February 26, 2008
Hockey fans might be getting less work done today than usual, thanks to a combination of Tuesday's NHL trade deadline and the Web.TSN, the Canadian version of ESPN, has set up an online "trade tracker" that's constantly being refreshed with today's deals. (Tampa's Brad Richards to Dallas for a trio of players is the big move so far).
TSN also is presenting a live Webcast of its on-air coverage of deadline deals. To its credit, the site seems pretty fast and responsive on what is surely the network's busiest day of the year for online traffic. (Of course, we're talking Canucks with scars and missing teeth, not quite the same as running nude Lindsay Lohan photos on your site.) On the downside, there's The Fan 590 out of Toronto. It's a top-notch sports talk station, but its on-air stream seems to have caved today under the weight of all the demand. SportsNet, also T.O.-based, has a trade tracker of its own that is holding up well. The point of all these efforts is, of course, to allow hockey obsessed fans to stay atop even the most minor trades (the Leafs sent Wade Belak to Florida for a 5th rounder -- time to plan a Cup parade down Bay Street!). On TSN this morning (hey, boss, this is research ...), analysts noted that an expat Canadian banker in London was practically squirreled under his desk with his laptop so he could listen in on the action without his employer's knowledge. I'm thinking his efforts needn't have been so sub rosa had he been watching an England football match online. The NHL trade deadline is just the latest example of how the Web has transformed what it means to be a sports fan. Peripatetic professionals (a description that fits many tech workers) can now stay abreast of the team they grew up with no matter where they're based. I'm not just talking about Yankee fans who reside in Los Angeles. Indian IT pros thousands of miles from home can follow a cricket match at Bangalore's M. Chinnaswamy Stadium while working on a job in, say, Dallas. Or Muscovites abroad can easily track FC Lokomotiv through the football club's official site. So, has the Web changed sports for you? Are you more obsessed than ever?
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