Limits To Rights

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


I’ve written a lot about cord-cutting and the sports fan on this site. I see it as an inevitability that at some point, probably during the re-upping of rights for the major sports leagues, that we will a significant change in how fans can access the games they want to see. The Wall Street Journal article on the YES Network’s negotiations with Comcast only magnify this point.

This past week Joe Flint and Matthew Futterman put together an outstanding article on the cost of sports rights with the regional sports networks. It’s a microcosm of the overall issue. What it really comes down to is different parts of major corporations trying to extract a whole bunch of money from one another.

Sports Rights RSNThis is a very high profile case because it involves the preeminent brand name in all of sports, the New York Yankees. Right now, if you live in the Yankees media footprint and have Comcast, you are not getting Yankees games next week.

Rut Roh.

The writers take it even further by point to this as a case of ‘how much further can this go?’ The consensus seems to be that people are not willing to pay anymore of their cable or satellite bundles even if it means missing the games they want to see. With costs rising and incomes staying flat, people have officially cut back.

This is a very interesting story with the public reaction right around the corner. Flint and Futterman did a great job and this is an article worth reading.

Cost Of Sports TV Raises Stakes in Yankees – Comcast Fight

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The Sunday: The Finale And The Lucky

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


MMA Legal In New York

It’s been a long, hard road for mixed martial arts to be legalized in New York. In the end all it took was the conviction of former House Speaker Sheldon Silver last fall to get the bill to the floor for a vote.

Needless to say, there were some very happy people at UFC’s corporate offices in Las Vegas.

 

Safe And Sound

NBA Hall of Famer and basketball legend Dikembe Mutombo escaped the attack at the Brussels airport unharmed. At 7’2″ he is hard to miss but he was resting in a lounge when the attack occurred.

 

Steph Curry Moment Of The Week

It wasn’t all fun and games for the Warriors this week. Curry’s Splash Brother Klay Thompson started celebrating a little too early on a shot….

https://twitter.com/_MarcusD_/status/713570366803681280

It’s ok though. The two combined for 73 points in the Warriors 1280-120 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

Not to be outdone, Denver Nuggets rookie Emmanuel Mudiay made this shot to beat the 76ers.

But LeBron may have topped them all with this dunk.

What To Watch: Fri. 3/25 – Sun. 3/27

All times are Pacific.

Friday March 25th

Virginia vs Iowa State – 4:10pm CBS: ISU can score points in a hurry but UVA can lock just about anyone down with ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in Malcolm Brogdon.

NY Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning – 4:30pm NHL.TV: The Islanders are only two points behind the Lightning for the lead in the Atlantic but those two points put them in a Wild Card slot.

Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs – 5:30pm  NBA League Pass: While the Warriors are getting all the press, the Spurs have lost 11 games all year and have yet to lose at home this season.

North Carolina vs Indiana – 7pm TBS: Two teams who have enough talent to win it all and are both playing with a desire to do so. Let’s not forget that they are two of the perennial powers in college basketball.

Guatemala vs USA – 7pm beIN Sports: Let’s get this 2018 World Cup Qualifying underway shall we?

 

Saturday March 26th

Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche – Noon NHL.TV: The Wild have had the Avs number over the last few seasons. Now the Wild hold the last playoff spot but are only a point ahead of the Avs. This one should be as close as you can get to playoff hockey during the regular season.

Oklahoma vs Oregon -3pm CBS: Oregon is the only Pac-12 team to make any noise in the tournament this year. Oklahoma is probably still the favorite with Buddy Hield leading the way.

Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning – 4pm NHL.TV: Tough back to back games for the Lightning. Their in-state rival is also the team they are battling for first place against.

St Louis Blues at Washington Capitals – 4pm NHL.TV: The Caps may have locked up everything under the sun this regular season but the Blues still have some work to do. This could be a legitimate preview of the Stanley Cup Final.

San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder – 5pm NBA TV: When these two play, it’s always something you want to tune in for.

Villanova vs Kansas -5:45pm CBS: If these teams play like they did in their Sweet 16 match-ups then we are in for a real treat.

 

Sunday March 27th

Virginia vs Syracuse – 3pm TBS: One of two ACC match-ups for the Elite 8. UVA defeated Syracuse in the only match-up between the two this year. Is one day enough for UVA to prepare for the Syracuse zone defense?

LUNDQVISTPittsburgh Penguins at NY Rangers – 4:30pm NBCSN: It’s not Sunday unless NBC is broadcasting a game featuring the Penguins or Rangers.

