With the wide variety of sports organizations out in the world today, it should come as no surprise that there's not a standard approach to streaming services. Many sports organizations have formed partnerships with specific cable or mobile service providers. This means that in order to access the live streaming content provided by these organizations, you'll need to be a subscriber to their partnered cable or mobile telecommunications company.
For example, in the United States, you can access National Football League (NFL) games on Verizon mobile devices using NFL Mobile. This app allows you to watch live NFL coverage as well as access other features. While there are other apps for mobile devices that integrate with the NFL, they don't include the live video feature you'll find in Verizon's app.
Other sports organizations take a different approach. Major League Baseball (MLB) offers an app for devices running iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry and even WebOS operating systems. When paired with an MLB.tv subscription, this app allows fans to watch out-of-market games. There's a fee for the app (which decreases as the season wears on) and you still must subscribe to the MLB.tv service to be able to watch the games.
Not all the streaming video you'll find online is live. During the 2008 Summer Olympics and 2010 Winter Olympics, NBC Universal delayed some streaming video feeds in order to save the events for prime-time television broadcast. While you might have been able to watch minor events live on the Internet, some of the high-profile events were inaccessible until much later. In 2011, NBC sports executive Mark Lazarus said that every event in the 2012 Summer Olympics would be broadcast live on one platform or another. Some events may remain exclusive to television broadcast [source: Zaccardi].
If you're a true sports fanatic, subscribing to every service and purchasing every app might be a bit expensive. But these are still the early days of digital transmission of live video content. As some methods show promise and others falter, we'll likely see a more standardized approach in the years to come. And at the end of the day, it's hard to argue with the countless hours of sports footage we have access to, thanks to a bunch of computer nerds. Remember, sports fans, to tip your cap the next time you see a computer scientist!
Learn more about sports and streaming video by following the links on the next page.