After tuning to the online version of the Cards vs. Giants at http://snfextra.nbcsports.com last night, I was left wondering if the experience was a half hearted attempt to prove that tv is better than online from NBC’s pov. I bring up this point because the streaming video quality was poor, there were more commercials than the actual tv broadcast and the game was time delayed. Those big issues didn’t come up when I was watching the US Open Tennis which made the football experience all the more questionable.
Because the game was delayed I pretty much from the beginning wasn’t going to spend any amount time online with the site. I don’t think traditional broadcasters understand that people are probably going to watch the game on their big tv and laptop at the same time. The online experience allows people to change things up that a tv can’t provide. Having a time delay makes the online experience a lot hard to enjoy. Why change angles when the play is already over? More infuriating was how the whole screen was locked when there was a commercial. The site essentially was disabled, so any attempt at looking at different section of the site were impossible. I realize that the site needs to pay for itself but locking people out is something you don’t do online. Keep the sound on for the commercial but forcing people with an old commercial format isn’t going to make a viewer come back.
The site itself was divided into four parts; the game with different angles to choose from, videos of plays, stats and chat. The videos of archived plays had the best potential of being a great experience. Allowing the viewer to go back and see clips is something that tv can’t provide. Stats was disappointing—on one level I wish that the players that were mentioned had ways of diving deeper for more content. I also would have liked to have picked my own player to compare data with. Chat was pretty bad too—all a person could do was type into a field and possibly have the question responded to. An area like this would be an idea place to bring in live tweets using hashtags of both teams and popular players.
My favorite feature was the timeline below the play button. When key plays were made a marker would go up. A viewer could rollover to find out what the play was. By clicking on the dot the play would go into action. Again it’s the features that aren’t available online that are going to make the experience great. As a first attempt from armchair quarterback spot it seems like there’s a lot of room to improve, though I wonder if the tv people really want the experience online to be as good as it could be.