Got this in an email from Universal Sports last night:
Effective Friday, all online live events and replays on demand will be available exclusively to DIRECTV, DISH and cable customers who have Universal Sports as part of their television package. Individual long-form events and sport packages will no longer be offered for sale online, but will be free to users who verify their subscriptions on our website. There is no additional charge for this service and a customerís subscription will not be affected. As always, anyone who visits our website can enjoy video highlights, photos and breaking news for free without authentication.
This is quite simply one of the dumbest decisions in marketing in a long time. The only people who will truly lose is Universal Sports, who will now not only not be collecting the carriage revenue from cable providers but won't be getting the revenue from sports enthusiasts who are buying online packages either.
This is Universal Sports essentially upping the "game of chicken" with cable companies, now that the Olympics are approaching. I think they'll overestimate the number of people who will truly be upset about the Olympics and who will in turn call their cable provider. Given that, they're going to find themselves in the exact same situation as before. If that's the case, what would you do? You'd go back, hat in hand, to customers like us who are willing to pay for online packages.