New media watching Sportel

The largest international market for sport, television and new media celebrated 20 years of success from 12th to 15th October at the Grimaldi Forum last week.

SportelEnd of the day for traditional broadcasting?

Although delegate numbers were lower than last year, the event was nonetheless a success, with about 900 companies attending.

Many discussions this year centred around the sensitive issue of broadcasting on the Internet. Traditionally, big sporting events have always used the medium of television to reach their audience. Media moguls have attempted to stamp out any attempt by fans to watch clips online. But change is inevitable. Just two days before Sportel, football fans could only watch the Ukraine versus England world cup qualifying match on the Internet. The Italian football league announced during Sportel that any successful bidder for its broadcasting rights will be able to tailor packages for the new media. Clearly, some sports organizations are thinking of the Internet's potential for global reach.

Sports industry leaders have not yet established how to profit from online broadcasts. Traditional broadcasters are digging in their heels, fighting to protect the old business model. Meanwhile communications experts are urging sports organizations to release their grip on broadcasting rights and embrace new media. If they don't, they risk losing the next generation of sports fans whose viewing preference is for YouTube sized programs. No doubt the subject will be high on the agenda next year.