Sports and the Internet

Nobody would ever voluntarily watch a big game on time delay.  The time shifting (or "extreme time-shifting") of television will probably never effect sports … because you just have to watch in real time.  In fact, TiVo itself notes that less than 10% of sports fans watch Monday Night Football on time delay.  Last night when I was watching the Pistons game sitting in a friend’s house during a visit to Detroit — I noticed people weren’t actively avoiding the ads.  In fact, we were watching and enjoying them.  It’s the Super Bowl effect, but not on as grand or expensive a scale.  But what made those ads worth watching last night during a mere regional basketball playoff series broadcast on TNT?  Were they just funnier or higher budget ads?  [And by the way, who knew TNT ran more than just Ted Turner’s favourite old movies?]

Maybe they are not any better.  It’s just the audience dynamics of sports junkies.  Could it be that sports viewing is becoming the testing ground for the "great convergence" that all of us internet marketing professionals wish for?  The perfect world where viewers are watching TV, surfing on the Internet, and communicating through mobile devices on SMS and MMS — all simultaneously.  When did fantasy football become such a religion?  And if it truly is (with more and more converts each year) … then how can marketers not associated with the NFL or one of the big cable networks take advantage throughout the season?  One big bang ad during the Super Bowl may be the strategy for this year — but I wonder what it will be for the next Go Daddy in 2006 …