“Traditional” Beats “New” When It Comes to Live Sports (Despite Red Bull)

This past fall the Red Bull Stratos jump had at its peak 8 million concurrent views on YouTube. That annihilated the streaming of last years Super Bowl which had 2.1 million uniques which was on NBCSports.com. No one knew what would happen when the streams hit that 8 million mark and there was some genuine concern among the engineers but the system held up. A major part of the system though hasn’t held up well this past year.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is rapidly becoming a leader in the cloud space. According to a Bloomberg report by Cory Johnson AWS will generate $1.6 billion in revenue in 2012. It’s not all fun and games for AWS though. Christmas Eve saw Netflix go down. According a Wall Street Journal article 95% of Netflix computational and storage needs are handled by AWS. Netflix in turn accounts for 33% of peak downstream residential internet traffic in North America so if AWS goes down, which it’s done a few times this year, it’s a problem.

If YouTube (who’s parent company is Google) would have failed during the Red Bull Stratos jump one could argue about the level of consumer outrage it would have received from the public. If YouTube was hosting the Super Bowl or the BCS National TItle Game on the other hand and the stream fails then there is a pretty good chance that the level of consumer outrage would be significantly higher.


For all of the the mocking and criticism that goes toward broadcast television, cable and satellite providers they have something that people will continue to pay for, reliability. If the Super Bowl is on you can bet that you are going to be able to find a reliable “old school” way to watch it. The broadcast, cable or satellite signal does not get weighed down by the amount of people using it. It does not need to be ‘throttled down’ just to be able to continue showing you the game or event.

Strip away the economics of this argument and just look at the stability of the platforms and on that alone it is easy to see why live sports will continue to be the lifeblood of “traditional” outlets like broadcast, cable and satellite. While leagues like the NFL, MLB, NBA, MLS and UFC will continue to offer live streams of games and events they will not be able to deliver the same experience or reliability night in and night out like the “traditional” outlets can.

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Food for Thought: On The Media


The Real Work Done on Christmas

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Certain sports seem to earn certain days or holidays. Football during Thanksgiving weekend, College Football on New Years Day, and the NBA on Christmas Day.

Years ago, there would be only one or two NBA games on Christmas Day. Now there are five and they’re doing rather well. The Thunder at Heat game was the fourth highest rated NBA regular season game ever on ABC and was the highest rated regular season game ever in Oklahoma City and Miami. While these numbers are very good there are some other things to consider, like all of the people who work.

There were five NBA games on Christmas which means ten teams. That’s not just the players and coaches but the support staff, media, and arena personnel. From janitors to hot dog vendors to the IT department. The Staples Center had it tougher than most too this past Christmas. They had two games to work. First the Knicks vs the Lakers than the late game between the Nuggets and the Clippers. That’s a long day on a regular day much less a holiday.

While we expect certain people to be working on holidays such as doctors, policemen, and firemen we rarely think about those who are taking the tickets at the arena. Those cooking the food for the luxury boxes or those pulling cable for the cameraman as he tries to get just the right shot of Kobe Bryant walking to the bench after a big play.

The ratings show that sports on holiday’s work and as long as people are watching there will continue to be events on days such as Christmas. So while you enjoy the comfort of family and friends remember that it’s not just the teams that make sports happen.

The Tablet Sideline

How soon will the massive play sheets become a thing of the past on football sidelines?


Probably sooner rather than later. According to an article this past September, 14 NFL teams are using iPads as playbooks instead of the old school paper and binders. More teams are looking at adapting it but there are no immediate plans for iPads to make a debut on the sidelines.

The NFL requires teams to gather up the players iPad’s 2 1/2 hours before the game and current rules bar electronic devices on the sidelines. This could all change obviously if the NFL is able to A) figure out the guidelines B) figure out security and C) get someone to pony up the money to sponsor it.

The NFL did not get to where it is by giving free rides to companies and they sure aren’t going to just allow Apple’s iPad on the sidelines with the Apple’s logo embedded on it without Apple spending a good amount of money. IPads may be the tablet of choice but you can bet that if Google or Samsung were to sign a deal with the NFL to be their “Official Tablet” sponsor then you’d see a Nexus or Galaxy in the hands of Tom Brady in-between offensive series rather than an iPad.

From the technical side there are a lot of questions. Would these devices be fast enough to be effective? What if it crashes? Would there be dedicated bandwidth to the respective teams during the game or would they have to split it?

