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Innovation

NFL forbids play-by-play tweets during games. Good luck with that

The best NFL matchup this season may not be on the field itself but rather in the press box, where sports journalists are now being told that tweeting details of the game, during the game, is a no-no.It's one thing for the NFL to impose restrictions around social media for players, coaches and even player agents.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive on

The best NFL matchup this season may not be on the field itself but rather in the press box, where sports journalists are now being told that tweeting details of the game, during the game, is a no-no.

It's one thing for the NFL to impose restrictions around social media for players, coaches and even player agents. But the media? Come on, now. Let's be realistic about this. The NFL isn't going to be able to stop the tweeting or Facebook-updating of play-by-play coverage of the games. The NFL issued the following statement, according to a CNET report:

Longstanding policies prohibiting play-by-play descriptions of NFL games in progress apply fully to Twitter and other social media platforms. Internet sites may not post detailed information that approximates play-by-play during a game. While a game is in progress, any forms of accounts of the game must be sufficiently time-delayed and limited in amount (e.g., score updates with detail given only in quarterly game updates) so that the accredited organization's game coverage cannot be used as a substitute for, or otherwise approximate, authorized play-by-play accounts.

Did you catch the key phrase in the statement? "Internet sites may not post detailed information..." The way I read it the NFL wants the burden of policing tweets for football plays to fall on the shoulders of Twitter, the company.

Talk about unrealistic.

For what it's worth, I'm a big football fan and even pay extra every season for the NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV, just so I can watch any game I want (except for locally blacked-out games - but that's post for another type of blog.) But I'm also frustrated with the tight-grip of control that the league maintains over everything NFL.

You see, the NFL wants you to come to the stadiums to watch the games - and there's nothing wrong with that. But to do so, the league controls not only how you get to watch the game but also which games you get to watch. The deals with the TV networks are big business. Only certain radio stations - as well as satellite radio - are authorized to not only broadcast games but also offer live commentary. And now, we know that policies around social media exist, too.

Here's my message to the NFL: The best of them - newspapers, record labels and movie studios, just to name a few - have tried their best to stifle technology in hopes of maintaining control of their cash cow business models. All have largely failed.

Why? Because technology has gone mainstream. It isn't the sports writers that the NFL needs to worry about when it comes to play-by-play tweets. They need to worry about the fans in the stands with Twitter apps on their smartphones. They need to worry about the TV viewers who are sharing details of the games with friends who can't see it (maybe because of the stupid blackout rule.)

That's a lot of people to watch, a lot of tweet-policing to manage and, eventually, a lot of enforcement that they'll need.

Better call the lawyers.

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