Slingbox: A Tale Of Two Leagues

Dave Zatz —  June 7, 2007

National Hockey Leauge:

“Having the most tech-savvy fans of all major professional sports, who also tend to be early adopters of new technology, makes offering NHL content through Clip+Sling a natural fit,â€? said Keith Ritter, President, NHL Interactive CyberEnterprises. “This partnership expands the visibility of our NHL games online and we are excited and proud to be the first sports league to offer this service to our fans.â€?

Major League Baseball:

“Of course, what they are doing is not legal,” said [MLB Advanced Media’s General Counsel Michael] Mellis. “We and other leagues have formed a group to study the issue and plan our response. A lot depends on ongoing discussions. Plus, there’s no guarantee that Slingbox will be around next year. It’s a start-up.”

As you might imagine, I have some pretty strong opinions on this topic. However, I’m comfortable sitting back and observing how the league representatives above address their respective fanbases. It speaks for itself.

4 responses to Slingbox: A Tale Of Two Leagues

  1. I’ve always thought the NFL had the most to complain about. It clearly has the highest level of appointment viewing, which makes it easy for out-of-market fans to send a slingbox to in-market friends so they can enjoy the game.

    I still don’t think it should be illegal, though.

  2. Congratulations NHL. You just won me back. For shame MLB! I will watch my Milwaukee Brewers on my Slingbox with pride!

  3. The NHL’s entire TV package is less that some MLB team’s local media deals, so it’s and apples to oranges comparison. NHL has more to gain by making it’s product freely available than by protecting it’s content distribution.

    I would expect that the NFL and MLB, who get hefty subscription fees from out-of-market subscribers will fire up the lawyers if Sling becomes enough of an effect on the bottom line. MLBAM charges users subscription fees for Internet streaming, too. So Sling is right in their market space.

    It’s really not up to Sling to keep it’s users from violating the blackout restrictions, so they may have to sue customers!?!? Sling would be smart to play nice, though. I can envision some lucrative deals with the sports leagues if they play their cards right.

  4. Of course I love the NHL, but I also love Sling, so sign up for the beta I have. (sorry, it came out that way, no yoda intended)