Back in the late 20th century, just about everybody was wrong about the future of people watching live sports on the Internet.
Partly because so few people had broadband it seemed unlikely anybody would even want to watch live sports online.
Mostly, it was the Web, where anything that went online went to the world. That represented anarchy.
Broadcasters spend billions buying international, national or local TV rights for live sports based on the guarantee their audiences won’t get those events from anybody else.
The Olympics were the ultimate example. U.S. networks pay big bucks to be able to hold back top action until airing it in prime time, no matter when it happened in real time. Meaning, you can’t exactly have, say, Finnish TV beam those events around the globe online; therefore Olympic action could never go online.
So for the Beijing Summer Olympics on NBC, expect 700-1,000 hours of live online action — the first live Olympic action ever available in the USA.
But what kind of action? “The vast majority will be stuff that’s never been seen (on TV) before,” says NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol. “Every single sport will be available, the vast majority in their totality.”