As the world barely escaped Y2K “incineration” on Jan. 1, 2000, the sports media landscape remained an ordered world. Games started when leagues ordained, broadcasts began when networks decreed, advertisers aspired for select events like the Super Bowl, and newspapers and television tidily summed up the spectacle at their leisure. The media/consumer paradigm was decidedly top-down.
As the 2000s come to an end next week, that flow chart has been upended. The explosion of new media forms and delivery platforms since Y2K fizzled has left the consumer astride the information highway. Leagues, networks and the rest of the shell-shocked media are scrambling to structure their products to accommodate the new realities brought on by PVR, TMZ, iPhone and Wii.