Yesterday Matt Bartrows put together a post discussing some changes to rules the NFL has placed on the media. One particular point I noticed involved live blogging:
But in the same announcement, the league said there can be no live blogging during games. Apparently this is not a new rule, but it's one that wasn't known or enforced. I blogged live last season and Maiocco's live blogging certainly was popular. ***clarification**** The league is banning live play-by-play blogging. I'm told that reporters will still be permitted to analyze the game via live blogs. That is, comments about the effectiveness of a certain defense, whether to go for it on fourth down, etc. are permissable.
I emailed Matt and he provided the details of what the NFL passed along, which later showed up over at Maiocco's blog:
While a game is in progress, any forms of accounts of the game must be sufficiently time-delayed and limited in amount (e.g., score updates with detail given only in quarterly game updates, fewer than 10 photographs during the game) so that the Accredited Organization's game coverage cannot be used as a substitute for, or otherwise approximate, authorized play-by-play accounts.
From what I've read it sounds like this is dealing strictly with folks in the press box. Some of you may recall an incident last year involving live blogging. Brian Bennett of the Louisville Courier Journal was stripped of his media credential because he was providing "live updates" from Louisville-Oklahoma State super regional. The NCAA prohibits live Internet updates from it's championship events.
As long as I'm sitting in my parents' basement in my underwear live blogging from a game I would imagine this does not apply to me. And of course, when I have an open thread for a game I just join in on the comments, with a recap to follow the game. However, some of our other sites do live blog, particularly Mile High Report. I bring this issue up because of the craziness of it all. I realize the NFL does not want to lose viewers of it's televised football games. However, wouldn't a live blog be an enhancement? Barrows put it quite well when he said:
Does the league really believe a few pithy observations on someone's blog threaten the television and radio broadcasts? I would argue that it only improves the experience and that blogging in general has been a tremendous boon for the league. The amount of information about a team we are able to supply via blogs only increases a fan's appetite for the sport. Limiting that information makes it seem like the league is cutting its blog to spite its face.
The only reasonable possibility is that the NFL would prefer you follow the live play-by-play at nfl.com, espn.com or one of other affiliated sites. However, as Barrows said, blogs provide an additional amount of in depth information you wouldn't find elsewhere. Last season I noticed that some readers were following the comments in the game threads here because they couldn't watch the game on tv. Is the NFL telling those people to either get the Direct TV package, use nfl.com or be screwed out of following games?
Anyways, I just wanted to open this up and see what people think about this subject. Again, I realize this does not seem to effect someone live-blogging from home, but what's to stop the NFL from eventually cracking down on all live-blogs of games, and not just those from the press box. Thoughts?