In year's past, the NFL was as stingy with YouTube highlights as Major League Baseball and the NHL currently are. Now, however, you can normally find lots of highlight videos from various NFL games.
Take, for instance, Donald Brown's beast-mode run against the Tennessee Titans:
If that were the MLB's property, the video would already be removed. As you can see, however, the NFL is much more tolerable of user-generated highlights than they were in the past, making the move to Super Bowl streaming a natural progression. Does this mean the other professional sports will follow the NFL's lead?