Looking even further into the future, could Google’s Glass be on the horizon? Can you image RGIII wearing something like that and getting an aerial view of the field? It may sound like science-fiction but so was a sub-orbit parachute jump until earlier this year. It was also crazy to believe that the Indianapolis Colts would be in the playoffs too but that’s where they’re heading complete with a rookie quarterback and head coach battling cancer.

Tablets are just the beginning of the technological revolution coming to the football sidelines.

Bowl-ed Over: The plethora of bowls and why there should be less of them.

It’s Bowl season in College Football and we do mean season. Between Saturday December 15, 2012 and Monday January 6, 2013 there will be a total of 35 bowl games with a grand total payout of $260,673,125.

That’s right, over $260 million is going to the teams that play in the bowl games and their conferences. The biggest payout is the BCS National Championship game which pays out $18 million to each team and the cheapest is the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl which pays $325,000 to each team. In any event, this is big money.

But should there be so many games? When this kind of money is on the table the response is usually an unequivocal YES! Yet if you remove the dollar amounts think about this; in some cases they are rewarding mediocrity.

12 .500 teams will play in bowl games (2 games will actually feature .500 teams against one another) and 1 sub-.500 team. Georgia Tech will get paid $2,000,000 to play USC in the SUN Bowl on New Years Eve Day. A team with a 6-7 record is getting $2,000,000.

Virginia Tech by all accounts had a down year. They have played in 5 BCS Games (which have multimillion dollar payouts) in the last 10 years. With high preseason expectations they find themselves at 6-6 and heading to the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Florida. While a 6-6 season is a down year for Va Tech it is an exceptional year for their conference rivals Duke. Duke is going bowling for the 1st time since 1994 (the game was played on January 2, 1995) in which they lost to Wisconsin. So a 6-6 season to Duke is a success.

Even with this perspective is it appropriate to award a post season game and in some cases millions of dollars to a team that didn’t even have a winning record? If the answer is ‘no’ then there should be less bowl games. If the argument is for the current system then please this Bloomberg article from 2010. Just because you go to a bowl game doesn’t guarantee a financial windfall for the teams or the conference. It also doesn’t teach college athletes to strive to be better.

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The Silly Season


Some people call the last week of November and the first two weeks of December the “Silly Season.” Why? It’s when the college football media explodes into a frenzy of speculation over which college football coach will be fired and hired.

Hot jobs and hot coaches vary year to year. The best example of that is former Florida International Head Coach Mario Cristobal. Cristobal was let go after a 3-9 season. The two previous years he led FIU to bowl games and even tied for first place in the Sun Belt conference. He was considered one of the hottest coach’s in the college football head coaching rumor mill last season. Now he’s out of a job.

This years hot name was Louisville’s Charlie Strong. He led Louisville to a co-Big East Championship and BCS Bowl berth in his third season at the helm. Strong eventually turned down a reported $4 million a year from the University of Tennessee to remain at Louisville. His reasoning and passion are very evident as you can see in his speech to the media and fans.

A name that was not on anyone’s list but at least he thought he’d keep his job was John Embree at Colorado. He’s was let go after two season’s at his alma mater. There is an argument about what the biggest surprise was, Brett Bielema’s move from Wisconsin to Arkansas or Tommy Tuberville’s move from Texas Tech to Cincinnati.

Arguably the “best” job available this year was the head coaching position at the University of Tennessee. After several subpar years (four losing seasons in the last five years to be exact) Athletic Director Dave Hart went looking for someone to bring back the glory days to the Volunteer Nation.

Apparently Hart was turned down by former Super Bowl winning coach and current Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden. After he said no Hart then turned his attention to Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy and Charlie Strong. Both ended up saying no but not before the folks at Tennessee believed fully that Strong was their guy. The belief was so strong that people were tweeting the plane tail number of Tennessee’s major donor Jimmy Haslam claiming that the plane was either on it’s way to pick up Charlie Strong or was on it’s way back with him. After all the false hope Tennessee, the supposed best available job in college football, was still vacant and the Volunteer Nation was left wondering, “would former coach Phil Fulmer come back?”

By Friday morning Tennessee found it’s guy with the hiring of Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones. Jones was also ending his own coaching interview tour. He interviewed and turned down the jobs at Purdue and Colorado respectfully. He and Hart met for the first time Thursday evening in Lexington, Ky which would be about the mid point between Knoxville and Cincinnati. Around 5:45am Jones informed his Athletic Director that he was going to Tennessee and at 2:30pm EST he was formally introduced as Tennessee’s twenty-third head coach.


