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The Pro Sport Leagues Struggle To Deal With Meerkat And Periscope

Online video streaming apps like Meerkat, TwitCasting, USstream, and Periscope are gaining increasing popularity in the U.S. These video streaming apps allow users to broadcast live videos online using their smartphones or tablets. Users can broadcast just about anything using these apps such as a simple view outside their homes to live TV shows or concerts.

Not surprisingly, video streaming apps are drawing a lot of criticism, especially from the world of professional sports after some users illegally streamed Saturday’s Mayweather-Pacquiao fight using these apps. Cable operators were charging $100 to viewers to watch the fight on their TV sets. But live video streaming app allowed dozens of people to watch the fight online for free.

This represented the first major collision of online video streaming apps with copyright laws prompting Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour to address the issue on “CBS This Morning Show”. Many people started wondering how would sports league deal with the new technology as the stadiums are filled with people broadcasting their own version of live events from their smartphones.

Pro sports leagues threatened by live streaming apps

In fact, some sports leagues have already started to air their grievances against the video streaming technology. Talking on a panel with other Bay Area sports executives at a VentureScape conference in San Francisco, Jed York, the CEO of San Francisco 49ers, stated that content owners need to figure out how to take advantage of the technology and not let it take advantage of us.

Broadcasting of Billion Dollar Live Events

Networks like NBC, ESPN, TNT acquire distribution rights for billions of dollars. Users who stream videos of live events online are broadcasting valuable content.

As a result, things are started to get a little heated between pro sport leagues and users as they try to prevent unauthorized streaming of live events. Last week, a PGA tour reporter had her credentials snatched, as she tried to stream video of practice rounds ahead of the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship.

With fans, however, things can be a little complicated. Most users have been broadcasting photos and videos of events on their accounts on Instagram, Facebook, Vine, and Twitter. Streaming videos using apps like Meerkat, Periscope and others can’t seem to be much different, as they are not doing anything different than broadcasting live videos of the event.

However, the viewer experience of watching live videos through these streaming apps can’t rival watching an actual sports coverage. Watching a baseball match from a user’s phone cannot satisfy a hard-core baseball fan, as it does not rival with professional coverage of the event.

Nevertheless, live video streaming allows users to watch entire events for free. And this reason alone attracts thousands of people to visit the live streaming sites to watch sport events through the lens of other users’ smartphones or tablets.

Final Word…for Now!

Although, we cannot say for sure how the pro sports leagues will handle the live broadcasting of their events in future, but one thing is for sure that even if they go after people legally, it would not stop users from broadcasting live events as they view it as one of their “self evident” rights. Anyway, a lot of the pro leagues have made their position clear. It’s a matter of strategic decision, some will allow it, some won’t.

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