Webcasts a boon to school sports
We take the concept that advertising pays programming for granted but, in the early days of radio the plan was for the revenue from the physical radio would pay for the programming. The success of the CBS web broadcast of NCAA basketball tournament showed that fans want choice and are willing to watch a less than perfect picture over the Internet in order to see their team. Before N.C.A.A. v. Board of Regents Of University Of Oklahoma (1984), the NCAA controlled the television broadcast of college football games so the only change was to deregulate the market with the associated growth. (Those of you too young to remember please read this article and try to imagine that world of college football.)
Marketing 101 teaches that there are four P’s: product, price, promotion and place. Place is not only the location that the product but the system used to get it there. Not the most glamorous element with the warehousing, distributors, brokers and alike but these are important or even vital to a products success or failure. The Internet revolutionized the availability of a wide variety of specialized products as it offered a low cost method of bring buyer and sell together. For example, Unique Pretzels (the darks or slight burnt variety is strangely addictive) are not available much outside of central Pennsylvania. Yet, with the Internet anyone can view and order these truly unique snacks. The only problem is in a crowded marketplace getting attention is difficult and the Internet for all its benefits does not allow sampling.
The small colleges that are looking to Internet to show their games may face the same issues. Streamed video is a bandwidth hog and the picture is by no means HD ready Downloaded video best suited for very small screens and faces file size issues. The modest subscription could offset some of the cost with communications and sports management majors providing free eager but possibly flawed labor. So a Big Sky game is on the Net on a Saturday afternoon may be playing to a small audience of parents and alumni. But then this isn’t a mass market product rather neat little niche and it isn’t 1984 again.