The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 10.31.2016

While many point to the end of the calendar year as the ‘most wonderful time of the year’, those folks are clearly not sports fans. While the yule log, spiked eggnog and massive amount are nice, they do not compare to the last week of October and the first week of November.

World SeriesSeveral years ago the World Series got kicked back a little bit. Now the baseball season overlaps with the NFL,college football, CFL and MLS for a two solid months. Add in the start of the NHL and NBA regular seasons and you have got sports on seven days a week.

After Halloween, the Mid-American Conference (MAC) starts playing football games during the week which means that there is football on seven days a week. Add this to the NFL games on Thursday, Sunday and Monday and it can be easy to see why some people get ‘football overload’ and turn to something else.

While the Holiday Season is great, it does not compare to this time of year. From the World Series to pivotal college football games to the MLS playoffs. The games this time of year are more important than the ones during the Holiday’s. So enjoy the Indian Summer some of you are getting and enjoy the sports overload.

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The Sunday – Hope, Hops and DuckBear

Compiled by Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

What Was That?

It certainly sounded like Eli Manning had a call entitled ‘Trump’ but he denies it.

The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals played….well it was a football game that ended in a tie. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll’s reaction to the game winning field goal attempt that went left pretty much sums it up.

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner does have some hops though…

https://twitter.com/CauldronICYMI/status/790362301761134592

Please Excuse…

Because if you ditched class, you got to see this….

 

Angry Fan

The NBA is back and so are pissed off 76er fans. Don’t know what’s better, the fat, white guy fired up and giving double fingers to Westbrook or Westbrook’s reaction.  Almost seems like a summary of the election.

And no basket for you!

 

Saturday!

Kind of sums up Georgia’s day.

Lamar Jackson induces UVA fans to do the ‘Surrender Cobra’ after this game winning throw.

We see you Kelvin Harmon

Seth Russell and Baylor may have lost to Texas but it’s clear that Russell has some athletic ability.

Be More Like This

With the country fracturing apart due to many reasons there is hope. Hope that is reflected in this video.

Then there was this

But doing pushups in this is hard….

The NFL’s Bad Media Calls

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 10.25.2016

rodgersIt seemed like the NFL was getting it when they signed on with Twitter to live stream the first 10 Thursday Night football games. Then they limited the amount of original content with NFL footage that the 32 teams could post on social media outlets such as Twitter. Lately, the media has been abuzz with the ratings decline through the first seven weeks. It appears that the NFL is calling the wrong plays when it comes to media.

Drew Harwell of the Washington Post penned an article a week or so ago trying to explain the possible reasons for the TV ratings decline. There are many variables that are effecting the ratings including the Presidential Election, cord cutting, and an aging demographic.

Harwell made a couple of interesting points in his article. First, during the 2000 and 2008 Presidential Elections, the league saw a ratings decline. Second is that overall TV viewership among those 24 years old and younger is down some 40%.

Another intriguing variable is the cord cutting. While apps like Sling TV and Watch ESPN increase in usage it is not enough to offset the viewership decline on traditional TV. What this means is that, yes people are watching in “non-traditional” ways (via mobile phones, tablets, laptops, etc) but these numbers are big enough to say ‘hey, people are just watching this way vs the traditional way.’

One way to embrace those younger fans is to reach them where they are. On mobile devices and on social media. Kind of thought that the NFL was doing this when they signed the deal with Twitter to steam the Thursday Night games. Then they limit game highlights on team social media accounts. The teams have come up with some creative solutions that help feed their fans desire for info but also troll the NFL league office at the same time.

The NFL should be the leaders as far as video distribution on social networks. This should be one of the most important things that the NFL does outside of the game itself. Do bad ratings lead you to not watch a game on a Sunday? Probably not. Does bad social media discourage you from following your favorite team? Probably. If you can’t see the awesome one handed catch by Julio Jones that everyone is talking on Facebook then where do you expect someone 25 years old to see it?

Overall, the NFL isn’t going anywhere but they can certainly stop shooting themselves in the foot. They can do this by getting their content to fans where fans are which is everywhere. Will ratings take a hit? Sure but you’ll make up that revenue and exposure on other platforms and on some platforms that haven’t even been created yet.

The Sunday -Cubs Win But China Knows How to Celebrate

Compiled by Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 10.23.2016

No Fun League

The NFL may be called  the ‘No Fun League’ but others pick up the slack like the Chinese Arena Football League. That’s right, the Chinese Arena Football League.

https://twitter.com/CauldronICYMI/status/787788136478900224

 

Golden Tate and Odell Beckham Jr are doing their best to keep great celebrations in the NFL.

https://twitter.com/CauldronICYMI/status/787779242922835968

And Patrick Peterson is trying to take it to the next level.

The Luddite

Bill Belichick doesn’t care for the Microsoft Surface tablets seen on the sidelines of NFL games.

