The Premier League wants fans to stop posting videos

Football fans and broadcasters alike are excited for the new season to start tomorrow, but the Premier League is in a grump about the potential money-losing effects of smartphone video.

As they told the BBC, they’ve developed software to track online uploads of gifs and Vines that show goals or other momentous moments (red cards, bitings, all that fun stuff). They’re also working with Twitter to shut down unauthorised clips.

Match footage is the league’s intellectual property, and they want it to be exclusive, as they’ve charged Sky and BT £3 billion to show it, as well as raking in cash from The Sun and The Times for the online rights. It only makes sense that they’d want to protect this enormous source of income. But it does take away some of the fun.

One of the best things about this year’s World Cup was how much of a social media event it was, with gifs appearing within a few seconds of an impressive goal. Now that we have the technology to allow people to share their fandom, it’s a shame that enthusiasm has to be funnelled through subscription services that are expensive to access and take away from the game as a communal experience.

More than anything, though, smartphone cameras aren’t going anywhere and users are only going to want to take more video. Surely the amount of uploads the league will need to keep track of will be overwhelming? Plus, it seems unlikely that dedicated fans are going to be satisfied with a few seconds of grainy looping video in place of a real match.

But if Vine and Twitter are where all the action is, then maybe The Premier League’s time and energy would be better spent trying to make money by working with social media, rather than against it.

Image via Dagur Brynjólfsson’s Flickr.

Diane Shipley