For the first couple of Enhance Your Experience posts, I've prescribed something to enhance the fan experience, things that already exist, proven allies in becoming a well-rounded fan. Today, I'm going to go out on a limb and talk about something that I honestly believe has the potential to increase the value of the NHL product (but I don't really know for sure): fan-created replays and highlight reels using the entire NHL film archive.
Now, I understand that the traditional business model for sports film frowns upon fan access. You look at NFL Films, for example. They launched an exclusive content (as in exclusive games) network, their television rights spark the biggest bidding wars in the business, their licensing fees are notoriously astronomical and they regularly create and release home video packages. They won't be letting you tinker with their archive any time soon.
The NHL's product isn't quite the same. That's not to say the NHL wouldn't like it to be the same, and that they aren't already trying to enhance the value of their film archive through fan usage. The league is pushing their embeddable highlights (indexed into goals, hits and saves) and even giving them catchy titles this year.
But why stop there? Hockey is a game with a rich history, and the league is archiving more and more games on Gamecenter Live. Why not let fans create their own video packages of highlights from any of those games? Imagine a fan-created highlight reel for Howe, Gretzky, or Lemieux. And not limited to goals and assists. More importantly, imagine a fan-created highlight reel for the lesser known players. Imagine the arguments made with crisp video evidence.
Obviously, if the league wants to take fights or questionable hits off the table, that's understandable. And if they want to allow access to the archives only to GameCenter Live subscribers, that's also understandable, but imagine what those fans could do with free time and thousands of hours of footage? The beauty of the game seen and documented from every different perspective...