Solid Cut

Cut finger on a drone during your off day? That’s ok, you can still pitch a few innings.

No Mic No Problem

Flipping

 

Never Forget Where You Came From

Winning your first WNBA title…..you thank one of the greatest coaches in basketball history the late Pat Summitt. Candace Parker, you are the best.

The Big Hit

Let’s be honest, the best interceptions are in the Big Ten….

Washington State’s Mike Leach claimed that Arizona State is stealing signals. There is nothing illegal about it but Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham let Leach know that he didn’t appreciate it after losing to the Cougars Saturday night.

DUDE!

The Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series. First time since 1945. They will play the Cleveland Indians who have not won a World Series since 1948. Well, someone has to win this one.

What’s great about the Cubs going to the World Series? This lady!

Diary of a Sports Cord Cutter: Easier To Use and Follow Ups

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 10.19.2016

As we all know, Twitter is live streaming the NFL’s first 10 Thursday Night games. A couple of games in, you are starting to see some to of the changes that needed to be made not only for the games but for Twitter’s live strategy.

twitterads-they-started-mondayBefore the Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers game I saw more advertisements within the Twitter application further out from the game. I also received an email with a straight forward graphic reminding me about the game. These are both things that Twitter didn’t appear to be during Week 1.

 

twitterliveBy the time the Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers game rolled around the next Thursday, there was a video player inside the desktop application right next to the ‘Trends’ section.This is a big and necessary change especially for new users of the platform. Granted this is only on the desktop/laptop view and not the mobile view but it’s a start.

There are two parts of streaming NFL games that Twitter needs to nail. First show that the platform is stable enough to have the capacity that the NFL and others are going to need. They’ve done that.

The second part is to get users, new and existing, to watch and you can only do that through advertising inside and outside of Twitter.

With the combination of ads within the application running further out from the game and the email campaign, Twitter is getting the second half of this right because the stability and quality of the live stream is great.

Follow Up:

Last week I posted about the low hanging fruit that Sling TV and other OTT providers could pick. Those are the league channels like MLB Network, NBA TV and NHL Network among others. Well in a blog post on Sling TV’s website on October 19th announced that the NHL Network was now available in the sports package.

Princess of Darkness

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 10.17.2016

Amy Trask was the first female NFL executive. There have been female owners, wives, daughters and others but she was none of these when she went to work for Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders. She worked her way up from an intern to be CEO of one of the NFL’s most storied and divisive franchises and along the line gained the nickname ‘Princess of Darkness.’

Amy TraskTrask has a new book out called ‘You Negotiate Like a Girl: Reflections on a Career in the National Football League’ and was recently featured on the Sports Business Radio podcast. One of the stories she told was how Davis didn’t consider her a woman and how that was one of the more special moments of her career.

Trask makes the point, ‘Don’t we all want to be regarded without respect to gender, ethnicity, race, religion, all of those characteristics which have no bearing what so ever on whether we can do a job.’ It’s a perspective that has examples all over the Raider organization. The Raiders were the first team to hire a Hispanic head coach (Tom Flores), an African American head coach (Art Shell) and numerous young coaches (Jon Gruden and Lane Kiffin).

Trask may not consider herself a trailblazer but she was. I look forward to reading Trask’s book and I also look forward to more NFL franchises seeing things the way Davis did when it comes to race, gender, ethnicity and so on. It is 2016 after all.

Sports Business Radio Podcast

The Sunday – Hitting and Debuts

Compiled by Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 10.16.2016

I Love You

The New York Giants may have lost but OBJ won. He won.

 

Hit like a girl

Kelly Macnamara is the first female kicker for North Penn high school….and can lay the lumber.

How Bout This Catch

Who Needs Offense

Tennessee’s comeback heroic’s ran out last weekend and this weekend they were taken behind the woodshed by Alabama’s defense and special teams.

Bowled Over

This moment pretty much sums up Texas Tech’s defense.

Statement

Wisconsin basketball player made a statement during ESPN College Gameday with a sign that you can see below. All the money received will go to Boys & Girls Club.

Goodbye Big Papi

 

The Debut

World, meet Auston Matthews the player in NHL history to score four goals in his NHL debut and he did it in only 2 periods! Not bad for a kid from Arizona.  Here’s all four of them.

Takedown

But seriously….thank GOD hockey is back. Why? We get takedowns like this….on ice!

 

Diary of a Sports Cord Cutter: Easy Wins

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 10.12.2016

Wednesday brings the opening of the 2016/2017 NHL season. With that comes a solid OTT package (full season for $140) and a once a week game live on Twitter. What of course is offered to cord cutters like myself is the league channel, NHL Network. Neither them nor MLB Network nor NBA TV are available in an OTT package but the NFL is. This seems like an easy win that the leagues are not taking advantage of.

