Magazine article Information Today

Just Don't Twitter about the Ol' Ball Game

Magazine article Information Today

Just Don't Twitter about the Ol' Ball Game

Article excerpt

Being the designated tweeter (and we don't care if you think that's a word or not) at work, your Field Correspondent is riding the cutting edge of technology again, while trying not to slice whatever body part it is that you use when riding the cutting edge.

As a result, we're clued in to some of the sillier aspects of the online sports world. That includes this recent revelation from the blog that reports on an edict from the venerable Southeastern Conference (SEC):

"Earlier this month, the conference informed its schools of the new policy, which reads: Ticketed fans can't produce or disseminate (or aid in producing or disseminating) any material or information about the Event, including, but not limited to, any account, description, picture, video, audio, reproduction or other information concerning the Event.'

"Translated, that means no Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, TwitPic, or any other service that could in any way compete with authorized media coverage of the event. In the case ofthe SEC, authorized media coverage rights belong to CBS, which has a $3 billion deal with the conference over the next 15 years, according to the St Petersburg Times."

A Counterproductive Ruling

Blogger Adam Ostrow thought the rule, besides being all but unenforceable (unless you hire about 3,000 ushers to frisk kids at the gate for their iPhones), also would be "counter-productive." Your Field Correspondent would not have been as kind or diplomatic.

Being old (and, at times, grouchy), your Field Correspondent knows about another period in history when the Powers That JBe tried to control a new medium, and it was just as foolish and wrong-headed as this one. (No, it wasn't the gramophone; we're not that old.) It was in the early days of television, when owners of many bigleague baseball teams - the only national professional sport at the time - fought against the broadcast of games. They thought people would stay home to watch TV instead of coming to the ol' ballpark to sweat through a Sunday doubleheader and drink gallons of Ballantine beer.

Making BIg Bucks

Of course, they finally figured out that showing games on TV actually made people want to go to games. (Have you ever seen one of those old broadcasts? It was kind of like watching the game through a porthole in a ship sailing past the ballpark. There are some examples at www. tv; click on Sports Classics.) The fact that baseball's bigwigs also discovered they could make a bunch of money with TV ads and network contracts probably didn't hurt either. …

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