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July 31 2011

06:49

Your personal is always "public" account - football stars on Twitter and Facebook

mlive :: Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio doesn’t plan to stop his players from using social media forms such as Twitter and Facebook, but he has taken steps to warn his players of the pitfalls of sharing their words with the world. “I don’t want to go there with that,” he said of banning Twitter, as New Mexico basketball coach Steve Alford reportedly has done.

[Mark Dantonio, Michigan State:] But I do want them to know when you put something on there (on Twitter and Facebook), you are representing Michigan State.

Continue to read Greg Johnson, www.mlive.com

December 15 2010

16:04

A faded vivid memory…

Mickey Pfleger

We all have these stashed away in the hinterlands of our minds…people we met on stories. Folks who for some reason embedded their very essence into our cells for some reason unknown to us or them.

Mickey Pfleger was one such with me. I only met him a few times, although I probably ran into him many times over the years without realizing it. That’s how it is with newsies. Casual eye contact is enough to make us more than acquaintances…but to become friends, it takes only a few words.

Mickey is gone now.

I’ve known for the past week…but it didn’t hit home until I visited his facebook page today and read the many, many comments.

You see, Mickey was a news photographer – the kind who freezes time. His specialty: sports. And that’s how I came our relationship became more than a passing nod in the field. He became the focus of a story I worked on in 2000.

Mikey was working the 49ers field, snapping away and grabbing the game action, when he was pummeled by tight end Tony Gonzalez. Yeah, that sideline action can be pretty brutal…one of the hazards of the biz.

Pfleger was knocked unconscious – and that’s when the miracle began. Were it not for this somewhat minor accident, Mickey would probably never have been sent to the hospital and gotten a CT scan of his brain. And he might have discovered – too late – that he had a brain tumor.

Irony. When you expect one outcome and something else occurs.

That collision on the field and hospital visit spared his life. In his own words:

“…I really believe that things happen for a reason.
I was supposed to be knocked out by Tony Gonzalez at the football game. I was supposed to go into a seizure while I was unconscious, so that Dr. Klint of the 49ers would tell the paramedics to tell the emergency room doctors to do a CT brain scan on me. I was supposed to be taken to San Francisco General Hospital and land in the hands of Dr. Martin Holland, an incredibly talented neurosurgeon.”

After an operation to remove the tumor, Mickey went on with his life, until an aggressive cancer did what a 49ers player couldn’t – taking him out of the game last Friday.

But within each of our minds…those who knew him will always remember that sweet smile and equally sweet demeanor. A gracious man who accepted his fate and moved on. Who shared his insight and photos freely and was even grateful to yet another news crew stumbling into his life for a brief time to extract his essence. And some of it stuck.

On Mikey’s facebook page, he leaves us his philosophy:

“Almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. Only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.”
-Patricia Graynamore


December 13 2010

17:40

Why I Want a Hulu for Sports (And Why It Won't Happen Soon)

When it comes to television shows and events, we the people have been taking more and more control of what we see and on what medium. The rise of everything from DVRs to streaming Netflix to mobile TV means that we get to decide when we want to watch our favorite shows. More people have taken the plunge and cut the cord to expensive cable and satellite TV services in order to watch shows exclusively online or on services such as Roku, Boxee or Google TV.

boxee_box_by_dlink_white.jpg

But one of the big hurdles to getting people to cut the cord is sports. While you can watch many local sports teams play by accessing free digital broadcast signals (which includes the major broadcast networks), there's very limited selection online when it comes to watching major sports teams play. (Note: There are a variety of overseas gray market sites that offer streams of big games for a price, but their legality is muddy, at best.)

What sports fans need to cut the cord is a potential new service that I call "Hulu for Sports," a way for us to watch the games we want online or streamed to our TV. Hulu currently offers TV shows, movies and some sports highlight shows, with some provided advertising-supported and free, and others coming in a premium offering called Hulu Plus. Why not add in live sporting events, with the less prominent games at the free level (e.g. the Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Milwaukee Bucks) and higher interest games at the premium level (e.g. the Miami Heat vs. the Los Angeles Lakers)?

Below is a breakdown of what I'd like to have in a Hulu for Sports, and below that is the inevitable reality check from new media strategist Seth Shapiro, who explains in gory detail why my fantasy will not be realized anytime soon.

What I Want

All Sports, All the Time
I want to have access online to all the major sports from around the world, from real football (a.k.a. soccer) to cricket to basketball to extreme sports. Maybe some of the major leagues could create a joint venture, similar to Hulu, where they each would get a cut of the revenues generated. They would make sure in all future TV contracts to allow this new site to stream sporting events as well.

