.TV – Major League Baseball Gets It

April 6, 2009

single-game-jpgThe MLB is the first major sport to truly see the light as far as online video is concerned.  And though most sports are starting to invest time and money into real time streaming games online, Major League Baseball is already at the top of their game.

This article from Fortune.com explains how MLB Advanced Media has been able to capture a huge market for its MLB.TV project to stream almost every single game for the entire season.

“With it, the league is setting new limits on how live television is distributed over the Web. While TV networks are still figuring out the best way to put last night’s sitcom online, MLB is about to stream a season of more than 2,000 live games in hi-definition with more features than any cable box.”

If you listen to (or read) Mark Cuban over at his blog, BlogMaverick.com, you’ve no doubt heard him discuss the many limits of online television.  And it may be true that web based programming will never fully replace cable.  But there are many advantages that the web offers, and companies that can see those advantages and work with them will be in a position to capitalize in a big way.

The MLB is taking advantage of two things that web programming offers.  First, when you use the Web, location does not matter.  MLB.TV can offer games to anyone in any region, so if you can;t watch you’re favorite team because you don’t live in the area, the web is the best way to watch.  The second is portability.  You don’t have to be in front of a TV to watch the games that you want to watch.  This means people can watch games at work, while they travel, or in any room of the house.

How has MLB Advanced Media taken advantage of this growing market?  By making a product that is worth using.  The technology exists to make a state of the art media center for live streaming video, and they simply invested the resources necessary to make one that is as good as it gets.

As the new season kicks off this week, we will see many people turning to the web to view games from all over the world.  Now let’s see if other companies can learn from the example they set, and take advantage of the growing popularity of streaming video online.

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When you Fake Innovation…

February 10, 2009

6a00d83451d69069e200e5517221008833-800wiWhen you fake innovation, you let everyone down.  For whatever it is worth, an enterprise must decide for themselves what they want to be.  And then once that decision is made, build yourself around it.  That means hiring and firing the right people, changing the way you communicate both internally and externally, and executing.  If you are okay being an average organization that does not take big risks and rides on the coattails of success, that’s fine.  Just don’t fake it.

Major League Baseball is faking it. They were looking for mass appeal, so they turned a blind eye to rampant abuse of performance enhancing drugs for a long time.  When they finally decided to deal with it, it wasn’t an internal decision.  Their hand was forced by the media and other external factors.  But even at that point, they had the chance to turn things around.

They tested and “perfected” a new random drug testing policy that was actually quite lenient, much more so than other professional sports.  They revised it many times, made it more strict, publicized it, and executed it.  Their message all along was that they were cleaning up baseball, making it great again.  At least that was their message to us, the fans and media.

Internally, no one got fired for failing to do their jobs.  And an investigation that should have been quick and to the point, is still ongoing.  Then, when most of the dust had settled, and fans of the game finally felt like things were back to normal…A-Rod.  Curt Schilling I think says what I mean best in his blog post.  Why is A-Rod left out to dry?  Who leaked this information?  Why are some names still not released to the public?

This is not a blog about Major League Baseball.  But from this example, it is clear that an organization (your company?) must have a clear vision for what they are trying to do.  And now, more than ever before, you must communicate and execute on that vision in the public eye. You can’t get by with telling one story and doing something else, you’ll get called out on it.  The negative PR from “lying” about your goals, your vision, your ideals and your strategy is too much to handle in a connected world.

You have to be the real thing.  People will acknowledge you for it, respect you for it, and thank you for it (success!!).  What do you think?

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