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Hockey fans hug Google Video, NHL

November 3, 2006

The Pens' Evgeni Malkin (via AP)After all the copyright-infringement lawsuit news that came out this past week after the $1.6 billion Google-YouTube deal, it’s nice to hear some good news for online video.

While most sports videos online are something like this penalty kick, it’s good to see the top sports leagues are starting to get into the action.

The National Hockey League has announced a partnership with Google Video to put full hockey games on the site the day after they are played. Here’s the link to the main page.

The site currently has highlight videos and full commercial-free games for all 30 NHL teams, which is great, since my Pittsburgh Penguins are seeing a renaissance as of late and I can’t see them on my local cable television (no Versus network, formerly OLN).

Also, the NHL has posted some classic games, such as Stanley Cup Finals games in their entirety. I found one of the greatest Penguins’ games in history: Game 1 of the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals, where Mario Lemieux scores with 8 seconds left to win the game, completing a 4-goal comeback. (skip ahead to the 2:01:00 mark)

The site is also accepting fans’ highlight videos that they create at home, and will post the best ones.

This is a brave step for what is considered the no. 4 or 5 sport in America (5th if you count NASCAR). The NHL hasn’t had much luck in securing national coverage since their deal with ESPN was not renewed after the lockout in 2004.

Putting as much free video out there for fans to link to and watch is a good first step, and is a good model for baseball, football and basketball to emulate. More exposure = more fans = more online ad revenue … a good biz model!


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