I was nine-years-old when the New England Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams to win their first Super Bowl in 2001.
I went to my friend’s house to watch the game and we ended up spending more time outside than we did in front of the television. The truth is, I don’t even remember watching Tom Brady and the Patriots pull off one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.
If it was 15 years earlier, I may still be cursing my ambivalent attitude towards the game that night.
How could I have taken it for granted? When would I ever get a chance to see that game again?
Fortunately for me and sports fans everywhere— except maybe St. Louis— it’s 2014 and the full game as it was originally broadcasted is only a couple clicks away.
Youtube allows anyone with a computer and a foggy memory to relive the classic sports moments of yesteryear.
Want to see Michael Jordan win his first championship? Barry Bonds hit his five-hundredth home run? Mike Tyson getting knocked out? It’s all at your fingertips.
Not all sports have embraced the Youtube movement at the same speed, of course. The NBA has turned its cheek to copyright infringement, allowing most notable basketball games to stay on Youtube in their entirety.
The line of reasoning there is pretty simple: how can increased exposure do anything but help a league trying to improve its image and build a global market?
Finding full NFL games is a little harder, but league commissioner Roger Goodell has been in talks with Youtube about a potential streaming deal that would allow fans to watch live games through Youtube as soon as 2015.
After years of being behind the curve, the MLB signed a deal with Youtube in the spring of 2013 that made hundreds of classic games available instantly.
The point that gets lost in all of this is that Youtube is fundamentally changing the way our society consumes sports.
When Lebron James throws down a monster-dunk, twitter is flooded with links to the Youtube clip. Fans can watch a replay as many times as they want without being at the mercy of the broadcasting station.
The term “Youtube sensation” is tossed around regularly now— a good example being Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s impassioned postgame rant after the NFC championship. Sherman’s harsh words sparked controversy over the last two weeks and 1.3 million people have watched the Youtube video to decide if it was offensive for themselves.
That number should only climb in the days leading up to the Super Bowl.
With an internet juggernaut backing it up (Google bought Youtube for $1.65 billion in 2006) the possibilities are endless.
It’s hard to see any negatives to the emergence of Youtube (unless you’re on the receiving end of one of the aforementioned Lebron dunks). The Youtube brand will continue to grow— and for sports fans, that’s a good thing.
Zach Winn can be contacted at email@example.com