Sports Game Streamers Aren't Pirates, They're Underserved Customers
from the express-written-consent-is-for-schmucks dept
Like the leaders of many pro sports leagues around the world, the people who run English Premier League soccer are worried that the proliferation of sites that stream their games online will hamper their ability to get broadcasters to sign multibillion-dollar TV rights deals. Now the league says it’s planning “an aggressive campaign to protect its intellectual property rights” to protect the TV deals. It’s the usual stuff: more cease and desist letters, balanced with calls for governments to get more involved and for ISPs to become copyright cops. The article in The Guardian says that the league is “terrified of following the path of the music industry, which saw its business model collapse after it failed to combat digital piracy.”
This is typical rhetoric, painting the recording business’ problem to be inadequate technological and legal defenses against piracy. It’s plainly obvious the issue for the music industry is the failure to adapt its business model to changing times — and the same could be said for many sports leagues. While the leagues seek to crack down on streaming sites, their existence merely points out missed opportunities for the leagues and their teams to generate business. People don’t choose to watch these streams instead of attending a game, or in lieu of watching a crystal-clear legit TV feed in a bar or with friends; they watch them because they’re the only option. If piracy is as rampant a problem as groups like the Premier League suggests, it’s not a problem — it’s a captive market upon which the league (and perhaps its broadcast partners) should capitalize.