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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What to Watch: Fri. 3/11 – Sun. 3/13

All times are Pacific.

Friday March 11th

Baylor vs Kansas – 4pm ESPN2: The Big 12 tournament kicks into high gear.

Philadelphia Flyers at Tampa Bay Lightning – 4:30pm NHL.TV: Flyers are agonizingly close to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference while the Lightning are battling it out for one of the top seeds.

Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls – 5pm NBA.TV: The Heat lead the Southeastern division while the Bulls have fallen off a bit but are still a dangerous group.

DUCKS V BLUESAnaheim Ducks at St Louis Blues – 5pm NHL.TV: The Ducks have been come down to Earth after winning something like 10 in a row. Both are playoff bound. Expect some excellent hockey in this one.


Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars – 5:30pm NHLN:
These two are tied for the top spot in the Western Conference and on top of the Central. Both are two of the top teams in the entire league.

Oklahoma vs West Virginia – 6pm ESPN2: OU may have the Big 12 player of the year (Buddy Hield) and swept the season series but pay no mind to that. Bob Huggins will have his team ready to play and they are still a top 10 team mind you.

Arizona vs Oregon – 6pm PAC12: Oregon is trying to lock up a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament but Arizona needs a win to improve their seeding too.

Portland Trailblazers at Golden State Warriors – 7:30pm NBA League Pass: You want to watch this one just to see what Steph Curry and Damian Lillard are going to do to one up each other.

 

Saturday March 12th

NY Islanders at Boston Bruins – 10am NHL.TV: A little morning hockey with two playoff bound teams.

New England Revolution vs DC United – Noon MLS.TV: These two were at the top of the Eastern Conference standings last season. Good early season matchup.

Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors – 4pm NBA League Pass: Talk about tough back-to-back road games for the Heat. First Chicago and then up to the Great White North. That’s just mean.

Sporting KC vs Vancouver Whitecaps – 5:30pm MLS.TV: SKC looks to lay out the unwelcome mat for the Caps. Both should be a force in the Western Conference again.

Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs – 5:30pm ABC: Probably the only two teams who have a legit chance of knocking off the Warriors when it comes playoff time. Durant, Duncan, Westbrook, Parker and of course the media mogul Poppovich.

BLUES V STARS FIGHTSt Louis Blues at Dallas Stars – 6pm NHLN: Both are looking to unseat the Blackhawks in the Central and claim the top spot. They should both be pretty sick and tired of each other by this point of the season. Sprinkle in the back side of back-to-back games and it could get nasty out there.

Washington Capitals at San Jose Sharks – 7:30pm NHL.TV: The Caps look to close out the brutal west coast road trip with a win in the shark tank.

 

Sunday March 13th

LUNDQVISTPittsburgh Penguins at NY Rangers – 9:30am NBC: Sidney Crosby and the Pens look to give themselves some breathing room when it comes to the playoff race. The Rangers are strong and will be strong once Henrik Lundqvist and Rick Nash return.

Cleveland Cavaliers at LA Clippers – 12:30pm ABC: Enough talent on display to make you stop you Sunday yard work and camp out in front of the TV.

NYCFC vs Toronto FC – 2pm ESPN2: Lot of star power on display and hopefully that means goals a plenty.

NCAA Selection Show – 2:30pm CBS: Who is in and who is out. Let the second phase of March Madness begin!

The Sunday: Quiet Time and Going Overboard

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Quiet Time

Conor McGregor had to eat his humble pie. He was choked out by the fast talking Nate Diaz at UFC 196. His voice is now lower, bravado toned down and lessons learned.

 

First Base

Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh has been just about everywhere….even first base.

It will almost be a disappointment when the off-season is over and he actually has to coach football and not climb trees, hang out at the State of the Union or just Netflix and Chill.

 

Angry Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist is one of, if not the best goalie in the NHL. And just like you and I, he can have a bad day and want to flip something over that is near him. For Lundqvist that was a net.

 

Capsized

Team Oracle capsized their catamaran. There is really nothing more to be said. It’s a boat flipping over.

 

Blades of a Remake

Yep. This actually happened. 

 

Steph Curry Moment of the Week

Brought to you this week by Damian Lillard.

BAM

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


A few weeks ago I wrote a post about concurrent streams and MLB Advanced Media’s Bob Bowman. Bowman is a major player if not the major player in live streaming. So when he speaks, it’s important to listen.

