Last weekend I had the unexpected treat of watching some great handball matches. Sure, the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments had some real snoozer games where the outcome was all but pre-ordained, but there were also a few matches with very real drama and thanks to the Macedonian fans in Sweden, tremendous atmosphere as well.
“But, why was watching these matches an unexpected treat?” you ask. Well, with the IHF’s apparent decision to only sell traditional TV rights to these matches and with no U.S. network buying I figured that it was about a 50-50 shot that I’d find a webstreaming video. But even then, I also figured that it would be a poor quality picture, barely worth watching. But, maybe those odd are improving or perhaps I’m getting a little savvier in finding viewable viewable webstreams, as last weekend I was able to watch Macedonia battle Hungary and Sweden and see Poland-Serbia battle to a 25-25 draw.
All well in good, I suppose. Nothing like watching free handball on TV in the United States. After all, just a few years ago, all anyone outside of the European continent could expect to do was read a computer generated translated summary of the match afterwards.
But, no, it’s not good enough. I want more. I want a better quality picture from a reliable source. And, this should be music to the IHF’s ears– I’m willing to pay for it. Heck, the word “free” is one of my favorites, but when you go to access the video from these fly by night websites, rest assured that they aren’t providing this service simply out of their love of handball. With the video come advertisements and some level of access to your computer, especially if it requires some sort of platform download to watch the video. Annoyingly, somehow my homepage was changed both for Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Sure, easy to fix, but now I’m wondering what else has found its way on to my laptop.
It really doesn’t have to be this way. The IHF has provided webstream subscriptions for the World Championships and the forward thinking EHF even streams the Champions League for free. Not to mention, the free European Championships streaming this past January. The technology is there and there are a number of entities like Youtube willing to help.
If unofficial entities can webstream these matches, then very clearly it’s possible that the IHF could officially do so. There’s simply no good excuse for this and the IHF should fix this in a timely manner. Let’s say in time for the Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournaments coming up in May.