Baseball, that sport that cannot figure out how to ensure that there is an All-Star Game winner nor where to place its Expos--and we all know how painful that can be--, is banking on leading edge technology to sell itself over the Web according to the New York Times. It's like your grandfather getting a DVD player.
"With 16 or 18 million homes on broadband, and nearly everyone at work, that is a big enough sandbox for us to play in," said Bob Bowman, the chief executive of Major League Baseball Advanced Media.
Sandlot, not sandbox, Bob. Anyway, Bobby continues:
"There are hundreds of thousands of displaced baseball fans around the world," Mr. Bowman said. "I'm sure they will pay $6 or $10 a month to watch their teams."
Not everyone agrees with the Bob-meister:
AOL Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting division initially Webcast some programs of its CNNfn financial network when it was starting up and was not on many cable systems. But it quickly dropped that practice.
"Shame on us if all we do is use the new medium to cannibalize our core business," said Andrew T. Heller, Turner's president for domestic distribution. Since Webcast viewers are not measured by rating services, advertisers give the network no credit for ads seen online.
Instead, CNN creates a three-minute newscast for subscribers to SuperPass and its $4.95-a-month Webcasting service. Subscribers can also make their own longer newscast by picking from several dozen news segments each day. (AOL has agreed to buy access to some CNN video content for its subscribers, but details have not been worked out yet.)
As always, the challenge will not be to overcome technical issues, but to find a market and then have MLB destroy it. Why did baseball go all draconian on fan sites 6-8 months ago if it intended to woo the tech-head market? Again, one of MLB's hands doesn't know what the other is doing or who they are ticking off.