Fans are using Periscope and Meerkat to stream Opening Day baseball action — how will MLB respond?

Ended Meerkat stream from MLB opening day

Ended Meerkat stream from MLB opening day

The question we asked about how the use of livestreaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope might affect stadium networks is getting some real-world trials today, as fans are clearly using the apps to show live video from the various opening day games for Major League Baseball. So far, we’ve seen reports that fans are using the apps from the New York Yankees’ home opener agains the Toronto Blue Jays, and at the Detroit Tigers’ home opener against the Minnesota Twins. We’ve tried to catch a live broadcast of game action, but so far no luck!

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal got MLB to comment… and the league doesn’t like live streaming, no wonder. Still, no word on how it’s going to be enforced.

UPDATE 2: Well, MLB has responded… and it made the WSJ issue a correction, no small thing there. According to MLBAM’s Bob Bowman the league will “monitor” people who are livestreaming, but won’t take any action. Apparently Bowman thinks that fans won’t spend their time at games livestreaming, which we would put in the “remains to be seen” category. Also, nothing has been said so far about how livestreaming might affect stadium wireless network performance; so we are still betting that we haven’t yet heard the end of potential Meerkat/Periscope bans, especially from other sports like football. Stay tuned!

Though live streaming of game action seems to be in direct violation of MLB broadcast rights, we still haven’t heard back from the league about what it plans to do, if anything, about livestream feeds from games. For what it’s worth, the Meerkat terms of service seem to absolve the app or the company from any infraction, saying it’s the user’s responsibility to not use it to show content that is copyrighted or otherwise protected. But we all remember YouTube, right?

Since the live streams aren’t archived it’s possible that the league may just let them slide; and there probably aren’t more than a handful of people streaming yet at each game, so it’s doubtful that stadium networks are yet feeling any huge strain from the apps.

Small text snippet from Meerkat TOS... you are own your own when it comes to rights violations!

Small text snippet from Meerkat TOS… you are own your own when it comes to rights violations!

But it’s also not too hard to look into the near future at a “big game” and see hundreds or thousands of fans bringing a stadium network to its knees with live video streaming. So far, none of our stadium sources seems willing to talk publicly about the potential problem; we also have calls and emails in to both Twitter and Meerkat, and will update this post as we hear more.

Twitter, which bought Periscope, has a relationship with MLB so you are likely to see lots of Vines and photos from teams. But so far on the Twitter Sports blog, no Periscope. Let us know if you see any live action streams… we will keep updating this post as we hear more.

UPDATE: Just saw some live video of introductions in DC thanks to our old pal David Joachim (hey Dave!)…

UPDATE 2: Just had to add this tweet from one of my favorite writers, Steve Rushin… of course they’re on their phones!

Comments

  1. Great article. Two issues that every venue will face —
    1- capacity of wifi and cell networks ( how much is enough) and how will the venue throttle back demand as it exceeds supply, and 2) enforcing broadcast rights.

    Look forward to hearing more discussion on both these topics from industry experts.

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