We've given MLB Advanced Media a lot of flack in the past for their ridiculous online strategies. But we'll also give credit where credit is due: MLB has done a great job over the last year in correcting a lot of the issues that plagued them. Their YouTube channel has nearly 26,000 videos (though most of the videos aren't embeddable, which is a step back), including classic videos, behind the scenes clips, and even some full games - and it's all free. MLB.com has also made many more of their videos embeddable, which is a huge step up from recent years.
In 2011, Ben Koo ranted about not being able to find David Freese's Game 6 heroics from the 2011 World Series on YouTube. Two years later, that issue has been rectified - and it's embeddable, too! How about we look for David Ortiz's home run from Thursday's Game 2? Well, it's not on YouTube, but it *is* on MLB.com, along with a call of the homer in Spanish, the reaction from his teammates, and the radio call on WEEI - and all are embeddable. This is an improvement that can be measured in light years compared to two years ago, when you couldn't even watch Freese's clutch homer without going to MLB.com and *only* MLB.com.
Let's contrast MLB's evolution with the NFL. As far as I can tell, the NFL doesn't even have a YouTube channel. When looking for a clip, for example, Jacoby Jones' catch from the playoffs in Denver last January, it's impossible to find a video that either A) hasn't been pulled down, or B) is a video of a television screen. If I head over to NFL.com to hunt for the video, it's borderline impossible to find. The search "jacoby jones catch broncos playoffs" comes back with an astounding 27000 results when filtered to video. Sorting by relevance, I have no idea what's going on, since I'm getting clips from the Super Bowl, clips from 2010 when Jones was with the Texans, and even some clips of Raiders receiver Jacoby Ford.
Finally, I've got my clip. Sure, I had to go to the videos section on the Ravens website and filter to the year and month I wanted, but I've got it. Cool. But forget about embedding it on your blog - there's no embed link to be found. Sure, there are social media buttons, but forget about letting other people see it without going to NFL.com - that's not going to happen.
OK, maybe going back nine months wasn't fair. Let's try to look for a clip from last night's Panthers-Bucs game - maybe Cam Newton's first quarter touchdown pass to Greg Olsen? And imagine that, it's the top result of my search! Sure, there's still no embed code but at least I found the damn video without a compass and astrolabe. Don't even bother looking for any historic (as in, more than a decade old) footage though - the only clip of Desmond Howard's Super Bowl kick return I can find is a clip from America's Game that has an interview with Howard spliced throughout it. Of course, you can also find the "video of a TV" clips on YouTube, but who wants to watch that?
What's my general point here? The NFL's media empire is doing exactly what we used to pick on MLB for doing, but they're doing it much worse. The NBA and NHL are nowhere near as Draconian as MLB and the NFL are with pulling down YouTube videos, and they both have stellar, active YouTube channels. MLB has joined the YouTube party and is showing a lot of promise there as well. As for the NFL? If there's a video you're looking for that hasn't taken place in the last couple of months, I hope you brought a Snickers and a Gatorade - this could be awhile.