Verhasselt: Superbowl streaming, a milestone for events worldwide

Heath Verhasselt

For at least the last few years,

cable companies and online streaming services have been competing

over customers who are tired of paying for the high cost of cable

TV and are trying to ‘cut the cord’ with as little sacrifice as


This has left not only cable and

satellite operators scared shitless, but TV networks, who make

their money from advertising, have seen a decrease in


TV networks have the advantage that

they have all the newest episodes of all your favorite shows live

before Hulu or Netflix can stream them. Sporting events, for

example, are one of those last niche markets that the networks have

clung to since you can’t stream a sports game after it has

happened. They’re live events that are also time sensitive. Their

redistribution is typically unheard of, with most games only ever

shown again in sports highlights. This model, however, is


The Super Bowl last Sunday is a

prime example of how sports and other events are being distributed

to viewers on a multi-platform model. During the Super Bowl last

Sunday, most people watched from their TVs, but a few streamed the

game live from the website Not only was it a live

stream, but it was “better” with DVR-style pause and play, instant

replay, and the ability to watch from multiple camera angles. It

was sports-spectating bliss.

Now of course there were a few

hiccups that need mentioning, including the extremely limited

availability on mobile devices since Verizon phones were the only

phones allowed to stream the Super Bowl. The quality also varied

depending on the user’s Internet speed.

The other issue was in the

commercials. The streaming audience did have advertisements, but

they weren’t the same ads that were shown on TV. You’d think seeing

as how a large percentage of people watch the Super Bowl

specifically for the ads, the streaming version would have the same


The final issue, a personal one, is

how I’m still after the ability to mute the “oh so hilarious”

announcers and just listen to the game as it is. The lack of this

feature haunts me through every sports game I watch.

The Super Bowl’s online debut is a

milestone in how close we are to live multi-platform events on a

universal scale. I remember when CBS launched online streaming a

few years back for NCAA March Madness tournament so you could watch

entire basketball games online that weren’t being broadcast. The

NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA and NHL have all stepped up to the plate in

order to take their products to a newer, more interactive market.

With more apps, interactive ads and Twitter feeds to supplement the

streaming event, these franchises have become more engaging than

ever before.

And I think that’s where the future

of live events will be going, everything from the State Of the

Union, to the Olympics, to local events. We want the interactivity;

in fact, we need it. And who cares if there’s a few ads while we

watch a show, the convenience of free streaming live content with

interactive and social components will be the death of cable and

satellite and the monthly payment format they love so