Any Chance of MLS/SUM selling games through iTunes?

Discussion in 'Business and Media' started by dmolsen, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. dmolsen

    dmolsen New Member

    Oct 20, 2005
    Mo'town, WV
    In October 2005 Apple Computers started selling TV shows, short videos and music videos through their iTunes Music Store at $1.99 a purchase. To date they've sold well over 3 million videos. The networks currently offering video content are ABC, NBC, Disney Channel, Sci Fi, and USA. NBC has now hinted that they are going to offer even more content through the iTunes music store.

    I think it'd be great if MLS could attempt to line-up to become one of
    the first sports properties (through SUM) to be a part of the iTMS. I have to believe also that the exposure of being possibly the first sports property to be served via the medium would make MLS noteworthy. Anyway, at some point, it's going to be more of a negative that MLS doesn't sell video online which outweighs the cost (as long as it's not exorbitant). I don't believe this would necessarily be a cash cow for MLS but at the same time I hope an effort would made to see what the cost/benefit analysis of such a move would be.

    Can MLS/SUM pursue something like this? I'd assume it come down to contracts that they already have signed with ESPN etc. but I'd have to think they control most of the production and the rights to the video. They'd already have the content in some kind of digital format (hence they can offer the streams) and Apple provides the bandwidth and storefront.

    I, for one, would definitely buy a season pass for a copy of every DC United game from last season and subscribe for and buy every game in future seasons.

  2. mbar

    mbar Member+

    Apr 30, 1999
    Los Angeles, CA
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think it's a good idea. Might prompt me towards a video ipod
  3. wjarrettc

    wjarrettc Member
    Staff Member

    Oct 1, 2002
    Cliffs of Insanity
    Carolina Railhawks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think it's a great idea. As long as they don't do away with the free streaming games on yahoo.
  4. The Greatest

    The Greatest New Member

    Jan 19, 2005
    Interesting idea.

    I'm pretty sure is discontinuing their policy of showing ever game for free on the website starting this year, maybe they'll do this (the itunes thing) or the more conventional way of charging a subcription fee to see all the video content or a game-by-game fee if your just want to watch select games.
  5. bear1001

    bear1001 New Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Birmingham, Alabama
    A subscription service would be a decent way of reaching an audience who doesn't have access to MLS DirectKick.
  6. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 New Member

    Jan 27, 2002
    Falls Church, VA
    Why sell through itunes? Doesn't MLS offer games on streaming video from MLSnet for free? I've watched a few.

    Even if they do start to sell, I'd suggest offering the content in more than just the itunes/apple format to capture the widest audience.
  7. dmolsen

    dmolsen New Member

    Oct 20, 2005
    Mo'town, WV
    While MLS does offer the games via a stream I think the quality isn't the best. At least compared to a couple of episodes of Lost I've bought through iTMS. I hope MLS does keep the streams free especially as it's great to be able to watch a game live if you don't have access to DirectKick.

    I think the benefits to selling a game via iTMS is higher quality then MLS seems to want to provide through a stream (for understandable reasons) plus, the big plus I think, the ability to watch a game off-line on say, your laptop on a cross-county flight or as an output from your computer/laptop to a TV screen.

    As for the itunes/apple format... QuickTime, which is the base player for the iTunes, is fairly ubiqitous (or maybe I'm mistaken) and definitely cross-platform. It's not like it's somehow limited to Mac-only. The other big plus for iTMS for selling content is that it's the biggest store currently and seems to catch a lot of the buzz. I can't see the itunes/apple format as a major drawback in selling MLS games through iTMS.

    But, then again, I'm an Apple fanboy :)
  8. monster

    monster Member

    Oct 19, 1999
    Hanover, PA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I would rather see a highlights package then the games.
  9. davidalanreese

    davidalanreese New Member

    May 23, 2004
    I think this would be a great idea for the league but I would suggest not trying to sell it - make it a video blog for free. Highlights and maybe some commentary would be great on the video iPod or the computer. I'm not going to watch a game a day later for 2 dollars - not saying that no one would but I do doubt how many people would buy a day old MLS game. On the other hand, I video highlight blog would get my eyes and maybe increase my interest in watching more MLS games.


  10. The Greatest

    The Greatest New Member

    Jan 19, 2005
    Get used to the idea of paying to watch MLS games on the internet. It's coming- this year.
  11. FoxBoro 143

    FoxBoro 143 Member+

    Jan 18, 2004
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Everyone said that last year too.

    Hopefully comcast doesnt screw me over again and I can order Direct Kick this year.
  12. XxCBCxCadetxX

    XxCBCxCadetxX New Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    São Paulo
    where would you be able to access these videos at ? i have been searching my music store and still haven't found any
  13. dmolsen

    dmolsen New Member

    Oct 20, 2005
    Mo'town, WV
    I guess the "highlights" package would have more traction with a broader audience. Maybe I'm odd in wanting every game for my team, I just have a habit of looking back and watching old games. MLS might feel they already sort of have the "video" blog as long as you're willing to click on a number of links in the "Sights & Sounds" section (which I still think is cool, I just want something a tad more permanent and higher quality).

    One interesting thing with me, at $69 DirectKick gives you, what, 125 games?
    $2 a pop for 32 DC games (assuming every regular season game is on TV and available for download) is $64. A somewhat decent return for MLS (~4x's?) and/or I'm an idiot for paying the premium (or a really big idiot with math). How many DC games did make a broadcast last year that might be used for a download?

    I think the fact that you don't get the game "live" is a killer for the concept though as you note. Paying that much after the fact... yeah, it'd be a stretch for anyone but a relative diehard like me.

    If you open iTunes and click on the Music Store link you'll get the "store front" as it were. On the left should be a dropdown for "Choose Genre". At the bottom of the list is "TV Shows". Select that and you can see the shows that are available for purchase through iTMS.

  14. dmolsen

    dmolsen New Member

    Oct 20, 2005
    Mo'town, WV
    For what its worth ABC partnered with iTMS to provide the highlights of the BCS games. I'm not completely happy with the quality and paying $2 for 15 minutes of just highlights is eh. Cool to own something like this from a big WVU game though.

    Apple iTMS
  15. pc4th

    pc4th New Member

    Jun 14, 2003
    North Poll
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    NBA to be on Google Video (for like $3.95 a game but 24 hours after its conclusion)

    MLS on MLSnet: Free (maybe for this year) and LIVE
    NBA on Google: $3.95 and 24 hours delay
  16. TxFan

    TxFan Member

    Sep 6, 2001
    the nba charging 4 dollars for the previous day's game is ridiculous. hopefully, mls will continue to allowing streaming of their games. i wouldn't mind paying to see the video though. i'm willing to pay a little to see the quality of the feeds improved.

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