We don’t often get to write this, but it sure is fun to type: Somehow the Big Media and Big Sports gods have conspired to get something exactly right today.
As we type this, we are watching Tiger Woods and his bum knee try to hold off Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff at the U.S. Open. We’re watching it live, on our MacBook, and it looks great. There are no commercials, and it’s legal. It’s available through the USGA’s US Open site, and if we had to gin up complaints, we’d note that 1) we had to download Flash 9 to get it to work and 2) there seems to be about a 30-second gap between the TV broadcast and the the Web.
But like we said, it’s pretty freakin great. And we don’t even like golf that much.
How did this happen? We’re not exactly sure, but Michael Learmonth will have a more detailed report later this afternoon. For now, our best guess is that it’s a perfect storm of progressive thinking about the Web, rights issues, and the simple fact that NBC, which broadcast the tourney on Saturday and Sunday, doesn’t have sponsors lined up for today. Meantime we’re going to enjoy it, and try to get a tiny bit of work done this afternoon. too.
*Ah, there’s the evil sports information rights ogre we know and love. We missed the 18th and 19th holes (we know!), but now we know the results, and the afternoon’s coverage lulled us into thinking that we’d be able to see some video highlights on the Web right now. No such luck: ESPN.com is showing a compilation of today’s first 8 holes, and the USGA site, which we’d formerly heaped praised on, won’t give us any of the day’s highlights. It does say we can watch a live press conference with Tiger and Rocco, but no such thing seems to exist.
Frustrating but oddly comforting: Being able to easily watch a great sporting event on the Web, without hassle, made us feel slightly squirmy. Now we’re back to normal.
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