Bowman touches on a lot of subjects related to live streaming but he also touches on social media, hiring and narratives.

Concurrent Availabilty

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Bob Bowman knows his stuff. 

Bowman is the head of MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM for short or just BAM) which streams more than just baseball. They also handle HBO, WWE, NHL and others. So when he talks about the probability of a Google or Apple taking over the NFL’s Thursday Night Football (TNF) digital rights and delivering three to five million concurrent streams on a weekly basis, he is rightfully pessimistic.

Code Conference

Bowman is incorrect in one fact, someone has done a big number of concurrent streams before. The Red Bull Stratos jump a few years ago did eight million concurrent streams. YouTube did not say that these were all in the US which is why Bowman said that ‘no one has come close.’ No one has come close to doing it on a regular basis much less every Thursday Night.

It is interesting to note that one of the most influential people in streaming live events is saying that a tech company will not solely own sports rights any time soon. Looks like a semblance of the status quo will remain for quite some time

Later 2015

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


2015 is in the rearview mirror and 2016 is upon us. What will it bring? Who will win the big events? These questions and others will only take a matter of time to answer. Since we have data about the past and only theories about the future, let us take one last look back at some of the better moments of 2015.

The Interception

 

Show Stealer

 

Oops

 

It Would Be A Pharaoh

 

Best Flip Ever

 

Another Smashing Of The Glass Ceiling

 

Amazing Catch 

 

Not a bad year. Below are links to some other great recaps from 2015.

Sports Illustrated

Women In Sports

 

 

The Sunday: The End, The Beginning & Why We Keep Watching

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The Best Hangs’em Up

Abby Wambach was the best. We say ‘was’ because she announced this week that she will retire from the game after the USWNT December 16th game against China. Currently she has had 252 appearances on the international stage and 184 goals. Hats off to the best.

Power Outage

PLEASE STAND BYGame one of the World Series is kind of a big deal….and then the power goes out to the TV trucks. That’s essentially what happened to FOX during game one. Luckily it was just FOX (along with Televisa and NHK) and not the stadium itself.

FOX did rally well and was tapped into the MLB feed a few minutes later so the game could continue.

Yes they did delay the game.

 

Shootout To Ends All Shootouts 

If you didn’t watch the shootout in the MLS Cup Playoff knockout match between Portland and Sporting KC then stop what you are doing and click on the video below. It was unbelievable, un….everything. That includes breaking the laws of physics.

 

Yeah, That Shouldn’t Have Counted

Miami Lateral GraphicPlease see image to the right. Looks amazing right? Ok, now go watch the video below. We count a knee down of a Miami player before he pitched the ball, three blocks in the back (only one drew a referee’s flag & was reviewed which isn’t reviewable but officials didn’t enforce it anyway), a Miami player running onto the field towards the end of the play from the sidelines with his helmet off (too many men on the field and a player with helmet off are both penalties) and the replay officials are like, ‘yeah looks fine. Want to go to the Halloween party?’ To be fair….no there really isn’t fair here. Duke got screwed.

 

The End Of The Project

GrantlandESPN shuttered Grantland. The long format mix of sports and entertainment started by now ex – ESPN employee Bill Simmons had a lot of twists and turns. It, ironically enough, deserves its own ESPN 30 for 30. The sight did prove two important things: One person is not more powerful than a Disney subsidiary & long format content can work in the era of 140 character limits.

 

The Shorts From Saturday

It’s called elevation holmes.

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What To Watch – Fri. 10/30 – Sun. 11/1

All times are Pacific.

The best time of year because we have NFL, College Football, NBA, NHL, MLS Playoffs and World Series not to mention Nascar and F1.

Friday October 30

Dartmouth at Harvard – 4:30pm NBCSN: Both are 6-0 and tied for first place a top the Ivy League.

KC Royals at NY Mets – 5pm FOX: Game 3 with the Royals up 2-0. This one is in NY though and that can make a huge difference.

Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets – 6:30pm ESPN: Defending champs go on the road to a team that is one of their main challengers this season.

 

Saturday October 31st

Chelsea vs Liverpool -5:45am NBCSN: Liverpool looks for it’s first win under the leadership of Jurgen Klopp. Chelsea looks to turn the season around.

2015 Rugby World Cup Final – 9am NBC: It’s Australia vs New Zealand.

Florida vs Georgia – 12:30pm CBS: We don’t care, it’s still ‘The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.’

Oklahoma State at Texas Tech – 12:30pm ESPN: Plenty of points and a tough place for the Pokes to get a win.

