Pretty great set-up for Tennis fans who can now stream early round matches (later rounds, too) right to their PCs. Especially handy if you're at work. And the whole thing has Business Insider's Henry Blodgett just plain giddy. Giddy enough for him to declare this the future of television! Agree or disagree, there's no denying the guy gives good headline.
Enconsultancy has an interview with Phil Green of the USTA that was interesting:
Why did you decide to livestream all of the matches this year?
We came off a record year last year, in terms of ticket sales and online web traffic. As far as live streaming for 2009, this is the next iteration for us. CBS is still our broadcast partner for regular broadcast, but we have a new television agreement with ESPN2 and USA. As part of our new agreement with ESPN, we are able to offer live streaming in the U.S. Our goal is to bring the U.S. Open to tennis fans in any way that they can access it. Offering this live online is a tremendous asset for the fan and the USTA.
Are you worried about losing out on television advertising by having all of the events online?
In essence, you’re not cannibalizing your TV audience by watching online. As CBS’ March Madness or MLB Baseball have shown, you’re only enhancing the product. At the end of the day, if people have a 50-inch plasma or 19-inch computer, what are they going to watch? As good as our video is going to be, a 50-inch plasma will be better. This enhances what’s on TV, and people are more likely to watch when they do get in front of the TV.