I admit it, I’m rather technologically limited. While I might have most of the top gadgets in the world, a top-end Blu-Ray player, HDTV, and more, what I don’t have is cable TV, Dish Network or any other way to get “TV” programming. Which is rarely an issue for me other than when something like Euro 2008 Championship, one of the very best soccer competitions in the world (while we wait for FIFA World Cup 2010 to roll around).
Since we are in the Internet age, I decided that I’d dig around and see if I could find a site where I could ideally watch live video coverage of the Euro 2008 games, or, worst case, watch video replays or even highlights of the best action in specific matches.
After digging and digging, I have come to the conclusion that it’s just not there. In fact, not only is there no live Euro 2008 coverage online, there are a lot of companies taking advantage of the curiosity of football fans to sell things in what might not be an entirely ethical manner.
I mean, it’s no surprise to search Google for something like Watch European Soccer Championship, click on an advert, and end up at a “landing page” selling some doubtless-illegal unauthorized satellite program capture device like this one, but what is surprising is when companies like ESPN (a Disney (NYSE:DIS) company, in case you’re not keeping track) resorts to misdirection as a sales tool.
What do I mean? Check this out…
Sounds like what I want, right? Clicking through from this Google AdWords ad, however, and you end up here:
And now you can see the misdirection. This isn’t free live video of Euro 2008, it’s an offer to have free streaming if you already pay for their channel on your existing broadcast service or have a specific Internet high speed access provider.
Even that wouldn’t be a complete show-stopper if they had a “click here and sign up for our on-line only access pass, only $4.99/month”. I’d click, I’d sign up, I’d pay. But there isn’t an option for that, and so, like doubtless many other football (sorry, soccer) fans worldwide, I am left unable to watch even the highlights on my computer.
And yet… with the Summer Olympics coming in less than two months, I am really surprised how little major sporting events are utilizing Internet video capabilities, if at all.
One simple idea: A virtual video control room, where you could let viewers choose their favorite camera angle or commentator, or – and this has historically been the Achilles heel of the Olympics coverage in the United States – turn off the commentators entirely. Tell me that wouldn’t be a cool thing to try out.
Would I pay for this service? You bet. Wouldn’t you?
And yet, it’s 2008 and I still can’t even pay to watch Euro 2008 matches on my computer.