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Archive for July 24, 2019

July 24, 2019 — A befuddling breakdown, at the wrong time. Again.

For the last several cycles, streaming of the Pan American Games field hockey competition has been an exercise in utter futility. Arcane rules about who holds broadcast rights has frustrated people who truly support the sport.

This is especially true in this era of televised sport, where streaming video is the king of all vehicles. I was listening to a sports business show (emanating from, where else? New York) and the discussion was about the booming business of streaming television.

A lot of the early players were, of course, existing cable entities such as ESPN and Comcast/NBC looking to extend their range. But something interesting happened. When ESPN+ decided to put a paywall in front of a number of major sports properties, the public balked.

That is, until the price was reduced to $5.95 a month. That has put the number of ESPN+ subscribers over 2 million, with a possible 500 percent growth by 2024, according to some projections.

It just so happens that ESPN is the broadcast rights holder to one of the largest all-sports competitions outside of the Olympic Games, and yet seemingly hides the broadcasts under a bowl. The Pan American Games are going to be mostly on ESPN Deportes and on ESPNU, two channels which most people cannot access except through ESPN’s mobile app.

As for the specific field hockey question, the Pan American Hockey Federation has seemingly not done its job when it comes to being able to bring coverage of its most important continental competition to one of the largest field hockey markets in the hemisphere.

It’s befuddling, it’s frustrating, and it’s so wrong.