It’s always fraught with danger making any kind of response public to a specific event.  In this case I refer to Les Muir’s opinion piece within the “Notebook” a local sporting Blog online.  I didn’t quite get a chance to find out what my gut would have said because before I had a chance to read anything I had several concerned friends on the line asking me what my opinion was, and what I was going to do about it.  They filled me in the best they could to pre-frame my reaction which I think they were concerned about more than anything else.  And I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of them forewarning me, even though I soon worked out, it wasn’t quite as necessary as they may have thought.

When I eventually got around to reading Les’ piece I wasn’t angry, upset, insulted or threatened by the article in any way, shape or form.  And this is due to a number of reasons.  The first and foremost being that Les has a point.  Will clubs, codes, groups be able to capitalise on the ability to livestream their sport?

The answer of course is “yes”.  We are in the very early stages of starting up a broadcast option for locals and one of the elements we would like to provide these audiences with, is sport.  Country Rugby League were happy to help us out as guinea pigs last weekend to see first and foremost what may be possible if streaming continued in the future.  We provided one professional commentator in Chris Coleman who donated his time a) because he’s a good bloke and b) he believes in the big picture of local content being made freely available to the public.  It was an honour to have him by my side.  We provided a single camera on the game through a great young bloke, Michael Andrea who also donated his time.  The streaming guys allowed us to stream the broadcast and Clean Slate Media were present to control audio and co-produce the broadcast and production – again at no cost.   Production and streaming ordinarily would be in the thousands of dollars, so we are grateful that everyone was able to assist on this occasion.

Most people are wondering about the viability or sustainability of production and streaming services for local content.  All I can say is, let the negotiations occur at the club and group level.  We are happy to work with all sporting bodies about whatever is most viable and yes, whatever works out to be putting money back into the game/sport providing the entertainment.  My hope is we can work out a break-even point for broadcast and then share any amount above that with the sporting body to distribute however they see fit.

Here is what I think will happen when streaming becomes a viable options for locals;

  • It will reinvigorate an audience that may or may not have a love for the game but want to attend the next game because the broadcast has acted as a 90 minute advertisement for the next match (very rarely would people say that watching on a mobile device or even a telly can beat the real thing)
  • It will turn local players into local role models for young people to look up to
  • It will allow for community partnerships between sporting bodies and media outlets where they can help to promote the games, clubs, players even outside the broadcast in clinics and public forums
  • It will get people talking about the sport in a positive and constructive manner
  • It will encourage players at a junior level to be involved in different codes and sports
  • It will allow cross promotion of other games at different venues and allow mentions of positive things occurring within the code

Let’s try to think of local content for what it is – available to locals if and when they want it and how they want to digest it.  We will do our best to provide this content so there are no costs to audiences and yet money, generated mostly via sponsorship opportunities can flow back into the sporting code and clubs involved.  People should focus on sustainability rather than profitability when it comes to not only business but cross collaborations too.   As far as I’m aware the majority of local clubs have embraced the benefits that will come from local sports broadcast and the naysayers have not been in the rooms during discussions or brainstorming.

There will always be people who pay me out for what I’m attempting to do, and there will be others who pat me on the back and say “good on you for having a go, mate” – either way, one thing I’ve learnt over the years is you can’t control the wind, you can only adjust your own sails.  That’s what I’m going to focus on from all this.

 

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