Would You Watch NHL Games On Mobile Device

Hey all, I am back from the proverbial dead. Man if you get this bug that is going around, don’t stray to far from the house. Last Tuesday I was almost down for the count, literally.

Anyways, fascinating bit from the Sports Business Journal via the National Sports Journalism Center.:

“The NHL believes it has a game-changer in convincing regional sports networks to embrace in-market streaming of live games — by extending the rights to mobile devices,” John Ourand writes, adding, “NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins said the league is close to an agreement that would have many of its 24 U.S.-based teams launch in-market streaming of live games on both broadband and wireless platforms, marking a potential sea-change in the way fans can view local game telecasts. Fox Sports Net, which holds the rights to 13 teams, is the one closest to agreeing on a deal allowing in-market live streaming to broadband and mobile devices, sources said.”

As you know I am a gadget geek. Ipod’s, blackberry’s, an ipad and a kindle and yes, a Wii, Ps3 and xbox 360- I am a nut. I am not sure however that under current circumstances I would ever take to watching a live hockey game online or on a mobile device. I will admit that I do watch movies and tv shows on ipods, ipad and laptops. Given the unpredictability in broadband I am not sure I would watch a live event on the net (on either a mobile device or computer).

With respect to mobile itself, I thought one of the biggest issues for the “average” American was the inability to follow the puck. Well, given the sizes of TV’s today, I find it hard to believe that one who can’t find the puck on a 50 inch TV isn’t going to be able to find it on their Android or Iphone either. Having said that, I don’t think that anyone who is going to watch a hockey game on a mobile device is the “average” American. I’m betting that anyone who is going to tune in on a mobile device is a die hard fan.

So is it a game changer? I’m not thinking it is today. Where I think it could become one is when Broadband is as fast as say cable TV is. In my house, a game or tv show on a HD feed is about 7-10 seconds delayed as compared to one coming through regular cable. Having said that, there are no issues with image. 99.9% of the time I can watch anything I want without any type of signal issue. The few times I have tried to watch anything of substance LIVE, online I would say the inverse is true.

I tried to watch a little bit of the Tennis match that never ended on my laptop and while I could see most of the match, it wasn’t great, or even good enough to consider watching something I cared about. I have tried watching certain events on a slingbox and have had the same experience. Okay to good certainly not good to great. For me to consider something a ‘game changer’ it has to be great.

Sports and news are the only two things I watch live. I have yet to tape/pvr a sporting event. So the fidelity has to be really good on sports for me to watch. Until broadband/mobile technology is at least equivalent to cable, it’s no more than a novelty. It’s one thing to watch a 2 minute youtube clip or a podcast, but something entirely different to me anyways when it comes to live sporting event.

Nevertheless, I am a huge believer that HD killed the live sporting event and I am serious fan of technology. Furthermore I am a big believer that the NHL is the league that is most wired in of all the professional sports leagues. NHL fans around the world are “online” more than others in my mind. I would love to see NHL fans watching games online or on mobile devices, I just don’t see it as technology stands today.



The above referenced article is here

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