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Monday, September 5, 2011

An Online Alternative?


I had the pleasure this weekend of watching a Notre Dame football  broadcast on NBC. While that may sound sarcastic, I genuinely enjoyed it. USF was playing in South Bend and supplied the whoopin' for which the Irish genrtously provided the ass.

If you've never watched a Notre Dame game broadcast, it's a bit of a sight to behold in terms of propaganda. Notre Dame has an exclusive contract with NBC for their home games, the product of which is essentially a 3+ hour commercial for the school. This sort of unparalleled coverage is only starting to meet its match, with the likes of the Longhorn Network, BYU's own network, and to a lesser extent, conference-specific networks like the Big Ten Network.

Here's where the Notre Dame broadcast got particularly interesting to me. Before they broke for the half, the announcement was made: If you would like to see the Band of the Fighting Irish's halftime performance, you can view it live on NBCsports.com. Yes, Notre Dame's propaganda machine is so thorough that even the band gets airtime. Naturally, I halted all halftime plans and went looking for the broadcast, but unfortunately, the weather that ultimately led to a 2 hour halftime kept them from performing. Still, the effort was noted and appreciated.

Digital media for sports broadcasting is still in its relative infancy; in most cases, online features consist either of a simulcast of televised content or games that won't fit on the regular networks. I was intrigued to see this sort of "added value" piece as an option to expand Notre Dame's already immense offerings, and I think it makes absolute sense for other schools/conferences with their own networks to follow suit. Missouri, for example, has a network on the way (as does K-State, which to some degree sounds like a vote of no confidence in the Big XII, but that's another story) and it has been spoken of not as a revenue stream but as a promotional tool for the university as a whole. So I'm not saying that this needs to be done out of any sort of magnanimity to us starved band nerds out here. It truly makes good sense.
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