The Least Popular Can Be The Most Innovative

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard
The US Open Cup is one of the longest running professional sports competitions in North America. This years installment is the 100th edition and with it comes live streaming. Free live streams of all of the games in the 4th round of the tournament.
Most overlook the US Open Cup with such a busy sports time in North America it’s easy to do. With the Stanley Cup Finals, NBA Finals, US Open, World Cup Qualifiers, Major League Baseball and the College World Series. TV networks have plenty to choose from and the US Open Cup isn’t going to pull the same numbers the Stanley Cup Finals or NBA Finals are. However there is a market for the US Open Cup and a low cost solution is available to let fans around the country watch the matches.
This is really a perfect storm of opportunity. No TV deal, low production costs, existing bandwidth and an unserved viewer. The one caveat is the bandwidth. If dedicated, high-speed bandwidth isn’t available then the viewer may just turn away.
There is no TV deal for these matches which means that the clubs and US Soccer can try all kinds of new things to let viewers watch the matches. Several platforms are available but most clubs opted for either YouTube or Ustream. YouTube allows channels with 1,000 subscribers to stream video which lowered the barrier of entry even more for content creators.
You continue to hear noise from media companies about TV Everywhere and second screen experience. The clubs in the US Open Cup, whether the New England Revolution or the Carolina RailHawks, took an obvious leap with free live streaming of the Cup matches. That leap, giving the fans what they want. No log ins, no sign ups, and no restrictions.

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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