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Are Pro Sports the New RIAA?

Lost Remote has a couple of stories that caught my eye recently. It appears that the baseball writers and the NFL are feeling a bit threatened by Web 2.0 and the growth of the participatory web.

The NFL is slowly closing the door on local TV photographers.

Last year, it banned local TV photographers from the sidelines and prohibited game-day video on unofficial websites �?? even sound bites with coaches and players. And now it may ban any midweek practice video or press conferences, as well. “[The issue] is what, if any, amount of the interview footage should be allowed on websites since it is NFL content,�? said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.

In an age where they should be opening up, they are closing or retracting. I understand the protection, but I think this will backfire and the media will fight back. Are they going to patrol You Tube for people posting game footage too?

Then, Curt Schilling, the star pitcher for the Red Sox has started a blog called 38 Pitches. As Steve at Lost remote puts it:

So does the Boston media welcome this refreshingly open exchange with a ballplayer? Nope. In today’s Boston Globe, sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy mocks the blog and the people who comment there.

Shaughnessy obviously feels threatened, but I don't think he needs to be. Like the NFL example, these trends are not going away and there are multiple ways to deal with them. Unfortunately, as the RIAA has taught us, the path of least resistance (from the inside anyway) is to battle the trend, mock it and attempt to litigate it into oblivion. Obviously, this is working out wonderfully for them.

This makes me think of the good 'ole S.W.O.T. analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). A lot of organizations are looking at these changes and putting them comfortably into the "Threat" bucket. And yes, in the short-term, it seems threatening. However, these are really opportunties and those organizations that can make the jump will have a head start on the future.

I can't help but think about the over-used Gandhi quote:
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
Perhaps this is the Web 2.0 learning curve for some.