No fear, broadband is here

Chris Zelkovich had a column in today's Toronto Star about how proposed deregulation of Canadian TV — for instance, letting ESPN come in — would affect sports programming.

There's always been a fear if that happened, it would mean bye-bye to the CIS getting TV exposure. However, the feeling here has long been is that Internet — for both live action and the written word — is where university sports coverage is heading, especially when it's as nichey as it is in Canada. The AP did a feature earlier this week about how streaming audio and video is coming of age since it's reaching the point where it's become relatively cheap to produce and enough people have it on their computers to make it worth producing. That's especially good for university sports, whose audiences, while small, are loyal and usually more open to new technologies, and willing to pay to have that connection with that school.

For instance, the University of Iowa, a Big 10 school, has a $55.1-million US, 10-year deal that gives a communications firm "rights to all revenue-generating opportunities on the Hawkeyes' website." Of course, the numbers wouldn be a fraction of that in Canada, but that should be a good idea of what having a one-stop, multimedia web portal is going to be worth to American schools. If a company's willing to pay the U of Iowa $5 million a year, some CIS schools could probably take in well into the low- to mid-six figures.

There are some rumblings of what's to come. The University of Ottawa had streaming video for almost all of its marquee teams last season. Simon Fraser SID Scott McLean now posts highlight reels from Clan games on YouTube, and those are just a couple off-the-top-of-my-head examples.

Anyway, this is just spitballin', but hopefully you can see that rather than be worried about the CIS disappearing off broadcast TV, we should realize the growth potential to find a smaller but better audience.

Canadian TV could face American invasion (Chris Zelkovich, Toronto Star)
Cashing in on the web: Schools find new revenue source online (Luke Meredith, Associated Press, Sept. 10)
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1 comment:

  1. Good point on SFU, Neate. And, from the look of it, quite a few schools are following their lead.