Monday, March 3, 2008

MLB Strikes Out Online Coverage

MLB baseball is now following in NFL's heavy handed footsteps by limiting the amount of coverage online news outlets can give to their sport. Why would baseball want to limit all the free advertising that news outlets give their sport? Money of course. Online news outlets will now only be able to have no more than seven photos from any games and cannot create a photo gallery from those images (so long Yahoo Sports and galleries) . Also, no more than two minutes of audio/visual footage can be posted about a game and the only site that can post highlights are those who have a deal with MLB Advanced Media (so long YouTube clips). This more than likely means to get all the coverage of the sport that fans are used to, they will have to go to

Heavyhanded? Yup. In one way, this deal is better than the NFL's policy with respect to the amount of a/v footage, MLB is somewhat charitable giving 2 minutes compared to the NFL's 45 seconds, but still it is pretty bad. What really hurts is the "no more slideshows of games" and just 7 photos. That is a bad bad idea and even the NFL doesn't have that policy.

Baseball is a beautiful game to watch in photographs and so many plays come to life when captured in a still frame, the public will lose out when it cannot see all the pictures of a game. Not that anyone but us bloggers scour the photo galleries for timeless photos that people might have missed, but where does this leave individual's photo galleries? The rules, for now, seem to be just for news outlets, but how long will it be before the pseudo news outlets like us blogs or social sites like Flickr are targeted?

It will be interesting to see how this affects the big boys' coverage of the sport. Perhaps they will be less forthcoming to give MLB as much coverage as they used to. Baseball isn't the NFL, it needs all the good free publicity it can get and by biting the hand that feeds, they might not get fed as much as they used to.

From Ars Technica

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