Breaking the ‘TV’ Law in Sports Bars

Breaking the ‘TV’ Law in Sports Bars

By Shelly Palmer

The founders of Taiv had an idea: What if a sports bar owner could make an extra $500 every month by using technology to replace the commercials in TV broadcasts with commercials they sold themselves? It is an awesome idea. It is also a blatant theft of services.

Free TV services that offer sports programming are supported by sponsors who pay to display commercials during the games. You see the sporting event for free (you may have a cable/satellite bill, but that is a story for another day) because you “agree” to watch the commercials. You don’t actually agree (you can walk out of the room or change the channel, but that is another story for another day), but you also can’t commercialize the broadcast for your own purposes. It is copyrighted, as are the commercials.

Said differently, bar owners have to make specific arrangements to have Sunday Night Football parties and charge a cover for entrance. You can’t commercialize copyrighted works without permission.

Apparently, none of this matters to the founders of Taiv or YCombinator or any of Taiv’s investors, and they are busy onboarding bars in South Florida and Austin, Texas.

I am of three minds: (1) This is great, innovative, and awesome! Locally-sold ads may be more relevant to patrons and (in any event) the bar owner can enjoy a new revenue stream. (2) This is patently illegal and should be shut down immediately. (3) Why don’t the networks purchase Taiv and offer this service to every bar in the world? The revenue split would be welcome by both parties, and a self-serve ad tech stack would make the workflow and process doable by non-creative, non-technical bar owners. Think Canva optimized for 16×9 local video ads. (Oh, wait. That already exists.)

Remember the TiVo and Replay wars? This one is going to be almost as fun to watch. All snarkiness aside, I can’t wait to see how this turns out.

The original article appeared on

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing, and co-founder of Metacademy, a free educational platform that teaches practical applications of blockchain, crypto, NFTs, Web3, the metaverse. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Fox 5’s Good Day New York, and is a regular commentator on CNN and CNBC. He’s the co-host of the award-winning podcast Techstream with Shelly Palmer & Seth Everett and he hosts the Shelly Palmer #Web3Wednesday Livestream. Follow @shellypalmer