He and Hart apparently hadn’t slept and until Thursday had never spoken about the coaching position.

With the “best” job filled and other potential candidates signing long term extensions you can see why it’s called the “Silly Season.”

As of Sunday December 9th the following head coaching positions are still available:

Wisconsin, Texas Tech, Colorado, Louisiana Tech, Arkansas St., FIU, Kent St, Southern Miss, Temple, Western Kentucky, and Western Michigan.

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Missed Out On “Movember?” You’re Covered

By Dave Trausneck
Mustaches are as en vogue as spread formations in college football. Chances are you’ll make the cameo at a friend’s holiday get together and someone will have those mustaches on a stick that you and a few choice people will take pictures with and upload to Instagram.
But the Lexington Legends, the Kansas City Royals’ new Class A team in the South Atlantic League gave you a chance to play the ultimate one-upsmanship… or just show that mustaches belong in places other than a coffee shop in Portland, Seattle or Brooklyn.
Their brand new away uniforms include a green cap with a mustache logo only on the front.
 MustacheHat_resizeA logo like that can only make Tom Selleck, a sausage racer in Milwaukee or an 1890s barber blush.
More often than not, minor league teams get caught up in a web of heinous designs, such as this  Classic_Frog_resize,this graybill_resize,
this hwl-resize.

And occasionally, we see examples of professional catastrophes such as thisBARKELY-RESIZE

Never-mind the Legends’ primary and tertiary caps could pass as a ode to mid-1990s WCW or WWF logo type, it’s this stroke of genius on the mustache cap that makes the whiskers stand up above your upper lip.
The bromance over these flat brims (available in fitted and adjustable) seems to have spread from Wildcat country to at least 25 other states (according to team store employees). And if you’re looking to don the dapper cap in your neck of the woods this Christmas season, the adjustable version may be the only option you’ll be guaranteed to stuff in your stocking.
But the question come First Pitch 2013… will anyone get mustache rides?



90 seconds. That’s how long it took for the New York Knicks Rasheed Wallace to be ejected from a game against the Phoenix Suns. 90 seconds.

He had just entered the game when he was called for a technical foul. When Suns player Goran Dragic missed a free throw Wallace shouted out, “BALL DON’T LIE!” The ref’s then delivered a second technical foul to Wallace which sent him to the showers before he could even break a sweat.

Whether you agree with the call or not. Whether you like Rasheed Wallace and his 317 career technical fouls or not, you have to be impressed with this scene. Wallace could be heard clearly in the arena and on TV which says something for his vocals and not a lot for the New York fans. It would be safe to say that fans at a PGA event make more noise than the Knicks fans. In the end the NBA, the Knicks and Wallace can feel good about one thing, creating Internet gold.


MLS’s Bigger Problem

The LA Galaxy won their fourth MLS Cup this past weekend in what will be David Beckham’s final game with the team and possibly with MLS. While this is a very big deal, not just for the league but also for the team, the possible loss of America’s best player, Landon Donovan looms as an even bigger loss.


Donovan has now won five MLS Cups. He is the all time leading goal scorer for the US National team and is the unequivocal face of American soccer. Now he may have played his last game ever at the age of 30. If Donovan decides to call it a career it will not only be a loss for the Galaxy but also for MLS, the national team and for American soccer as a whole.

Years ago Donovan turned down the part-time (but well paying work) of playing for a European club to play in MLS and in particular for the Galaxy. It was a great coup for MLS having America’s best player choose to play at home and help build the league. He hasn’t disappointed. He even has the best selling MLS jersey for an American and third most popular behind Beckham and New York’s Thierry Henry.

Donovan’s departure from soccer would be an unexpected blow to the growth of soccer in American. While there are several possible replacements none have reached his level of success and those who have come chose play overseas.

If you look at the Galaxy in particular his lost would be bigger then the loss of Beckham. While Beckham is a brand name that reaches beyond soccer, sports, and into pop culture, Donovan provides so much more on the pitch. His ability to score, set up teammates, stretch the defense makes him a player you always have to account for. The minute you don’t, well you can just look for the ball in the back of the net. 

The Galaxy, MLS and the US National team have some interesting times in front of them. They want him back but at what point do you reach out to him. Too soon and you might drive him further away. Too late and you may never be able to get him back. The timing has to be just right. We should all hope they reach him at just the right time.

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