Weekend Viewing Guide Fri. 1/3-Sun. 1/5

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

For those of you in frigid temperatures and shoveling snow just remember,  there is plenty of sports on TV this weekend to keep you warm.

Friday January 3rd

Cotton Bowl: Missouri vs Oklahoma State – 5pm FOX: Possible shootout factor here is very high. We’ll see if both teams can recover from heartbreaking season finale losses that kept them out of a major BCS payday. Mizzou still has one of the better front four’s in all of football and is worth checking out. Gus Johnson is also announcing the game which makes it even better.

Orange Bowl: Ohio State vs Clemson – 5:30pm ESPN: Two years ago Clemson gave up 70 points in this game to West Virginia. Ohio State may be able to do that to them but Clemson might be able to do it to Ohio State too.

Los Angeles Clippers @ Dallas Mavericks – 5:30pm NBA League Pass/Regional: Top teams out West square off in Dallas. Could be close late even if the Orange Bowl isn’t.

Saturday January 4th

BBVA Compass Bowl: Houston vs Vanderbilt – 10am ESPN: Vandy is good and Houston is a team that can give people fits. If Vandy doesn’t come in ready to play it could be a long day in Birmingham for the Commodores. It might also be James Franklin’s last game as the Vandy head coach.

Michigan State @ Indiana – 11am CBS: An early Big Ten road test for Sparty. Assembly Hall is one of the toughest places to play in the country regardless of how good Indiana is.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Indianapolis Colts – 1:30pm NBC: The NFL Playoffs kick off in Indy. It may not be the sexiest game on paper but Colts QB Andrew Luck is notorious for come from behind victories and Alex Smith is still looking for validation after all these years.

New York Rangers @ Toronto Maple Leafs – 4pm NHLN: The Leafs return to the warmer confines of Air Canada Center to take on old rivals. Rangers need to get on the good foot if they want to get into the playoff picture.

Los Angeles Clippers @ San Antonio Spurs – 5:30 NBA League Pass/Regional: It doesn’t get any easier for the Clippers as they now have to take on the ageless Spurs. This could be a Western Conference Final preview and a good game too.

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles – 5:30pm NBC: It will be cold in Philly but not as cold as it is right now. Will that effect Drew Brees and the Saints enough to slow them down or are the Eagles the dark-horse team in the NFC to make it to the Super Bowl?

Sunday January 5th

San Diego Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals – 10am CBS: Chargers are one of the more exciting teams in the league. Bengals have been unbeatable at home lately. Turnovers could very well decide this game.  Shootout possibility factor – high.

San Diego State @ Kansas – 1:30pm CBS: One of the few battles between top 25 teams in the college basketball this weekend. It’s a tall order for SDSU to head to Lawrence and come out with a win but something they could very well pull off.

San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers – 1:30pm FOX: Yeah, it will be cold in Green Bay and only get colder as the night goes on. Good news for San Francisco is that their QB played at Nevada -Reno, their kicker played in Cleveland his entire career and their defense is still really good no matter what the weather. Aaron Rodgers wasn’t very sharp last week against the Chicago Bears but he still got the job done. Expect a heavy dose of Packers RB Eddie Lacy. Should be a very close game.

San Jose Sharks @ Chicago Blackhawks – 5pm NBCSN: Two of the top teams in the NHL go head to head. The question is which Sharks team will show up? The ones that beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 earlier this week or the ones who lost 6-3 in the rematch a few days later? The Blackhawks are the best team in the league plain and simple but the Sharks are one of the teams that could give them a run for their money.


Holiday Viewing Guide

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The Holiday season isn’t done just yet which means that there are still sports to view on a random weekday.

Tuesday Dec. 31st

(In Progress) AdvoCare v100 Bowl: Boston College vs Arizona – 9:30am ESPN: The country’s best RB Andre Williams vs a tough and under appreciated Arizona team.

Chik-Fil-A Bowl: Texas A&M vs Duke – 5pm ESPN: It’s probably your last chance to see Johnny Manziel as a collegiate. There is also the possibility of a shootout on New Year’s Eve.

San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks – 5pm REGIONAL COVERAGE: The Sharks ended the Ducks 10 game winning streak on Sunday night. Ducks are probably out for revenge.