North Carolina vs Notre Dame – 5:45pm TBS: The second ACC match-up in the Elite 8 features two teams that split their season series (each winning the game on their home floor) but in different places. Notre Dame just got by Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 due to Wisconsin forgetting the fundamentals of basketball in the last two minutes. Meanwhile UNC is rolling right now. They might be the hottest team in the country.

Divide and Conquer

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


One high quality, unscripted show about an NFL franchise wasn’t enough so now we’ll have two.

This week the NFL announced that the Los Angeles Rams will be featured on the 2016 edition of HBO’s “Hard Knocks”. Meanwhile the NFL also announced a new original series on Amazon.com called “All or Nothing”. This show will feature the Arizona Cardinals and run the length of the season.
Gurley RAMS vs CardsBoth teams are logical choices and offer up a bunch of storylines for the producers to use. It is interesting that the NFL is going with an over-the-top (OTT) provider like Amazon because it begs the question, is Amazon the leading candidate to stream live NFL games? It was only a few weeks ago that SI reported that Facebook was in the fray for live streaming the Thursday Night games this fall.

Regardless if this is an indicator of who will stream live NFL games this season, this new show with Amazon only leads credence to the fact that OTT outlets are becoming more and more important. The NFL knows that OTT is going to be an important space for them and they better get some original content there sooner rather than later.

Launching a 20 plus week documentary is not an endeavor to be taken on lightly but the NFL is showing some caution in doing so. Let’s face it, it’s the Cardinals and they are not the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers or New England Patriots. It’s a quality football team with good storylines but not one of the marquee NFL franchises. This shows that the league is going into this with some caution and if some things don’t come off and views aren’t great, it is only the Cardinals after all.

You want more NFL? Well you got it.

 

The Local Darkside of Cord-Cutting

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


A few months ago I wrote about how cord-cutting has become a real option for sports fan with the introduction of Sling.tv and other OTT services. A few months into the switch I have uncovered one downfall of cord-cutting, not being able to watch local teams.

If you live in a region where there is no local sports team foot print (and good luck finding one) then you should be fine. If you live in Colorado Springs and cut the cord then also say goodbye to Avalanche, Nuggets, Rapids and Rockies games while sitting in the comfort of your own home.

Penguins Map
Pittsburgh Penguins Regional Sports Network Map. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

The current setup stipulates that if you live in a teams broadcast footprint then you have to watch those teams over their regional sports network (RSN). This is done for good reason too. The RSN’s have paid an absurd amount of money for the rights to these games. For example, the Dodgers received $8.35 billion from Time Warner for their deal and the Padres got $50 million a year from Fox and they haven’t been close to the playoffs since 1999. The last thing these big cable folks would want is to have MLB.tv or NHL.tv jump in and offer  much lower prices for the cord-cutters.

The downside of course is that the local fan who is not seeing their wage increase in this economy (which is a pretty common event) is left out on the cold. The options are to go to the game (not economically practical), spend the money for cable or satellite or go old school, listen to it on the radio.

Is there a viable alternative? Not right now. The facts are this, the costs of sports rights have gone up while incomes have gone sideways. Until RSN’s see a bigger decline in viewership which forces them to seek other profit generators like live streaming then cord-cutters are out of luck. It’s also good to remember that the digital rights of these games are probably still held by the league and the vast majority of these deals are locked up for a large period of time.

Needless to say, cord-cutters…break out the radio. An actual one too because the online radio rights are held by the leagues.

The Sunday: Dear God

By Brad Hubbard | @brahdubbard


Madness In Full Effect

To say it’s been a crazy couple of days in the NCAA Tournament would be an understatement.

Northern Iowa beat Texas on a half-court shot at the buzzer.

Multiple big seeds went down like Michigan State, West Virginia, Cal and Baylor. Baylor lost to Yale and Baylor’s Taurean Prince had the best response to a question about a rebound….ever.

It was so stressful that Arizona head coach Sean Miller sweated through his shirt…in the first half.

Or drive the bands to dance.

 

Careful

Paul DePodesta helped Billy Beane get the Oakland A’s up and running with the ‘Moneyball’ concept. But most people don’t know who he is, especially in the NFL.

DePodesta is now with the Cleveland Browns and on a recent trip back to Cleveland from Indianapolis after the NFL Combine, he heard some other NFL execs talking trash about him. How? He was standing in front of them in line.

Photobomb

There are two things you can do when your teammate is giving his end of the game interview to the media….photobomb it in the creepiest way possible.

