NFL Crackdown on YouTube Begins
On the one hand, I understand that any rebroadcast, reproduction or other use of game footage without the expressed written consent of the NFL is strictly prohibited. On the other hand, these YouTube crackdowns annoy me, because it shows once again that all these corporate entities focus so much on the almighty dollar that they fail to understand the value of free publicity. All these clips that show up on YouTube only help fans feel more connected to the game of football, which is the NFL's primary product. Shutting that down doesn't help customer relations one bit. NFL fans who want to enjoy classic clips from their childhood aren't that likely to drop two bones on an iPod-only replay of last week's Falcons-Lions game, no matter how entertaining it might be to see a team built by Matt Millen knock off Ron Mexico.
I want to believe that this is just a prelude for Roger Goodell to strike some sort of online video deal similar to the National Hockey League's deal with Google Video, but the NFL isn't nearly as desperate for eyeballs as the NHL. When the money is flowing, you want to keep that flow going at all costs, even if it means annoying fans in the process. The football business is different enough from the music business that it won't make enough of a dent to matter. Few of those fans will turn away just because they can't watch Joey Porter scream, "They shot me in Denver!", for the 500th time.