Second Screen, Delays & Moving Forward

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


A lot of people are on their phones, tablets or computers while watching a game. The College Football Playoff National Championship game is no exception. According to a study by Accenture, 87% use a second device while watching TV. It gets even more interesting when you cut the cord and stream the game. It gets even more interesting when you have multiple channels to switch between and ESPN using the National Title game as a test lab for coverage.

ESPN Megacast FilmRoomThe college football National Championship between Alabama and Clemson is going to be one of the most watched sporting events of the year. If you are watching it via an OTT provider like Sling TV and also on twitter….you will notice that twitter is more real time than Sling TV.

There is a delay when you stream video. It’s a byproduct of having to take a satellite feed, run the signal through an encoder and then spit it back out. It’s just the way it is right now. For the National Title game I was noticing a good 30-40 second delay between twitter and Sling TV.

Now these very rough findings are going to vary between users but it is a good thing to remember if you are on twitter and watching a game via Sling TV.

Coverage

Periscope Travis and KlattThrow in a new wild card, Periscope. Clay Travis of Fox Sports and Outkick the Coverage was streaming during the game. It usually consisted of himself and Joel Klatt and had various people on over the phone. This feed was on par with twitter and about as real time as you can get. It was not overly compelling which is shame since Travis and Klatt have a lot of insight to offer. It is awesome to see this medium used during an event like this. And it costs virtually nothing to do.

ESPN had a similar thing going on but with a higher budget on ESPNNews in ‘Voices’. This featured everyone from Taylor Twellman to Jay Bilas and wrangled by Michelle Beadle. Both the Periscope feed and ‘Voices’ just turned into people yapping about anything but the game and could be better.

ESPNU had the ‘homers’ broadcast from the sideline of the game. It was hosted by Joe Tessitore and Dave Pasch with alums Tajh Boyd and Barrett Jones. While semi-interesting it just wasn’t compelling.

SEC Network featured Paul Finebaum’s version of of FilmRoom with Bret Bielema, Greg McElroy and Booger McFarland. It was ok but not as good as ESPN2’s FilmRoom.

ESPN Megacast FilmRoomFilmRoom featured five head coaches along with Chris Spielman and Brian Griese. They brought Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi back again this year and he was joined by Jim McElwain, WIll Muschamp, Willie Taggert and Larry Fedora. A good combo with lots of insight and good connections to Clemson and Alabama.ESPN GoalLine National Title Game

 

While FilmRoom was very interesting but rough around the edges, ESPN’s best coverage was via GoalLine. It was a mutli-screen feed complete with stats. The audio during the game was ESPN Radio which featured the awesome combination of Mike Tirico and Todd Blackledge. During commercial breaks one of the screens would either jump between the other channels like ESPN2 and ESPNNews. NFL’s RedZone channel should do this for the Playoffs. Super compelling and great, great broadcast combo.

So word to the wise, if you cut the cord and are watching a big game via Sling TV or WatchESPN, don’t be on twitter. Twitter will spoil it. Would love to see ESPN do more with FilmRoom and GoalLine during the regular season. Maybe do FilmRoom on WatchESPN for the Saturday primetime game with retired or out of work coaches. Same thing for GoalLine. Either way, the future of live sports looks fun but has something work to do.

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We’re Talking About Practice!

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


While the college football media is still basking in the glow of the ‘I told you the ratings would be down!’ for the College Football Playoff semifinal games on New Year’s Eve, others have moved on to the actual game. In the process they found an issue that should be addressed by the NCAA before next years game.

CLEMSON TACKLEAs ESPN’s Brett McMurphy and Ted Miller point out, Clemson will have less practice time this week than Alabama because the semester started at Clemson. This limits them to four hours a day once classes start. Alabama has no restriction.

This was also the case last year when Oregon was limited in practice because school was back in session.Ohio State on the other hand was not.

While it may not seem like a big deal and there is not enough data to see if this really is a difference maker, it is clear that it is some low hanging fruit that the NCAA could clear up before next years National Title game and win some brownie points in the process.

The NCAA hasn’t had the best run over the last several years but addressing this edge case this is a gesture that it could make a difference and at least show that the NCAA doesn’t have their head completely buried in the sand.