Nashville Predators at LA Kings – 1pm NHL Gamecenter: The Preds are the best in the West and LA isn’t far behind.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Toronto Maple Leafs – 4pm NHLN: Sidney Crosby heads to the heart of the hockey world.

Michigan at Minnesota – 4pm ESPN: Michigan is a hard nosed football team and Minnesota will be playing with a heavy heart as their head coach retired due to health reasons.

Notre Dame at Temple – 5pm ABC: Huge game for the undefeated Temple Owls. First visit by ESPN Gameday, they’ve never been undefeated this late in the season. The question becomes, can they handle it all?

KC Royals at NY Mets – 5pm FOX: Game 4.

Stanford at Washington State – 7:30pm ESPN: For the lead in the PAC-12 North believe it or not.

 

Sunday November 1st

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers – 10am CBS: Boy these two teams are good this year and the Steelers look like they might get Big Ben back under center.

goalDC United vs NY Red Bulls – Noon ESPN: One of the longest standing rivalries in MLS. NYRB took home the Supporters Shield again this year but will Jesse Marsch be able to lead them to an MLS Cup?

NY Jets at Oakland Raiders – 1pm CBS: No seriously, this game should be really good.

Portland Timbers vs Vancouver Whitecaps – 2pm ESPN: If you didn’t watch arguably the most exciting MLS Playoff game ever the other night then…well you missed out. Portland was able to survive and now they host Cascadia Cup foes Vancouver.

Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos – 5:30pm NBC: Two undefeated teams square off in the Mile High City. Can the Broncos find their offense?

Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas – 6:30pm FS1: FC Dallas has arguably the toughest road to MLS Cup. Why? Your first playoff game is going to be in front of the largest crowd in typical Seattle wet and cold conditions.

 

If none of these do it for ya, Twitch is running a marathon of ‘The Joy of Painting.’

The New Gambling That Isn’t

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Like many of you out there we wondered it ourselves, ‘how is FanDuel and DraftKings legal?’ They advertise winning money off of sporting events. That sure looks and smells like gambling. It is however not gambling according to federal law and these two entities look like they are here to stay.

Fantasy Sports Guys

Some outlets have asked this question and a Forbes article from September pretty much nailed itEssentially these companies are walking the fine line between ‘skill’ and ‘chance’. In other words, you have to have some skills and knowledge to win one of their daily contests while gambling is perceived as pure chance (or so says the law).

Screenshot 2015-10-03 14.07.04

We can imagine that there will be legal challenges sooner rather than later. In fact last month Rep. Frank Pallone called for hearings on the daily fantasy sports organizations We figured that he was just annoyed by the amount of ads he had to endure during the kickoff of the 2015 football season. The Representative from New Jersey should know, as Adam Kilgore states in his article for the Washington Post:

In 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gaming and Enforcement Act (UIGEA) specifically defined fantasy sports and carved out a law protecting them. The lawmakers behind the act did not consider daily fantasy sports, because they did not exist at the time.

Laws do outlaw sports gambling online but as we all know, if you want to gamble online, you can. You can still do it legally in Nevada too.

FanDuelThis can really go one of two ways; first these daily fantasy sports sites find legal protection and this paves the way for the lifting of the ban on sports gambling nationwide or some conservative legislatures try to move these sites under the gambling label and outlaw them on a national level. There would be some very wealthy people who would have a vested interest in seeing these sites go away. Some of them donate a lot of money to politicians too.

We’re leaning to the former here at Sideline Signals and here is why, they have influential well financed backers.

The backers for DraftKings and FanDuel include the following according to Crunchbase:

MLB Ventures, Major League Soccer, NBA Ventures, Google Ventures, Comcast Ventures, 21st Century Fox, Time Warner Ventures, NBC Sports Ventures and the Kraft Family. Not to mention VC firms like Atlas Venture.

Not every sports entity is excited about the rise of the daily fantasy sports leagues. The Power 5 conferences have asked the leagues to pull back from collegiate sports. Not the NCAA but the Power 5 conferences. They will take their sponsorship money, but apparently don’t want them promoting betting on college athletics during their games. Sounds American enough.

Capitalism shows us time and time again that if there is a loophole in a law people will find a way to drive a truck through it. In this case it’s a very public loophole with some big, deep pocket people driving semi’s through it. Could these two daily fantasy sports sites lead to lifting the nationwide ban on sports gambling? Only time will tell. What we do know is that you will be seeing ad’s for these two sites for the foreseeable future.

