A few days ago I noticed on Fanblogs a posting about the fact that several bowl games would be made available on iTunes after the games were played, and that one of those games would be the Cotton Bowl. Sure enough, currently available on iTunes are the BCS Bowls (after they've been played, of course).
For the reasonable price of $19.99, you get the full-length version of all of the BCS Bowls and Championship Game, plus preview coverage, and (after the bowls) a 'Best of the Bowls' highlight package. If you don't want all the games, you can buy your favorite bowl game. The Rose Bowl Season Pass includes the 2007 Rose Bowl game, plus full length Rose Bowls from 2004 and 1989 for a very reasonable price of $4.99, or you can buy the older games for $1.99 apiece. How cool is that?
Unfortunately, there's no 2007 Cotton Bowl on iTunes. Oh, you can buy a DVD of the game for $28.95 from Huskerpedia, but do you really want to? $28.95? How many of those are they going to sell? For $1.99 from iTunes, I can buy it, watch the game again later and then throw it away without losing a whole lot. There are several other full length football games on iTunes. Michigan and Ohio State fans can pick up their rivalry games from 1973, 1997, 2002, and 2006 for $1.99 apiece.
Perhaps it's only a matter of time until we see old Nebraska games showing up on iTunes for $1.99. Get the 1997 Nebraska Missouri game out there - the off-season is coming, and my video tape of the game is pretty worn out from watching it every mid-July, and during rainy days and Mondays. How many could they sell? Certainly more than they're selling on DVD for close to $30 per game, and their costs are close to nothing after they deliver the content.
Critics would state that the video is not the same quality as a DVD, and they're probably right, but who the hell cares? It'll be $1.99. I can watch it on my computer - although probably not during a flight since that'd result in my arrest - and if I get bored, delete the darned thing, and buy it again next year for $1.99. I can do that 14 times before I get to the price of a DVD. I'm not paying $29.00 for a DVD for Husker games and if I was so inclined, I'd be more apt to split the cost with someone else, rip the DVD and copy it between us.
This is the direction things are going. Universities are constantly trying to find ways to increase their income, well, here's your chance, Steve Pederson. The sky is the limit. We have a massive library available which is mostly sitting around gathering dust. Include the other sports besides football. Why not make the 2006 National Title volleyball games and seminfinal available on iTunes? Nebraska's athletic department is trying to figure out how to make the volleyball games more available since they sell out constantly and they don't want to move the team to Devaney.
The issue has had to come up at Nebraska's athletic department already. They're smart people that run the athletic department, smarter than most in the nation. No doubt the issue isn't that it's a great idea, it's an issue of control. A DVD isn't that simple to copy. Make something electronically available, and the worry is that it'll end up all over the place without you getting paid. Funny that around Christmas, iTunes was so heavily used that the store temporarily went down due to an overload - all those people buying content.
As a recent example of someone else who jumped into the downloadable content market - "This American Life" is an excellent radio show, probably one of the best (non-sports) around. It's only recently become available on iTunes - previously the only way you could legally obtain the old shows was by purchasing a subscription to Audible.com. The guys who own the rights to "This American Life" had to come to the conclusion that if they didn't get it out on iTunes, they'd be left behind in an emerging market and could make more money selling archives of the show at $.95 apiece.
It's only a matter of time. Nebraska prides itself as having the best facilities, best coaching, best academics. Why not lead in this area - get out there before someone like Texas does. Please hurry, though, I don't think my 1997 Nebraska - Missouri video tape will last another summer.