Social Media Banned by the SEC
*Update: The SEC has changed its policy and lifted the ban on social media usage at games. See follow up blog post HERE*
The Southeastern Confrence (SEC) is expected to release their new media policy which has an interesting clause in it. The current version of the policy has a ban on all social media usage at SEC Sporting Events. See the origonal mashable article here:
Earlier this month the SEC notified all schools that “Ticketed fans can’t “produce or disseminate (or aid in producing or disseminating) any material or information about the Event, including, but not limited to, any account, description, picture, video, audio, reproduction or other information concerning the Event.” In lemans terms this means no Facebook, no Twitter, no MySpace, no form of social networking allowed. A pretty conservative stance for an organization of colleges.
I understand that CBS has a multi billion dollar contract for exclusive rights for all SEC sporting events. But are you really worried that people are going to ruing your telecasts by Facebooking and Twittering? I happen to enjoy reading Facebook updates of my friend Jimmy who attends the University of Tennessee when he’s going to and from football games in Knoxville. I enjoy seeing pictures of him playing rugby and with his friends at the football games. Does this make me a criminal? Well the SEC plans on having that be the case.
The fact that the SEC would ban social media at events is ridiculous in the first place. First, it is a greedy corporate move in my book. Second, it’s completely irrational because they could never control the social media flowing in and out of 100,000 seat stadiums. Third, it shows me that the SEC is headed by old, out of touch businessmen who don’t have any clue when it comes to the current media market.
Social media can only help a major NCAA division. I’m more likely to turn on a game if I know someone who is personally there. I also am more likely to turn it on if I know that they’re having a grand old time in the student section. Social media is the perfect way to do this. I really don’t think some student is going to take CBS’s television audience from them by Twittering live commentary. Nor do I think that pictures of hot SEC girls on a blog are really going to ruin their media contract. Granted I know (and the SEC knows) that this won’t stop anyone from going to the games; but what will it do to their reputation?
What’s next? The SEC banning text messages to the outside world during games? Will Verizon or ATT buy the exclusive rights to text messages in all SEC venues and make those copyright infringing as well? SEC stop worrying about your rock solid media contracts and realize that the backlash from this could do way more damage than Facebook photos of a couple at The Swamp ever could.
Come on SEC this is America in the year 2009… Get with the program
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