The Digital Example for Sports

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Bloomberg is a pretty big company. It’s founder, and current New York City Mayor, is Michael Bloomberg and the company itself has multiple units from Professional Services to News & Media.Those Media assets include Bloomberg TV and Telling the difference between the two is sometimes pretty difficult which is why sports leagues should take notice.

Bloomberg streams live TV and has on demand original shows like C-Suite. Other networks do this too, sort of. The difference, with Bloomberg is you don’t need any kind of TV subscription. It’s just out there and free for anyone to watch.

That’s right, free for everyone.

Bloomberg Video Page

Not an add on or free with your subscription. Just free.

To watch ESPN3 or use their WATCH ESPN App you need to sign in and prove you have a cable or satellite subscription. Even then you may not get complete access to all the live games (ask DIRECTV users about that). Bloomberg on the other hand is the complete opposite. They give total access to everyone regardless of cable or satellite subscription status.

The NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB all have their own TV networks yet not one has free, live streaming. They all have highlights from their broadcasts but none offer 24 hour live streaming of their studio shows much less their games.

Why not?

In a word, money. They feel they can make money doing it the same old way they’ve been doing it. They also probably fear that if they did something similar to Bloomberg then they’ll upset the cable or satellite operators.

As a man once said, ‘fear is tissue paper disguised as a brick wall.’ Make no mistake cable and satellite providers need content and the more live content the better. Sports is pretty DVR proof which means that people need to sit through ads. Why sports leagues continue to do it the same old way is beyond modern thinking.

To be fair, Bloomberg makes most of their money through their professional services division where they sell financial software tools, analysis and an actual Bloomberg terminal. So they are diversified within the financial world. However, this should mean that they would protect certain assets vs. opening them up to everyone. According to the old game plan that the sports leagues and ESPN are following is, ‘protect the TV and continue to charge the cable and satellite providers more per customer.’ But Bloomberg goes the new route. Open up as many revenue streams as possible by going where your customers are.

Yet here we are. In a world where a financial services/news company live streams their video content 24/7 for no charge and sports leagues and networks don’t or make you verify your paying status.

A word to the sports folks, from leagues to networks, follow the Bloomberg model. You’ll be amazed by the fan support, the young demo’s you’ll attract, and the new ad revenue streams. Or continue do they road you’re going and hope for the best. As one of Rumsfeld’s Rules states, “If you’re coasting, you’re going downhill.” (L.W. Pierson).


A Tough Spot

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Noel Mazzone is the Offensive Coordinator at UCLA. His son Grayson Mazzone is a WR at UCLA. During UCLA’s final drive of the game, Grayson went down with an apparent knee injury. UCLA went on to lose the game 38-33 to Arizona State.

Mazzone Down

FOX announce Gus Johnson pointed out the tough situation Noel was in. ‘A father’s dilemma’ or something to that extent. Johnson was right, it is an incredibly tough situation for a father.


Mazzone showed little to no emotion on the sideline as his son was carried off the field in obvious pain by the trainers. Noel was professional and focused on coming up with a play to get a first down and keep the UCLA drive alive.

The drive failed and UCLA went down to the Sun Devils.

It’s not a situation you often see. A coach in the midst of a possible game winning drive when his son goes down with an injury. It’s safe to say that Noel is with his son now.

How the Mazzone’s Ended Up at UCLA

The Constant

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

We’ve taken a brief look at the quick turnaround in football, we’ll now it’s time to look at sustainability in college basketball. While some programs are not what they use to be there is one that continues to be at the or near the top of the heap year after year, Duke.

Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K) has been at Duke for 34 years. He has won over 900 college basketball games. Won four National Championships and four Olympic Gold Medals (two as a head coach and two as an assistant). He is, in a word, consistent.

Courtesy CBSNEWS

Coach Krzyzewski is a coach some love to hate. The haters dislike his ability to consistently win games during the regular season and in the NCAA tournament. They dislike his teams’ attitude and ability to draw a charge in the lane. Some just dislike him because he’s been around so long.

Why he’s hated is also why he’s adored.

So how does he do it? He has assistants who are loyal to not only him but to Duke. All of his assistants are former players. He recruits players that fit the Duke style and until Elton Brand in 1999, he had a pretty good streak where is players played all four years. His methods, from coaching to recruiting to how he runs a practice, work.

Coach K has nothing left to prove. He has won everything there is to win in collegiate basketball (he passed on the NBA years ago). So why does he keep going? Only he can answer that but from an outsiders perspective, he coaches because he loves it and he’s damn good at it. Maintaining that is the challenge.

The Quick Turnaround

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Jones and Kingsbury

In this modern era, things happen fast. From business to sports. Everyone wants the reward now, the profits now, the lead now, you name it. People want it now and no one wants it faster than fans.While customers are demanding fans can be unforgiving. While coaches can sell ‘the process’ fans know that turnarounds can happen faster than ever even when you factor in ‘the process.’

Butch Jones, Gus Malzahn and Kliff Kingsbury were some of the bigger hires during this past off season in college football. All have had their ups and downs this season and all have the possibility of a bowl game within reach.