Further Reading:

NY Times

NPR

Business Insider

 

UPDATE:

It looks like legal inquiries will be happening even sooner for daily fantasy sports companies. The New York Times is reporting what amounts to insider trading at DraftKings. As the article by Joe Drape and Jacqueline Williams states:

The statements were released after an employee at DraftKings, one of the two major companies, admitted last week to inadvertently releasing data before the start of the third week of N.F.L. games. The employee, a midlevel content manager, won $350,000 at a rival site, FanDuel, that same week.

This is the first major PR and legal hurdle for the industry. It will be interesting to hear how it plays out and if this means government restrictions for the industry.

What To Watch Thurs. 9/17 – Sun. 9/20

All times are Pacific.

Thursday September 17th

Clemson at Louisville – 4:30pm ESPN: Your chance to watch Clemson QB Deshaun Watson in person. He is something to see.

ManningDenver Broncos at KC Chiefs – 5:25pm CBS: Denver is not the same offense it was a year ago but man was that defense impressive in week one. KC looks to finally get a touchdown pass into the hands of a wide receiver.

 

 

Friday September 18th

Florida State at Boston College -5pm ESPN: BC always seems to give people trouble when they play at home and at night. Well this game is at home and at night.

LA Angles at Minnesota Twins – 5pm MLB.TV: Both teams are chasing that final wild card slot in the American League. This is the second game of a four game set.

Pittsburgh Pirates at LA Dodgers – 7pm MLB.TV: Playoff preview and a decent pitching match up to boot.

 

Saturday September 19th

Chelsea vs Arsenal – 4:40am NBCSN: Two of the better teams year in and year out in the Premier League. Chelsea desperately needs to right the ship.

Air Force at Michigan State – 9am ABC: Michigan State is coming off of a high profile win against Oregon. Now they have to settle down and play assignment football against a disciplined Air Force squad. Michigan State wins but it’s close for a half.

Nebraska at Miami – 12:30 ABC: Remember when these two teams use to play for the National Title every year?

Georgia Tech at Notre Dame – 12:30 NBC: Notre Dame has had more injuries than you can shake a stick at and Georgia Tech is a pretty good bet to win the ACC this year. Notre Dame has to be like Michigan State, very disciplined on defense if they want to win against a triple option attack.

Auburn at LSU -12:30pm CBS: Auburn has been the most overrated team to start 2015. Can they put it together in Death Valley and knock off the LSU?

Western Kentucky at Indiana – 1pm ESPNEWS: Western Kentucky can put up points and so can IU. This could be WKU’s second win against a Power 5 conference school.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders  4pm MLS LIVE: Cascadia Cup matchup with big time playoff implications.

Colorado vs Colorado State – 4pm CBSSN: The Rocky Mountain Shootout may not garner national attention but it’s usually a heck of a game.

California at Texas – 4:30pm FOX: Cal has one of the better QB’s in the country in Jared Goff. Odds are he will light up the Longhorns secondary.

Ole Miss at Alabama – 6:15pm ESPN: Ole Miss got the better of Bama last year. Bama has trouble with the Rebels style of offense too.

BYU at UCLA – 7:30pm FS1: Awesome matchup with two highly touted freshman QB’s. BYU’s Tanner Magnum and UCLA’s Josh Rosen. BYU pulls this out like they have their first two games and they could be looking at a big 6 bowl berth.

 

Sunday September 20th

Southampton vs Manchester United – 8am NBCSN: Southampton are only four points behind the Red Devils in the Premier League table.

San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals – 10am CBS: Bengals ran over the Chargers AFC West cohorts (Oakland Raiders) last week. Chargers are a whole different proposition though.

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills – 10am CBS: Well it’s Rex Ryan vs Bill Belichick again except this time Ryan heads up the Bills.

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles – 1pm FOX: Cowboys pulled one out of the fire last weekend while the Eagles fell short trying to do the exact same thing. Chip Kelly will hear the boos if his team starts off 0-2 after the offseason they had.

Portland Timbers vs NY Red Bulls -2pm ESPN: Timbers and NYRB are both in the thick of the playoff hunt.

NY Yankees at NY Mets – 5pm ESPN: See why TV and MLB execs are wetting themselves over the possibility of another Subway World Series.

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers – 5:25pm NBC: Rematch of the wildly entertaining NFC Championship game from a year ago.