 

Loss

John Harbaugh is a genuinely good guy. This week one of his players was killed in a motorcycle accident at the tender age of 23. Since there are no team activities and league rules prevent coach – player meeting this time of year, Harbaugh wrote a letter to his players. It’s worth reading.

An Open Letter to Our Team

Men,

Right now, this moment is an incredibly difficult time for our Team and our Family. One of our Brothers, Tray Walker, is fighting for his life. I know we are showering him, and covering he and his family, with Prayer and hope.

That was the kind of phone call you never want get as a coach, as a parent, as a brother, as a friend. This shook me and all of us. Like some of you, I haven’t been able to rest since hearing the news late last night.

As I focused about Tray this morning, some thoughts came to mind that I wanted to share. What would I say to my own son, if I had a son, in a situation like this? You guys are that important to me.

This is what I would be saying to you in the team meeting room if we were together today: There is a lot going on out there and you are going to be involved in tough and difficult situations. You are making and will continue to make important choices pretty much every day. That’s okay.  That’s our reality. It can even be very good to be put in different circumstances. To make it right, you are going to have to grow up fast. Probably faster than many of your friends and family.

Please remember to…

Lead in your home. Take care of Your Family and Yourself every single day. Think about who you are and where you are going, and what you stand for. Look after one another. Only then can you be your most effective on the job and in every area of your life.

Please consider your actions and choices. There are always consequences. Choose who you allow to advise you. Consider the quality of the council you take. Put yourself in positions to succeed. Turn away from unnecessary and risky behavior. Take care of your physical well-being. Live a healthy lifestyle. Pursue those things that make you better. Rest well. Eat well. Laugh with those who you love and love you. Fulfill your obligations effectively.

Be your own best friend. Do not be an enemy onto yourself. Turn away from trouble and harm. Walk away from foolish behavior. Ignore silly and unwise advice – You’ll know it when you see it.

Get to know those people in your life who manage to walk free from the weight of self-created obstacles. Get close to those who have gone where you want to go, and have accomplished what you want to accomplish. Grow Spiritually. Think about what and who you want to become.

I am asking you to consider what is at stake in your life. Consider what your thoughts, actions and choices mean to those around you. Live your life fully and with purpose. Have fun and share your happiness. Find Your Faith, and allow God to Grow Your Faith.

Let’s look out for one another. Be a great brother and friend. Inquire. Listen. Ask. Investigate. Reach out. Be There. Take a Step. Go For It.

Remember, We are Brothers in Arms. And, again, take care of each other.

John

Whoa

F1 returned this weekend with their race in Melbourne. Fernando Alonso wishes it had turned out differently as he went flipping and flying. Amazingly, he walked away from the crash.

 

Steph Curry Moment Of The Week & More

Curry was instant on making a buzzer beater on Friday.

LeBron showed off his skills this past week too…

But nothing may be as impressive as San Jose Earthquakes Quincy Amarikwa’s goal last week against Portland.

What To Watch: Fri. 3/18 – Sun. 3/20

All times are Pacific.

Friday March 18th

Dayton vs Syracuse – 9:15am CBS: 7 vs 10 match-ups are always upset prone.

Iowa vs Temple – 12:10pm TRUTV: Again, 7 vs 10 match-up.

Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors – 4:30pm NBA.TV: These two are first and second in the Atlantic division.

Michigan vs Notre Dame – 6:40pm CBS: The football rivalry may have ended but at least we get the basketball version in the Tourney.

Nashville Predators at Washington Capitals – 4pm NHL.TV: Two teams headed to the post season in a East vs West match-up.

Boston Bruins at Anaheim Ducks – 7pm NHL.TV: Tough task for the Bruins as they have to do a late season West Coast swing.

 

Saturday March 19th

Everton vs Arsenal – 5:45am NBCSN: You’ll be watching enough basketball to make your eyes pop out. Why not change it up and watch some top flight soccer?

Wichita State vs Miami – 9:10am CBS: The Shockers just seem to have the same players every year and every year make a run. Miami is a tough nut to crack. Very underrated team.

Sidney CrosbyPittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers – 10am NHL.TV: These two are conference, division and in-state rivals. Add in the fact that the Flyers are playing some pretty good hockey right now which means Sid and the boys will have their work cut out for them.

Indiana vs Kentucky -12:15pm CBS: This seems like it should be a Final Four meeting and not a 5 vs 4 game in the second round.