Portland Trailblazers @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 5pm NBA TV: Two of the top teams in the Western Conference get down to business. Portland is looking to end a two game losing streak, a first for them this season, and OKC continues to try and get by without starting guard Russell Westbrook.

-Coolest event today is not the games themselves but the adventures of Fox Sports announcers Gus Johnson and Bill Rafferty. Check it out on AwfulAnnouncing.com

Wednesday Jan. 1st

Tottenham @ Manchester United – 9:30am NBCSN: It’s a full slate of games for the Premier League. This is the best match up of the day.

Capital One Bowl: South Carolina vs Wisconsin – 10am ABC: Two teams that could be in the BCS if it wasn’t for a tough loss here and there. Should be the game of the morning.

Winter Classic: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Detroit Red Wings – 10am NBC (may change due to weather): It’s become and annual tradition on New Years day and made even cooler by HBO’s 24/7 show. This year a Canadian team finally gets to show it’s stuff on New Years Day. This time it’s outside in the Big House at the University of Michigan.

Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs Stanford – 2pm ESPN: This is going to be a good ole fashion, hard hitting football game. Should be tough, close and fun to watch.

Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs Central Florida – 5:30pm ESPN: Baylor scores a ton of points and Central Florida has been this seasons “cardiac kids”. Also, UCF QB Blake Bortels is a possible first round draft pick and has a smoking hot girlfriend.


Bloomberg.com: 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 bloomberg.com. Telling the difference between the two is sometimes pretty difficult which is why sports leagues should take notice.


Bloomberg.com 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).

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 Pelican Brief?

Since we now have seen the scary Pelican mascot we thought it appropriate to repost this story from last year. 

By Dave Trausneck @trausneck

New Orleans appears to enjoy a good laugh… or maybe they were too drunk to realize their NBA franchise is about to have the worst name in the history of professional sports.


Team owner Tom Benson and his wife Gayle apparently want a team name to reflect the state of Louisiana.  So when David Stern calls out “With the 5th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans select…”

95% of those watching will start laughing. 4.5% will throw their Abita beer at the television.  The other half-percent will be Anthony Davis’ unibrow furrowing in disgust and calling Adam Silver’s office demanding a three-team trade sending him to Miami in exchange for 3,000 copies of “The Pelican Brief” on VHS, cash considerations and an immediate investigation into who killed Justices Rosenberg and Jensen.

The Pelicans. Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of opposing players like a water bird with a beak like Glen Quagmire’s nose.

With an ode to the 1993 movie starring Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts, this needs a little bit of history to explain.

The Brown Pelican is the state bird of Louisiana and “Pelicans” was the former name of the city’s minor league baseball team from 1887-1959 and 1977. It’s worth noting that Benson owned the rights to the name Pelicans.

It’s normal for sports franchises to honor the history of their roots. Maybe Benson has salt left in his mouth from when the Jazz picked up and moved to Salt Lake City decades ago and kept the name.  Benson and his wife would be better off renaming the team the Hurricanes than the Pelicans.  Even the Sugarcanes sounds sweeter than the Pelicans.  The New Orleans Corruption could probably steal a few votes in a public naming contest.

But Benson might have to put in a call to White & Blazevich to settle the score.

And if all else fails… season ticket holders can look forward to posing pictures with this hanging around their kids. http://www.starcostumes.com/lgimages/MU42155.jpg

Cord Cutting an Expensive Option for Sports Fans

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

You’ve probably heard the slow, consistant drum beat of the cord cutters. Those who watch video without the use of a cable or satellite provider. They use over the air TV, and online services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. What’s rarely talked about though is what would it cost for a true sports fan to cut the cord?

Each league and sports network offers live streaming of sports in one way or another however it is usually for a significant price or you have to have a cable or satellite subscription which defeats the purpose of cord cutting. Below is a breakdown of what each league charges for their online package:

The Cost Of Viewing Sports Online

At this stage, there it is not an economically viable solution for a fan of sports to cut their cable or satellite subscription. Let’s look at DirecTV by comparison. The Sports monthly package is $12.99 and with the Choice XTRA Classic plan, 1 HD Receiver with DVR and you’re looking at about $110 a month. The NFL Sunday Ticket plan and other sports packages (NHL Center ICE, MLD Direct Kick, etc) are all extra. But a lot of times you do not need those.

