Tag Archives: NFL

Redbox floating fine down the video stream future

A ubiquitous streaming TV and movie world is no longer in question only whether it will be advertising supported or also include viewer subscriptions. While at various commitments, just about everyone is planning online distribution of professionally produced video. NBC, FOX, ABC and CBS have Hulu, while many of the top multiservice operators (Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable) are each planning the rollout of their own “TV Everywhere” platforms. Comcast’s version, OnDemand Online, is expected to go national by the end of the year.

“TV Everywhere” initiatives are online authentication WebTV portals that provide access to content similar to Hulu. The catch is that a user must prove that they are a TV subscriber to gain access to the online content. The rising tide has increased expectation that we will also see a Hulu subscription service in the near future. This is just yet another proof point in the fallacy of the free internet economy future. Content does not want to be free and I anticipate soon that most professionally developed articles and video to require an access fee, whether through subscriptions or micropayments.

Sports WebTV streaming has continued to advance with the 2009 football season. All Sunday Night Football games will be streamed on NBCSports.com and NFL.com using Microsoft’s Silverlight. Similar to last year the offering will have four different camera angles, and it will also feature a HD option, DVR type features and slow-motion replay. CBS, arguably the leader in real time online sports streaming, announced that it will provide all SEC college football broadcasts on its network for free at CBSSports.com. Interestingly, CBS will be using Adobe Flash instead of Silverlight, which is a move away from what was used for March Madness earlier in the year.

As Amazon, the Roku and Netflix push forward the streaming of movies over the Internet, Blockbuster is unfortunately highlighting the transition with the announcement that it will close nearly 1,000 locations by the end of 2010. Beyond increasing emphasis toward mail and streaming services that directly compete with Netflix, Blockbuster  also plans to expand from 497 to 2,500 kiosks by the end of this year and to 10,000 by 2010. Why would Blockbuster bolster its kiosk business so dramatically? Redbox. Despite fighting a few frivolous lawsuits by movie studios in court, Redbox is one of the few non streaming video options that is thriving. DreamWorks has even stated that the conversion rate from rental to purchase of DVDs with Redbox is markedly higher than what is seen from Blockbuster and Netflix. The business model timeline for Redbox may be short, but for now the company proves you can be successful in the video market without a streaming service. Prediction: expect Redbox to rollout a streaming offering before the end of 2010.

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The 19th Hole – 7/19/09

July has the unfortunate distinction of being the month right before football starts back up, but that does not mean we are without news for the U.S.’s top sport. America’s past time hits its midpoint of the season this week, but of course no one cares any more. Baseball could be on the verge of becoming America’s fourth sport. Sacrilegious you say – perhaps – but there is a rising tide that is undeniable.

A new champion in this rising sport helped provide more publicity in a week’s time than perhaps the last five years, again proving that all publicity is good, even if your champion is giving the bird directed straight at the fans that paid top dollar to see the sport’s Championship.

Not all is new. We nearly witnessed the crowning of the oldest Major champion in golf history. To bad 71 holes does not make for a tournament. Hole 72 is unforgivingly decisive. We also had incredible, albeit in a sport that will never take hold in America. For the staunch football fan, July continues to impress.

