So, the National Football League is moving to restrict fans’ in-game tweets and other microblogging activity. The justification? The threat posed to the NFL’s exclusive TV contracts by fans giving play-by-play updates and posting video clips.
This attempted crackdown is so misguided we’re not even sure where to start. Maybe here: Are Roger Goodell and the gang really so worried about random, shaky handheld video on Twitter enough to risk alienating hundreds of millions of fans with these heavy-handed, paranoid/defensive tactics?
From a Forbes article on the topic: “The strong-armed tactics demonstrate how worried sports leagues are about the impact of social media on their business. But they also open the NFL up to a potentially ugly legal battle if the league cracks down on fans.”
But it’s a lot more than a litigation nightmare. The NFL has a great community of rabid fans. And even if social media was a slight drain on sports broadcast audiences, this would still be just plain bad PR. Instead of going on the defense, the NFL should play a little offense and leverage social media to channel the enthusiasm of its fan base.