While Kingsbury and Texas Tech have had more success on the field Jones and his Tennessee Volunteers have no doubt had a tougher road. To this point the Vols have played six teams in the top 15 and their seventh will be on Saturday as they host Auburn. The current 4-5 mark was within inches of being 5-4 but there is no doubt that Coach Jones has a long road to hoe or as he refers to it as ‘the process’.

Speaking of Auburn, they are currently ranked in the top 10 a year after not winning a conference game. With new head coach and former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn at the helm, the Tigers have shown a lot of fight and even pulled off a few upsets. The are now a legitimate threat to no.1 Alabama in the Iron Bowl in a few week.

Kingsbury has revitalized a fan base still bruised from the firing of Mike Leach a few years ago and left disillusioned by the Tommy Tuberville regime. Kingsbury has done it with true freshmen QB’s (one a walk on) and a little bit of West Texas magic. While they will not win the Big 12 this season they are going to a bowl game and the expectations have been elevated for next season.

While all the coaches are different and all of the circumstances unique, all three are on a path to turning around a football program. While some have made that turn faster than others the expectations of the fans will always be for an overnight success. Right or wrong, a quick turnaround can be a coaches own worse enemy.

Auburn @ Tennessee – 9am ESPN

Kansas St @ Texas Tech – 9am ABC/ESPN3

The More Loyal Fan

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Slingbox MLS

It can be very easy to sit at home and watch whatever game you want to watch in this day and age. The options at this point are almost unlimited. When you travel however you are at the mercy of your location and your technology. While the technology aspect of this has been attacked by tech folks such as slingbox and content providers like ESPN one thing that they cannot rely on but hope for is the loyalty of the fan. And the most loyal fans may not be in the arena. 

People travel, even if it’s to another neighborhood for a birthday party. People always seem to gather around a sporting event. Almost like they are desperately seeking some sort of normalcy. This is truer for those hard charging business travelers. Trying to find the World Series game while in London or gathering around a laptop in a ballroom of a hotel because it’s the only place to find the MLS playoff match. People can go to unusual lengths to watch the game or team of their choice.

But why? A sense of loyalty? A sense of routine? Whatever the reason, travel makes you a better sports fan. A more loyal fan. When you go to such lengths and have nothing else to do but watch the game, you become more engaged. You watch more intently. You analyze it more. You become more involved.

This can be some big money too. Think about when the time comes when advertisers can see which fans are watching where and how engaged they are. That fan that jumped through four or five hoops and slipped the IT guy at the hotel an extra $50 to kick up the bandwidth is probably more loyal & profitable than the person in the stands. Not to mention that they found a way to fit into their carry on a scarf of their favorite club or a jersey of their favorite team.

It can be pretty easy to identify great, passionate sports cities. Places like Seattle or Indianapolis support their teams to a fault. But sometimes we look for the passionate fans inside the stadium as opposed to outside of it. Some, not all but some, of the most passionate, loyal and profitable fans are far, far away from their home field.

What to Watch Friday 11/1-Sunday 11/3

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Baseball is done…and back to football.


Miami Heat @ Brooklyn Nets- 5pm ESPN: The two time defending champs head north to take on the revamped Nets. Could be fun.

USC @ Oregon St. – 6pm ESPN2: Corvallis, OR is always a tough place to play especially with one of the top scoring offenses in the country resides there. USC has one of the best defenses around (minus the Arizona St game of course). It’s a battle of wills on your Friday night.


Virginia Tech @ Boston College – 9am ABC: Trap game for Va Tech. They get Miami next week and the Fighting Addazio’s make life tough for everybody. Look for an upset in Chestnut Hill which would be back to back losses for the Hokies.

UNC @ NC STATE – 9:30am ESPN3: Not a sexy game on paper but this one is going to be all about pride. Both schools need a win and both have enough talent to be a lot better than their records indicate.

Minnesota @ Indiana – 12:30pm BTN: Normally a really good basketball game but this one features a high powered offense by IU and a stanch D by Minnesota. Bowl implications on the line in Bloomington.

Oklahoma St @ Texas Tech – 4pm FOX: Gus Johnson will announce this possible shootout in West Texas. You’re welcome.

Miami @ Florida St. – 5pm ABC: It’s awesome to see this game matter again and in primetime no less. Famous Jameis gets another stage to show off for the Heisman voters.

Portland Timbers @ Seattle Sounders- 7pm NBCSN: A Cascadia Playoff game? This is must see TV. Even if you don’t like soccer, you should watch this. It will change your mind.


San Diego Chargers @ Washington – 10am CBS: Could be a shootout of epic proportions in DC.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots – 1:25pm CBS: Tom Brady vs Ben Roethlisberger. It’s not what it use to be but it’s still a battle of Super Bowl winning QB’s. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Real Salt Lake @ LA Galaxy – 6pm ESPN: The defending champs have a tough road to another MLS Cup. It starts against the one team you don’t want it to start against, RSL.