Weeks from now, the opening game of the 2010 Barclays New York Challenge will have faded from most people’s memories when the regular season kicks off. It wasn’t a particularly exciting game, and Spurs looked lethargic and out of ideas for large portions of the game. However, the match between Tottenham Hotspur and New York Red Bulls should be remembered for another reason: a massive technological breakthrough which could have a dramatic impact on how we watch the sport for years to come.
Last night’s game was streamed live across the Internet for free. Veetle hosted the live streaming game on their website. And, which is so unlike what bloggers are used to, were encouraged to embed the video player on their website (including this one) to share with viewers around the world (except for the United Kingdom where the licensing rights prevented the game from being streamed there). And all of this by Veetle was done legally with the permission of the event organizers.
But the big technological breakthrough for me was the ability to stream the live game to the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad. Veetle streamed the game using QuickTime so that soccer fans could load up Safari on the iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, browse to Veetle.com and watch the game on the portable device. To see how it worked on my Apple iPad, view the above video and you’ll see the high quality video streaming live.
With any technology, there are always hiccups. The Apple iPhone version didn’t work and displayed an error message. And when viewing the game from the streaming web version on my computer, there were a couple of times during the match when the live streaming played only the audio (presumably because of bandwidth demands on Veetle’s servers).
But overall, I would consider the experiment a success. The quality of the stream was superb. There was no buffering. And the display on my iPad was a better reception than what I saw on television through Fox Soccer Channel’s broadcast of the game.
The game from Veetle gives us a hint of what is possible. Just in one two-hour period, we saw how the quality of the Veetle broadcast was far superior to the Flash-video that FoxSoccer.tv provides. And we saw how accessible it is, such as the iPad (unfortunately, FoxSoccer.tv doesn’t work on the iPad or iPhone at this time).
If you didn’t get a chance to experience the game last night on Veetle, your next chance is tonight when Manchester City plays Sporting Lisbon at 8:30pm ET. We’ll again be showing the game live here at EPL Talk. Plus you can access it through the Veetle website and on TV via Fox Soccer Channel.