Friday, September 28, 2007

Thanks to Neulion, Vasicek's family can watch him play tonight

I'm not even going to try and come off as some tech-savvy guy who is ahead of the curve when it comes to innovations. My 9-year old son was the one who turned me on to the iPod in January, and now I don't know how I lived life without it. When I decided I'd try to do my own blog, I had to ask my colleague Corey Witt and the amazing Islander fan and NYIslanders Country message board mod Nick D to get me started. And even with their help, as you can see I'm clueless. Even that old fart Neil Best in Newsday knows how to post photos and link stories.

But despite it all, I'm in awe at the impact my friends and colleagues at Neulion have made with internet television. Neulion is run by Nancy Li, their offices are across the street from the main NYI exec offices in Plainview and we're proud to all be part of the same extended Islanders family.

Nancy and her team brought Islanders TV into our lives last season and now, just one year later, it is the talk of the industry. By the end of last season the Rangers were on board and Rangers On Demand (or ROD, as I call it) was a huge success for them. A few weeks ago it was announced that every team in the NHL was going to use Neulion's technology.

And, believe me, Neulion's sportsworld takeover does not end there. Not a day goes by when some executive with a sports league or team isn't inquiring about how they can get their version of Islanders TV. Josh Bernstein, the Emmy-winning former producer at ESPN who runs the production side, is a very busy and popular man these days.

Tonight's breakthrough is just the latest. If you haven't heard, the MSG Network broadcast of tonight's Islanders-Rangers tilt - I mean, hockey game - will be available around the world through the NHL Center Ice Online package. It's a free trial and the key is that there are no blackout restrictions. It will be a Rangers broadcast with Rangers broadcasters (although I believe Joe Micheletti still secretly adores us). But Corey will be on hand at the Garden trying to get a little Islanders flavor into producer Joe Whelan's show.

Projects like this do not get done without a lot of cooperation from a lot of people. But what everyone really needs to understand is that none of this happens without the brilliance and tenacity of the people at Neulion and Islanders TV. They are pioneers, and they should be very proud.

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