NHL NetworkThe league networks have evolved over the years to include live games. NBA TV, NHL Network and MLB Network all show regular season games while MLB Network will actually broadcast a playoff game or two. If you are are cord cutter like myself you are out of luck when it comes to these. While that may not hurt all that much since the games are usually available with the OTT league package, it does make the decision for the casual instead of giving them the choice. If your the league and have your live game content available on every device/service know to man, why wouldn’t you cut a deal to get your network onto Sling TV or Playstation Vue? It seems like an easy win and a simple way to gain new fans.

 

MLB NETWORKWhen DISH Network (Sling TV’s parent company) and the NFL came to an agreement earlier this summer, it would seem that others would follow. All of the leagues are trying to stay relevant during the offseason with some original content, live draft coverage, etc, yet none of this content is available to cord cutters. On the surface it doesn’t appear to violate any existing TV contracts yet these channels and it’s niche content anyway which is right down the cord cutters avenue.

The league channels, outside of the NFL, are not a necessity for OTT providers or for fans. They really don’t ‘move the needle’ so to speak however, it is cheap, easy content for OTT channels and nice to haves for the end user.

What’s Happening Out West?

Compiled by Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 10.10.2016

For those that may have been asleep, there is a tectonic shift happening in the PAC-12. As Fox Sports Stewart Mandel points out, the Oregon Ducks and Stanford Cardinal have won the past seven PAC-12 titles. No USC, UCLA, or Washington in site. Now, the Ducks are losers of four in a row and Stanford has been manhandled in two consecutive conference loses. So the question is, what happened?

First, the Washington Huskies are pretty good. The #5 Huskies have defeated the Cardinal and the Ducks in back-to-back weeks by a combined score of 114-27. Impressive yes but it’s how they beat these two that makes you stand back and take notice. They overpowered the Cardinal recording 8 sacks along the way and bullying the perennial bully. They then went into Autzen Stadium and hung 70 on the Ducks. A team they had not beaten in a dozen years.

Stanford didn’t recover losing the Washington State at home on Saturday night. It was another game where the offensive line was beaten up, although this time they only gave up four sacks.

The Ducks meanwhile have become the an oil spill. The once high powered offense is unable to make up for a defense that cannot stop a nose bleed since the second half of last years Alamo Bowl. Changes were made including a change in defensive coordinators and scheme.

After back-to-back seasons with a graduate transfer named the opening day quarterback, the Ducks have now turned to freshman Justin Herbert. Herbert may turn out to be a fine quarterback but it makes you wonder why head coach Mark Helfrich was unable to recruit a starting quarterback since he became head coach?

Helfrich has developed quarterbacks throughout his career. From Andrew Walter at Arizona State to Marcus Mariota at Oregon. This is his fourth season as head coach and he has yet to recruit and develop a quarterback.

Stanford head coach David Shaw has another problem. How does a team that has flat out overpowered teams over the last decade all of sudden forget how to do it? Add to that that his star player, Christian McCaffery, has been stuffed by opposing defenses and is now dinged up to the point that he may not play Saturday against Notre Dame.

In both cases you have to look at the head coaches. Did these coaches and their staffs identify the right players in the recruiting process and sign them? Are their players not responding to coaching? More often than not, when programs that have had as much success as Stanford and Oregon have over the last decade, players have a tendency to become complacent. They almost feel like it should be handed to them and they don’t have to work for it anymore.

Helfrich and Shaw have some tough mountains to climb. Neither thought that they would be in this place at this point in the season. While Helfrich and the Ducks have an off week to like their wounds and regroup, Shaw must find an answer this week in South Bend. The other fact is that while the media will always fawn over USC and UCLA, the Huskies are the team to beat out west.

The Sunday – Endings, Catches and Big Hits

Compiled by Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 10.2.2016

Endings

Vin Scully signs off.

Big Papis days coming to an end.

 

Ryan Howard tips his cap to Philly.

 

Catches and Throws

Odell Beckham Jr is getting a lot of heat lately. Probably because the ball guy had a better catch than he did. What you got OBJ?

Beer thrown…

 

Photo Bomb Penalty Box Style

HEY! SIGN THIS JERRY!

College Football Saturday

Another Week and another big lick on the Big Toe.

Let the big guy score.

When you play in a hurricane, everything is harder. The only touchdown in the Notre Dame at NC State game came this way. Notre Dame’s two games in the Carolina’s since ‘joining’ the ACC, both played in driving rain storms.

With all the wet weather it’s only appropriate that Navy gets the biggest upset of the weekend and possibly the year.

And do they get in return for the upset? How bout a day off?

A little something for the boys.

Tennessee at Texas A&M had some massive hits and a ton of stoppages due to injuries. In fact the game lasted some 5 hours. The biggest hit though may have been on the line judge.