Freemium Model
So how would this site make money? It would use all the current online video ad formats, from overlays to pre-roll ads to surround-ads that go around the video player. The vast majority of sporting events would be shown for free. A minority of sporting events would be available in a premium offering where you pay a monthly fee. And an even smaller minority of events would be available as pay-per-view streams. So these events might be broken down like so:

> College women's volleyball game: free
> Major league baseball game in May: free

> Regular season NBA game between top teams: premium

> Super Bowl: pay-per-view

Interactive Experience
If I'm going to watch most of my sports online or on my TV through streaming, I want to have more interactive features. I want to chat with others online during the game, share feeds with friends through social media, forward along highlight clips, pick camera angles, and more. Once sporting events are shifted online, the possibilities are endless for features like instant polls, live chats with experts, and a stream of star athletes' tweets (before or after games when allowed).

Play on Demand on All Platforms
Now that I'm used to having a DVR, I want to be able to watch sporting events on my own time, fast-forward through slow parts, replay the best parts and generally decide when to watch what. That means giving me replay controls similar to TV but online. And not only do I want to be able to watch the games on the web in my browser -- I want to see them on all my devices, including smartphone, iPad or Internet-enabled TV. Hulu for Sports needs to be multi-platform and on demand.

Great Archives
Gosh, I'd really like to see a replay of the Giants/Rangers World Series. Or maybe a college football game I missed earlier this year, such as when the Missouri Tigers beat the Oklahoma Sooners? Or maybe a string of old boxing matches when Mike Tyson knocked out various opponents in the first round? The Hulu for Sports service would need to have a robust series of archives available, supported by ads or pay-per-view depending on the popularity of the event.

Why It Won't Happen

Now that I've envisioned the perfect sports-on-demand online service, I'll pull my head out of the clouds for a reality check. Not surprisingly, my bubble is easily burst in a world where massive TV sports contracts restrict leagues from offering up all these games online. In a few cases, such as CBS March Madness on Demand during the NCAA basketball tournament, the networks are able to show full games online supported by ads. But with TV contracts in leagues like the National Football League, the chance for watching games online is severely limited.

nfl game rewind.jpg

With the NFL's online offerings, you can watch NFL games in HD online with full DVR functionality, but you have to live outside the U.S. If you want to watch games inside the U.S., you can do so after the game is long over. Watching live games online isn't possible, even for a price.

Seth Shapiro, the digital media strategist at New Amsterdam Media, has worked with Comcast, DirecTV, Universal, Showtime and Disney in the past. He explained why a Hulu for Sports is highly unlikely at this time.

"The sports leagues have been the biggest defenders and exploiters of rights, period," Shapiro told me. "When looking at sports licensing fees [paid by cable providers], they really explode. Sports is really expensive to the consumer and the distributor ... And they have a pretty good deal as it is. In the case of Apple doing a [possible] subscriber service for Apple TV at a $30 price point, once you factor into account that ESPN is $4 per month per subscriber, that's a lot of money. It's hard to picture a situation where the premier stuff -- NFL, NBA and MLB -- giving their games away for free. Even as a loss-leader to build a new service."

Seth_ShapiroBB.jpg

Shapiro explains that the pricey TV contracts with leagues put them under pressure to restrict what they can offer online. Any move to cable-cutting by sports enthusiasts would hurt TV viewership and by extension those multi-billion-dollar contracts with the leagues.

"The place it comes to roost is the master affiliation deals between league and distributor," Shapiro said. "The rights over who can put things online become very contentious. The distributor can say they don't like the idea of a league offering the same content elsewhere, undercutting their exclusivity. The home games are available in market. But out-of-market rights, the argument is, 'Look we're paying you a lot for these games, so you can't sell it to anyone else.' That's where Hulu finds itself. You can put some things there, but not sports, which is the most expensive stuff and the least likely to be offered there. If there's a game on Monday Night Football, ESPN would say, 'that's our game! You're not going to give that away!'"

Fair enough. But what if the leagues got together to form a joint venture, the same way that TV networks got together to form Hulu? Couldn't their combined power force the networks to let them put games online too? Shapiro is doubtful.

"If you've got a Comcast with 26 million households or a DirecTV with 20 million households, that's direct revenue to whoever owns those rights," Shapiro said. "If you're a league it's very hard to figure out how you're going to come up with that kind of money by going direct to the consumer. If the ad market were really strong, then maybe you could do it ... You're forgoing a real and predictable revenue stream for something that might be a lot bigger but no one has really cracked yet."

And yet, I still hold out hope for my vision of Hulu for Sports. Perhaps when a big TV contract is up next time a league will consider holding some rights for online distribution and new models. And perhaps, just perhaps, the cord-cutters will have an option to watch the sports they want on their own time on the platforms they enjoy most.

*****

What do you think? Would you cut the cable TV cord if you could watch sporting events live online? How would your own Hulu for Sports work? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.

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August 26 2010

10:27

Football365 pens open letter criticising the Sun for Capello coverage

Football news and forum site Football365 has posted an open letter to the Sun, criticising the paper’s back page lead yesterday on England manager Fabio Capello.

Our fear is that this campaign is being waged not because the tabloid press truly believe that Capello is in the wrong (…) but largely out of spite because they didn’t get their way after the summer and he stayed on.

