Feds cracking down on illegally streamed sporting eventsFebruary 12, 2012 —
Maybe it took a Brady to convince the United States to seize 16 websites before Super Bowl XLVI, but it often takes a celebrity to open up Pandora’s box of the digital age.
Streaming sites. The nice euphemism for what the government calls piracy sites. They allow sports fans to watch out-of-market games and even some pay-per-view telecasts for free right from their computer.
“Last year, I was rehabbing my foot in Costa Rica watching the game on an illegal Super Bowl website and now I’m actually playing in the game, so it’s pretty cool,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told reporters before Super Bowl XLVI last month.
Oops. Is it time for more protective copyright laws? Atdhe.net, atdhe.me soccertvlive.net, sports95.com, hq-streams.tv (if you are a sports fan, you know what these sites are!); all administrators of these sites have to do is change the URL and people will continue to stream games online.
While this is a pressing issue, the main problem is the NFL’s blackout policy. The blackout policy “blacks out” a local team’s market if that team does not sell out its home game. If this is supposed to motivate people to show up to games, it isn’t working in Cincinnati, Tampa Bay Cleveland or other small markets.
You eliminate these black out games, and people will be less inclined to look for the game online, since it is not playing locally in their market.
The same policies do not apply to the MLB, NHL, or NBA, but who wants to pay 100 dollars a season to watch your favorite out-of-market team? Apparently not even Tom Brady.
If pretty boys like Brady can stream games online illegally, then I guess any average Joe can practice piracy.
Do these sites really deprive sports leagues and networks of a substantial amount of revenue? Considering its still a multi-billion dollar industry, not likely.
I am not condoning anyone to watch games illegally from streaming sites. But if Tom Brady does it, either he really feels that entitled because he is an employee of the NFL, or is just an average Joe like the rest of us.
Maybe its time for the networks and NFL to bite their tongues and let some of it slide. It took music artists and executives years to swallow, but they eventually gave in.
Moral of the story: if people are desperate enough to watch a game that isn’t on TV, they will find a way. Ask Tom Brady.