America's fastest conference is developing a new "media policy" that severely restricts how much audio, video and "blogs," reporters can dish out during live games. (Hint: Not much.) Oh, and fans in the seats are subject to the policy too.
We all know that you can't disseminate anything without the express written consent of Major League Baseball, but the Southeastern Conference's new fan policy seems to suggest that any attempt by people inside the stadium to let people outside the stadium know what's going on would be against the rules. No Twittering. No Facebook photos. No YouTubes. Nothing. If your friend wants to know the score, he can read the paper the next day.
A conference spokesperson explains that the goal is "to keep as many eyeballs as possible on ESPN and CBS," because why would I actually watch a football game on TV when I can read about it from 90,000 morons on Twitter? ("ZOMG. Tebow jst jumped passd again! Lol!") The idea that grainy online videos from the third deck are competition for ESPN broadcasts is ludicrous, of course, and no one is actually going to be roaming the stands snatching cellphones from Twitter users. (I hope.) But the SEC is so paranoid that their "brand" will be diluted by some futuristic technology they don't understand, that they're drawing the line right now. You want a ticket, you play by our rules—rules that we might decide to change at any moment. If this makes conference officials seem old and out of touch, that's because they are.
However, I will gladly surrender any and all free speech rights given to me by the First Amendment if it will make SEC fans stop talking about football.
For SEC, tech-savvy fans might be biggest threats to media exclusivity[St. Petersburg Times]