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NFL Takes Control Of Coverage

The National Football League is trying hard to drive more fans and advertisers to its own NFL Network cable channel and to its website, according to USA Today and other sources.

Underlining this effort are NFL’s new rules restricting how independent media are allowed to cover players, coaches, and teams. For example, news organizations and websites not affiliated with the NFL are limited to 45 seconds of audio and/or video clips per day of team material recorded at team facilities. The restriction applies to interviews, news conferences and practice footage.

NFL’s tightening rules are part of an overall move by professional sports to exercise more control of media coverage—especially in light of the stronger spotlight cast in recent years on unsavory aspects of professional sports, including doping scandals, animal cruelty, and player misconduct.

In 2009, Major League Baseball is scheduled to follow in NFL’s footsteps and start the MBL Channel where, it too, will presumably have full control of coverage.