Once again, the NFL, who never fails to earn it's moniker as the No Fun League, stepped across the line this year (while asking cheerleaders not to), as they introduced new policies to control the media.
In essence, the new rule that is referenced limits media outlets other than sites directly owned by NFL franchises to just 45 seconds of total video coverage from inside any NFL property (stadiums and practice sites) per day. Any such video coverage can only be archived for a total of 24 hours before it must be removed.
Does the rule apply to videotaping the defensive signals as well? Perhaps this rule was foreshadowing the "Belicheat" scandal. Let's look at what it is really protecting.
Regardless of the coverage, the video must direct the viewer to visit NFL.com or the team website for more information.
This is where I throw the yellow hanky. Are we looking at the NFL creating a media monopoly for itself? Not only must we limit our coverage of newsworthy sporting events that promote the NFL product, but we must also help provide greater exposure for the NFL while limiting ours.
Much of this has been a result of the development of the NFL Network on cable, and their ability to control the message, break the news, and become a messenger for the league.
Last year the league severely limited local media reporting from the sidelines. Surprisingly, that has been relaxed for 2007. Let's hope that the NFL has the same reaction to this new rule after a year of trial.
Let the small market teams open their "Community Chest" as more coverage of the team will likely lead to more people in the seats, more traffic on the websites (all of them), and more money in the NFL's pockets. Access is a win-win situation and hopefully the NFL will realize this and the media can get back to assisting the NFL in product sales.
We are not the type of folks who complain about a policy without giving our own solution, so here is our suggestion:
We believe a better move for the NFL would be to take control of the media positions within each team. Why would they not want to control the team communications and be able to make the best decisions as it relates to the league as a whole? This would create a consistent message and regulate the information being distributed across the league. By each team acting independently, you have one team offering better coverage than others based on how their front office interacts with local media sources. Let's offer the best coverage for ALL teams.
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