  • Michael Vick. His federal dogfighting sentence to end July 18, there is wide speculation regarding what team may pick him up, when or perhaps if the NFL commisioner will  allow him to play in the league again and thus if we will resort to playing in the fledgling UFL this upcoming season. The July 13 Sports Illustrated had an interesting piece title, “What’s Next For Michael Vick?” The article looks at past and current legal transgressions by other athletes and the punishment received, both through the courts and their respective leagues. What Vick did was wrong. He went to prison for 23 months. Should it not be obvious to all that he has served a very harsh concurrent punishment both legally and to his career. It is not any teams responsibility to sign him, but NFL would be in the wrong to extend his sentence. Perhaps the most interesting quote from the article came from esteemed writer Malcolm Gladwell: “Let’s see, Leonard Little got drunk and killed another human in a car accident. He served 90 days in jail and got suspended for eight games. Vick was cruel to some dogs. He went to jail for a year and a half. And we’re wondering if Vick can play in the NFL? Please.
  • MLB. This past week the league celebrated its All Star game and I do not know anyone who watched. Similar to the strike in 2004, the steroid inquisition via the George Mitchell report has destroyed fan interest. The past decade has completely altered the validity and accuracy of statistics. In a large sense, Manny Ramirez may have been the final straw, cleverly told in this fictional epic by Bill Simmons. Perhaps the greatest tragedy was uncovered in the July 13 Sports Illustrated-what can I say it was a good issue. The article looks at how Albert Pujols may be the most perfect player to ever play the game and this year has a chance to win the first batting triple crown since 1967. I fear it may fall on deaf ears, despite Pujols  strong, affirmative denial of ever taking performance enhancing drugs.
  • UFC 100. Brock Lesnar became the undisputed heavyweight champion and moments later attempted to restart a fight with the opponent he just pummeled, verbally assaulted his opponents wife, criticized the organizations biggest sponsor and flipped off the entire crowd. Sounds a little like a weekly WWE show at first glance, but MMA is now mainstream. This is not the Kimbo Slice circus from last October, instead this was the event and perhaps the champion that will push MMA to the third most popular sport in the U.S. Media attention was off the charts before and especially after the event and possibly more telling, UFC 100 had more than 1.3 million pay-per-view purchases. The most in its history.
  • The British Open(apparently now referred to as simply the Open Championship). Tom Watson at 59 was one shot away from becoming the oldest major champion in PGA history. It was not to be, mirroring the excitement and then honorable defeat by Greg Norman from the 2008 Open Championship. To bad. Maybe Jack still has one left in him. Wouldn’t that be a thrill. If the media comes away with one learning from this year’s Open Championship, please let it be that we no longer discuss taking Tiger or the field. This is just a plain dumb story angle and with Tiger missing the cut, perhaps it will never be brought up again. One could hope.
  • Indoor Brazilian soccer. Yep you read that correctly. This may not be the greatest soccer goal of all time, but it has to be the best of 2009:

The 19th Hole – 7/27/08

I loath the month of July. Not necessarily because the furnace like weather in Texas is at its peak, but instead because it is a dead zone for sports. At least when concerning my interests, there is hardly anything going on. I can actually meet with friends on the weekend without a care of what game I am sacrificing. This can be highlighted through PTI taking the entire past week off. Its a difficult time, but I was able to roundup a few notable stories.

  • Are you ready for some football? I know its a bit mean to start that chant when we are still about a month away from regular season college or pro games, but yesterday the LA Times reported that NBC will live stream Sunday night NFL games. This is huge. Following ABCs live streaming experiment earlier this year with the NCAA Tournament and NBCs Olympic coverage (ablbeit delayed), I truly think the last significant online video gap is on the verge of being conquered. TiVo and Hulu adequately handle on demand TV show consumption, but sports generally requires live viewing and I am ecstatic networks are finally building out the infrastructure to allow high quality sports viewing for fans regardless of their location and access to a TV. Perhaps we may even break similar ground with Notre Dame this year too. One can only hope.
  • The Sports Guy. The intrigue of Bill Simmons is beginning to unravel. While I understand he is supposed to be the voice of the fan, I place strong importance in quality journalism. He has written some amazing articles including the article about Jamiel Andre Shaw Jr. earlier this year, but his recent blast on the sport of tennis was poorly researched and showed even less effort in word choice. A friend and I recently commented on his shortcomings, which are highlighted by the arrival of Rick Reilly to the ESPN family. To Simmons credit, he does discuss his tennis face-plant in this podcast, but I am hoping this may have been a wake up call and push him to raise his craft to a new level. His entertaining style is undoubtable, I am just hoping his credibility can match.
  • Favre Gate. Perhaps due to the lack of true sports news in July, this modest story has snowballed into the daily news lead for every sports show. This is an unusual stance for me, but I believe that Green Bay is more in the right than Favre. Regardless of whether he felt pressured into retiring, Favre did retire. It is not fair to the organization and his teammates to be held hostage by a single player. Aaron Rogers has displayed decent promise in limited action and it is fair to require a competition for starting QB if Favre comes back to Green Bay this year. Rogers is the future and has displayed unbelievable control throughout this ordeal, which cannot be said for Favre. Polls have shown that even the fans think Favre should remain retired. It is clear now that he will play this year, I hope he can without hurting his legacy. This is not the storybook ending we had in March.