With the improvement in internet bandwidth, comes the increased opportunity to more content. I for one have searched Google to try to find live streaming of football matches that are not available in the UK. The quality of such services has never been that great, but if a football fan has the option to watch their favourite team for free then they will do.
The BBC reports :
” In most cases, the services are taken down almost as soon as they are put up. At least 80,000 illegal streams have been removed in two years, according to internet monitoring company NetResult. The Department of Business says it’s not a criminal offence to watch them but you could be sued in a civil court “
It’s a contentious area, and one that will undoubtedly increase as internet speeds improve. As computers are connected to the world-wide web, so will TV’s, and with that comes the access of new content . Does a utopian future for sports viewing await us ? Will sports rights be negotiated in the same way that they are now, but with tighter restrictions imposed by the ISP’s ?
There are thousands, if not millions, of sports video highlights on the web that do not get pulled down. Why ? Is it because the source of the content is in a territory that do not have such restrictions. 101 great goals, for example, has a full library of Europe’s top football match highlights on a weekly basis .
Sports are no longer driven and supported by local communities, Sports are now represented on a global scale and with that comes global opportunity. Rather than money flowing out of the sport via ‘illegal’ streaming, why not embrace the technology and radically transform the way sports rights are negotiated and broadcast. More sport to watch , more income ? Undoubtedly more ball ache for everyone concerned, but unless someone takes note of this change in consumer behaviour, the ache will not go away.