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NiFTy move by af2

Andrew Pekarek
Wednesday April 2, 2008


Did you see it?

Did you see the lateral on the last play of the game that gave the South Georgia Wildcats the 59-55 victory over the Tennessee Valley Vipers?

Did you see the return of the Iowa Barnstormers? How about the battle between two American Conference powers, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers and Quad City Steamwheelers? What about the rematch of ArenaCup7 between the Spokane Shock and the Green Bay Blizzard?

In the past, the only way you would have answered yes to these questions would have been if you were at the game, bought the on-line broadcast or received a tape of the game from someone.

That’s all changed because of the partnership arenafootball2 has made with Network Foundation Technology, also known as NiFTy, which allows fans to watch every single game for free on-line.

All you need to watch is a computer, which I’m guessing you have access to if you’re reading this, and a broadband Internet connection.

Once you have that it’s simple, go to the af2 website, click on the NiFTy link and download the custom af2 player.

The player streams the video of the games to you and each team has a channel, so you can pick which game you want to watch. Just think, you can channel surf through af2 games now.

Sure, the quality of the broadcast isn’t what spoiled sports fans have come accustomed to watching in major sport leagues, but it’s a moving picture, which is all the passionate fans of the af2 want and deserve.

Gone are the days of following live stats, listening to streaming audio and posting score updates on message boards.

You will no longer have to hear about how a wide receiver is great from someone else, and is heralded as a folk legend that you have never seen before because of where you live, but actually see him for yourself.

Streaming video on the Internet has been around for a while, but it’s first becoming an effective means to broadcast games as the cost for doing it have gone down.

The audience is also growing because over half of the Internet users in the United States have access to a broadband connection, and those numbers are increasing.

ESPN has been pushing its on-line streaming service, ESPN360, but most people still prefer to watch games on television. But for a league like the af2, which doesn’t have the ability to broadcast a large number of its games on national television, streaming video is the answer.

Some fans are questioning whether this service will remain free, and in my opinion it will.

There are thousands of companies across the United States that are hoping the streaming video business takes off. They have a product that can sell nationally to a niche market, but just don’t have the means to advertise on television because of the cost.

So, I think over the next couple of years advertising will increase with the af2 to support this.

Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if you get a survey in the near future from NiFTy.

Why?

Because the information it can collect from you, like demographics and psychographics, will help show potential advertisers if their target audience is the same as the af2’s.

This is a new era in the af2, which hopefully will allow the league to grow and remain financially stable.

So, on behalf of all the af2 fans, I would like to thank the af2 for seeing what the fans wanted.


 
Andrew is a senior at UW-Green Bay and has written for the student newspaper. He began following arena football in 1998 as a fan of the Green Bay Bombers (IFL). Was a programming intern for Sports Radio 107.5 & 1400 The Fan and is currently pursuing a career in radio broadcasting.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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