For example, if you live in Las Vegas with the above DirecTV package you get the following teams with no extra cost:

MLB: SF Giants, LA Dodgers, LA Angels, SD Padres, Oakland A’s

NHL: Anaheim Ducks & LA Kings

NBA: LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Golden St Warriors

While it isn’t economically viable for a sports fan to cut the cord the cord cutters themselves really do have a distinct advantage, mobility. The fact is that sports fans can only watch whatever is on their TV via a Slingbox. Non sports cord cutters can use any one of the aforementioned services no matter what device they are on (phone, tablet, or  laptop).

Will there ever be a point where sports fans can cut the cord and do so economically? Probably not. If you take into consideration the continual increase in player salaries and the increase in TV rights fees it is highly doubtful that we’ll see a price decrease from any sports league or online service from a network without a cable or satellite validation.


MLB.TV, NHL GameCenter, NBA League Pass, NFL Sunday Ticket, MLS Live

Mother Nature Strikes Again

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

It’s happened again. A weather event has affected the sporting world for the second time in 4 months. This time it was a snow storm in the northeast that dropped almost 25 inches of snow at Logan International Airport in Boston, MA.

TD Garden

What did it effect this time? The Boston Bruins first moved the start time of their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning then postponed it. The Duke University basketball team had to delay their travel from Durham, NC to Boston until Sunday morning for their match up against Boston College (which they won). The New York Knicks stayed an extra night in Minneapolis, MN before heading back home to play the LA Clippers (a game in which they lost). Finally the New England Revolution had to move around some travel so that they could make it to the much sunnier Tucson, AZ for some preseason matches.

It’s high time leagues, organizations, players, and fans come to the realization that this is going to be the norm and not the random. How coaches coach, how players pace themselves are going to be key if they are to compete on the road when travel plans are disrupted. This hiccup to the routine can cause some major issues mentally and physically. Just ask anyone who has had their flight delayed or luggage lost. It trumps everything else and not in the fun way. Teams would be wise to begin to study how last minute travel effects performance. It could mean the difference between a championship and a ‘oh, we almost had it!’

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The Real Work Done on Christmas

Follow us @sidelinesignals

Certain sports seem to earn certain days or holidays. Football during Thanksgiving weekend, College Football on New Years Day, and the NBA on Christmas Day.

Years ago, there would be only one or two NBA games on Christmas Day. Now there are five and they’re doing rather well. The Thunder at Heat game was the fourth highest rated NBA regular season game ever on ABC and was the highest rated regular season game ever in Oklahoma City and Miami. While these numbers are very good there are some other things to consider, like all of the people who work.

There were five NBA games on Christmas which means ten teams. That’s not just the players and coaches but the support staff, media, and arena personnel. From janitors to hot dog vendors to the IT department. The Staples Center had it tougher than most too this past Christmas. They had two games to work. First the Knicks vs the Lakers than the late game between the Nuggets and the Clippers. That’s a long day on a regular day much less a holiday.

While we expect certain people to be working on holidays such as doctors, policemen, and firemen we rarely think about those who are taking the tickets at the arena. Those cooking the food for the luxury boxes or those pulling cable for the cameraman as he tries to get just the right shot of Kobe Bryant walking to the bench after a big play.

The ratings show that sports on holiday’s work and as long as people are watching there will continue to be events on days such as Christmas. So while you enjoy the comfort of family and friends remember that it’s not just the teams that make sports happen.



90 seconds. That’s how long it took for the New York Knicks Rasheed Wallace to be ejected from a game against the Phoenix Suns. 90 seconds.

He had just entered the game when he was called for a technical foul. When Suns player Goran Dragic missed a free throw Wallace shouted out, “BALL DON’T LIE!” The ref’s then delivered a second technical foul to Wallace which sent him to the showers before he could even break a sweat.

Whether you agree with the call or not. Whether you like Rasheed Wallace and his 317 career technical fouls or not, you have to be impressed with this scene. Wallace could be heard clearly in the arena and on TV which says something for his vocals and not a lot for the New York fans. It would be safe to say that fans at a PGA event make more noise than the Knicks fans. In the end the NBA, the Knicks and Wallace can feel good about one thing, creating Internet gold.