Detroit Red Wings at Florida Panthers – 4pm NHLN: The Red Wings are on the outside looking in right now while the Panthers are looking to maintain their spot atop the Atlantic division.

Virginia vs Butler – 4:10pm TBS: The real first chance for a number 1 seed to be taken down. Butler is Butler and they know how to knock off big dogs in the tournament.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacers – 4pm NBA League Pass: The Thunder and Pacers are both bound for the playoffs and both have a whole lot of talent to show off.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat – 4:30pm NBA League Pass: LeBron heads back to South Beach. Always fun to see and both lead their respective divisions.

Kansas vs UCONN – 4:45pm CBS: The Jayhawks should be nervous about this one. UCONN is one of the hottest teams in the country and know what it takes to win it all.

Klay ThompsonGolden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs – 5:30pm ABC: The team with the best chance of knocking off the Warriors might just be the Spurs. They just have to prove it now.

Boston Bruins at LA Kings – 7:30pm NHL.TV: Like we said earlier, this is a tough, late season road trip for the boys from bean-town.

LA Galaxy vs San Jose Earthquakes – 7:30pm MLS.TV: The Quakes are 2-0 to start a season for the first time ever. The Galaxy will be ready as these two revive the California Classico.

 

 

Sunday March 20th

Manchester City vs Manchester United – 9am NBC: What an awesome game to start a Sunday.

Iowa vs Villanova – 9:10am CBS: Villanova may be a higher seed but Iowa has shown all year long that they can knock off anybody at anytime.

VCU vs Oklahoma – 2:15pm CBS: VCU is a team you never want to play in this time of year regardless if Shaka Smart is no longer their coach. They know what it takes to wreak havoc.

Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins – 3pm NBCSN: Two playoff teams in the Eastern Conference measuring themselves out and two of the biggest stars in the NHL in Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.

Sporting KC vs Toronto FC – 4pm FS1: A whole lot of talent on display and one, if not THE best environment in all of MLS. Oh yeah, Dom Dwyer is on fire.

Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks – 5:30pm NBCSN: The Wild are hanging on by the skin of their teeth to that last playoff slot out west. Jonathan Toews and the Blackhawks could care less.

Dollars And Madness

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


As you fill out your bracket for that office pool you fully intend to win, it’s also a good time to stop and examine the money behind the NCAA Tournament. FRONTLINE looked into this several years ago in an episode called ‘Money and March Madness’.

Money and March MadnessThe revenue generated from the TV rights and the tickets and concession accounts for 90% of the NCAA budget. So this is truly the most important thing for the NCAA. It is the preverbal cash cow.

Andrew Zimbalist appeared on the Nightly Business Report to talk the numbers. Zimbalist is an economist at Smith College and has written several books on finance and sports. Zimbalist points out that the NCAA will bring in about $900 million and distribute about $200 million back to the schools that are in the tournament. While that is an absurd amount a money, the majority goes back to the 1100 schools that make up the NCAA and the 85 other championships that the NCAA helps put on. (The College Football Playoff is not run by the NCAA.)

Go to the 20:27 mark. 

Some would argue that this opening weekend of the tournament is the best sports weekend of the year. So while you are pretending to work and really secretly streaming the games on your computer or desperately trying to figure out what channel TRU TV is on, just remember the enormous amount of money that is brought in by the tournament.

 

 

That Didn’t Work

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


In case you weren’t watching (thank God I wasn’t) the NCAA Selection Show on CBS was successful in pissing off about every college basketball fan in the country.

Barkley with EJAwful Announcing did a great recap of why it was so horrible. In short, Charles Barkley can’t work a touch screen and the bracket was leaked on twitter before CBS could reveal it all. This lead to the lowest ratings in 20 years for the selection show.

SI’s Richard Dietsch tweeted,

We can only hope that’s true because social media was the equivalent of a forrest fire during the show. Probably a good idea to cut it back to an hour and never again let Charles Barkley near technology.

The Sunday: The Madness

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


March Madness

The Madness of March got off to an early start on Friday as there were multiple amazing shots to tie or win games. Some counted and some didn’t.

UCONN’s game tying shot.

Michigan’s upset win

The one that didn’t count

 

Uncle Rico

The Denver Broncos may have won the Super Bowl but they are not winning the off-season. They managed to lose both quarterbacks from last season in one week. Broncos star wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders came up with an option that he shared on twitter.

Other Bronco fans are point to another free agent with a history in Denver….Tebow.

The McGregor

Missed this one last week but it’s too good to not add in this week.

 

Steph Curry Moment Of The Week

…or just look away…