Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WaPo On Sports

Washington Post provides a very informative article about the growing ability -- and willingness -- of sports teams to be their own media. Bit of missing in the full disclosure category here as WaPo has famously battled its local pro franchises over access. Nevertheless, along with poking at Iowa for the way it announced a new coach, the Post brings us the far more interesting legal battle in Wisconsin over streaming of high school football. It is an echo of the battle in the SEC over who owns the copyright of sporting events, and includes many of the same arguments: it's on public property, it's a First Amendment right.

The courts thus far have seen otherwise siding that it is a commerce question, not a public right to know issue. A quote from a Northwestern journalism professor:

Journalists want to think of sports as news, but at the end of the day, it’s about entertainment and making money.

Which is exactly what the federal courts said in Wisconsin about the high schools:

Ultimately this is a case about commerce, not the right to a free press.

I get the sense this is just the start of a battle royal.

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