The site is of course part of the 365 Media Group, which is owned by BSkyB, part of the Murdoch empire that also includes the Sun.Similar Posts:



August 11 2010

11:15

‘We will not be held to ransom’, Bournemouth Echo warns Southampton FC

Bournemouth Echo sports editor Neil Meldrum says the paper “will not be held to ransom” by Southampton Football Club, which recently announced plans to ban press photographers and syndicate the club’s own photographs of the team’s home matches.

Mr Cortese [executive chairman] clearly thinks his club will make a buck or two by syndicating pictures taken by their own man. I’ve got news for you, Nicola: You won’t.

If newspapers hate one thing, it is the greed of people like you and we press people tend to stick together in defiance of arrogance.

Yes, the Echo has let its readers down today by not printing pictures of last night’s match.

But we will not be held to ransom by the likes of Nicola Cortese.

Full post on the Bournemouth Echo blog at this link…Similar Posts:



July 12 2010

09:31

July 02 2010

08:49

Manchester Evening News lets football fans take over its masthead

Much has been written about the positives and negatives of personalised features on news websites, from user profiles to personalised homepages.

For me the Manchester Evening News has got its personalisation priorities right: registered readers can now choose between a blue masthead, designed for Manchester City fans; or keep the site’s traditional red colour theme if you a Manchester United fan.

(NB – for those of you that know my football allegiances please note that logging in as a blue was purely for work purposes)

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June 30 2010

10:29

Radio 5 Live’s Big Mexican Wave digital project

England fans might be desperately trying to sell on their World Cup tickets, but there’s still time to join a Mexican wave in support for the remaining teams playing in South Africa.

BBC’s Radio 5 Live is building an online Mexican Wave, as its special Twitter account advertises:

Join the mother of all Mexican Waves with BBC Radio 5 Live for 2010 World Cup! Dizzee Rascal, Miley Cyrus & Richard Hammond are in, are you?

To be included, users upload need to upload a photo as described at this link. This generates a Mexican Wave video containing the user’s photo, and photos of Radio 5 live and Radio 1 presenters and celebrities; the user will also be included in the 5 Live Mexican Wave.

The latest news? @bigmexicanwave says the former morning doyen of Radio 2 might be making an appearance too:

There’s a rumour we’ve got the godfather of radio, Mr @terry_wogan to do a #bigmexwave. Watch this space!

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June 21 2010

09:17

TheGame: How World Cup journalism works

The phone goes. It is the newsdesk. “We need you to go and find North Korean fans now,” comes the instruction. “There aren’t any,” I helpfully reply. “Don’t care. There must be at least one. Go and find him.”

Hmmm. I am in Soccer City, the North Koreans are at Ellis Park across the City. I have only a couple of hours to kick-off, no North Korean contact – but then, who has? – and no ideas, except for simply standing outside the ground and waiting for a North Korean to arrive. This is not time quibble because the message from the newsdesk is that this is a “must-have” story. Foreign correspondents in South Korea and Japan are filing dispatches and Jonathan Clayton, our correspondent in Johannesburg, has been stationed outside the team hotel. I have 800 words to write on the mysterious North Korean fans. Oh dear.

Times reporter Kevin Eason gives a great, first-hand account of tracking down stories – and North Korea fans – at the World Cup. It’s a story of shoe leather, pressure and a little bit of luck as a reward for doggedly chasing leads. Would be interesting to know if any World Cup reporters are using social media shoe leather too?

Full post at this link…

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June 08 2010

07:54

When Saturday Comes: How Twitter has changed football reporting

Football magazine When Saturday Comes looks at how Twitter use by football journalists is changing football reporting, as it encourages debate around news and makes journalists more accountable to fans:

Before social media created a two-way conversation on the internet, a journalist would only have had their editor and probably the manager of the club they reported on to answer to. They could print stories knowing they would not be asked to justify them to the ordinary football fan. But it’s different now for those who have chosen to set up Twitter accounts. They are pulled up on any factual errors in their stories, asked to reveal their sources and generally badgered by their followers (…) it’s a great way of taking the temperature of a club’s fans. You get to understand how they feel about certain players and managers, and what they believe are their biggest issues and concerns.

Of course, journalists should probably know this kind of thing but you can sometimes get caught up in the bubble of press conferences and talking to colleagues, and not realise what the real problems are.

Full story at this link…

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February 07 2010

16:39

November 20 2009

15:18

TODAY THE “UNE” OF LIBERATION IS GOOD, BUT PAGES 2 AND 3 ARE MAGIC

liberation.750

Well, today’s “une” is good.

Instead of the predictable and boring EU new mandarins, Libé played the football card in a big way.

So, I am sure that today they well sell more copies.

Plus, they have a terrific double spread on pages 2-3.

football double spread libe

This is magic!

Simple.

Clear.

Smart.

Inviting.

Well designed.

These two pages are going to become a classic!

Congratulations to the INNOVATION team that was working this week in Paris, and to the Libé staff.

WOW!

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