Curt Gowdy Come Back
Well then, boy, do I have a Website for you. It's called World Championship Sports Network, and it offers live streaming Web video and cached files of past competition from the Olympic sports of track ("athletics" in the non-U.S. world), World Cup soccer ("football" to the rest of the world), gymnastics, swimming, and downhill skiing/snowboarding -- not to mention fencing, beach volleyball, rowing, and a host of other sports way too minor to make even the late-night editions of "SportsCenter."
All this for 5 bucks a month, or $50 a year.
WCSN is this week's example of how Internet content providers are serving a huge array of narrower and narrower niches (synchronized swimming, anyone?) and doing it in ways that beat the traditional broadcast model by seeking out and serving consumers who have specialized interests and the wherewithal to pay for indulging them.
Remember the old "Wide World of Sports," on ABC? Remember Curt Gowdy's voice intoning "Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports -- the human drama of athletic competition -- the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat" (the last phrase read over that gruesome footage of the ski jumper crashing spectacularly)? Well, that's kind of what WCSN offers, except 24/7, not just for an hour-and-a-half after pro football on Sunday afternoons.
The next step, of course, will be to offer WCSN on mobile devices. Can you imagine watching the classic 1986 World Cup quarter-final match between Argentina and England (featuring Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" goal) on your wireless handset, on your way to the 2010 World Cup final in Johannesburg? Or, for that matter, watching the 2010 final while soaking in a hot tub in, say, Reykjavik? It'll all be possible soon.
— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung