Posted by Anthony Mowl in ALL, INTERNET, MOBILE on 09-01-11 No Comments
Why pay over $100 per month for cable or satellite tv services? No subscriptions or monthly fees, no hardware, no bandwidth limits! You get over 3,500 channels and unlimited 24/7 access. You should cancel your cable now, and get < insert scam here >.
We’ve all seen or heard of sites like this. Many of them promote live streaming of baseball and football games for one low cost. Satellite Direct, LiveBaseball-Channel, GigStreams… there are a lot of these sites out there. Unfortunately almost none of them work, guaranteed or no money back.
This guy shelled out $49 to try Satellite Direct, and all he got was the opportunity to make a YouTube video demonstrating what a fraud the site was. Beware of spending what seems to be one low price, and downloading software that has who-knows-what in the code. Among the red flags of these sites’ promotions is the total absence of league names and logos like MLB, NFL, NBA. No schedule of games exist, and yet people jump at the line “Watch more than just sports – thousands of extra channels free!” We all know the adage, if it’s too good to be true…
Adding to these sites’ “legitimacy” is the fact that they’ve created countless blogs, reviews, and postings that all claim that these sites are amazing and worth the money. But a dig a little deeper into these blogs and reviews and you find… nothing else. Even a search for “LiveBaseball-Channel Scam” is populated with the same fake blogs and reviews. Talk about search engine optimization.
To watch games online, go straight to the source. The guys at the league offices are such hard-asses when it comes to copyrighted content that there’s no way they’d let sites like LiveBaseball-Channel fly.
Get your games streamed online at:
Posted by Anthony Mowl in ALL, INTERNET, MOBILE, TELEVISION, Uncategorized on 08-31-11 No Comments
Baseball fans have less excuses to miss or reschedule flights now that some airlines have committed to showing all 2,400 Major League Baseball games live and in-flight. Row 44 is a developer of flying wi-fi hotspots on Southwest Airlines and other major airlines in Europe. While Row 44′s partnership with the MLB AdvancedMedia appears to be exclusive, it’s unclear if Southwest has an exclusive hold on Row 44 in the U.S. as well.
Since it seems as if Row 44 inked an exclusive agreement with baseball (a la DirectTV and the NFL), hardcore baseball fans might start scheduling all their spring through fall flights on Southwest. But is this really something to be excited about or simply a marketing gimmick? Fans who really can’t make it through a few hours on a plane without their baseball are probably already subscribing to MLB’s online package, MLB.TV, which they can access on any flight that has wi-fi. It’s likely that Row 44′s baseball games won’t be free, making this “exclusive deal” simply a good press release.
Beyond that, anyone who has used wi-fi aboard a flight knows that service is typically slow, and streaming video is rarely very effective. But then again, baseball isn’t as fast-paced as a basketball or football game, so streaming baseball just might work out.
Posted by Seth in INTERNET, MOBILE on 08-20-11 No Comments
Summer is fading fast, and that means football season is on its way. And that means another season of stat-keeping for high school football teams and the media that cover them.
There are all sorts of sophisticated stat tracking services that college and pro teams use, most notably StatCrew and Daktronics. But for high school teams, it’s hit and miss. Some schools have the budget to invest in a decent stat system while others don’t. Some coaches are diligent about tracking their stats while others aren’t. And there are so many ways of going about it that media covering high school sports are left to accommodate whatever methods the coaches in their area choose to use.
MaxPreps.com, which is part of the CBSSports family of websites, has launched an iPad app that lets coaches input their stats right from the sideline. This is really the most efficient way to keep track of the numbers, because if you don’t have someone taking stats as the game is in progress, the only way to get them is to go back and watch the video of the game and tack them from there. And if you want your stats to show up in the morning paper — which high school coaches and sports fans still expect — then taking the numbers off the video isn’t quick enough.
The MaxPreps app is far from the only option for tracking stats. There are plenty of others out there. The only problem with all this is that entering the numbers into one of these services doesn’t get them out to the media, which is something that comes with the territory for high school coaches. The MaxPreps system allows you to generate a pdf of your stats that can be emailed to the media. But a lot of papers — both large and small — have created their own online stat packages, and the stat services like MaxPreps don’t “talk to” newspaper websites. Some larger papers have online interfaces that coaches log into so they can enter their stats, which means coaches have to enter the numbers twice — once into whatever stat service they use and again into the paper’s website.
Right now, there are so many different ways for coaches to maintain their stats that finding the numbers you’re looking for is a crap shoot. Some coaches use MaxPreps. Some use other sites/services. MaxPreps might be a big enough player that it could standardize this data collection, which would be to the mutual benefit of coaches, media and fans. This summer the high school athletic association in Colorado announced that it was partnering with MaxPreps and requiring all of its football teams to use the site for scores and stats. Sounds like a step in the right direction.
Posted by Seth in GAMING, INTERNET on 08-17-11 No Comments
I’m all for innovation when it comes to fantasy sports. The games can get stale after a while if you don’t shake things up a little. The folks over at SportsGunner have a new take on fantasy sports, and although the initial introduction of their game really rubbed me the wrong way, I can see some value in what they’re doing.
SportsGunner is a market-style sports fantasy game, and there was a statement in the email they sent us last week that made me cringe:
“SportsGunner is the first social compete platform to bring investment strategies to fantasy play across every major sporting category … SportsGunner was developed by a team of gamers, Wall Street analysts and sports fans.”
Investment strategies? Wall Street analysts? The first thought I had was that statement might have been the single dumbest thing I had ever read in my life. Forgive me if I wasn’t brimming with enthusiasm. I pictured complicated models and exotic number-crunching that I wouldn’t understand even if you drew me pictures. No offense to the Wall Street guys, but we’ve read Too Big To Fail, and we don’t need any of that in our fantasy sports, thank you very much.
A closer look at the game reveals that it’s actually pretty simple. You buy shares in a team and speculate whether that team will move up or down in the weekly rankings. The interesting thing here is that you’re not focused on how individual players are doing, you’re looking at the team and who its opponents are and whether you think the team will win or lose.
The only problem here is that SportsGunner takes its rankings from CNNSI or ESPN or — in the case of college football and basketball — the AP poll. So your ability to win or lose at the game is based on the subjective rankings of folks at Sports Illustrated or ESPN. I poked around on Sports Illustrated’s website and couldn’t find anything that resembled MLB team rankings, so I’m guessing ESPN is what they use for baseball. Of course, everyone who plays the game is at the mercy of this subjectivity. So it all equals out, I suppose. But unlike traditional fantasy games, you can’t really do anything to impact the outcome. You can speculate and hope that the rankings go your way. Your team might win and not move up very far, or at all, because some dude at ESPN doesn’t think it should.
Our Wall Street friends might say that unpredictability is what they had in mind when they designed the game. And they can’t figure out why America hates Wall Street guys. Sure, individual player performances are unpredictable too, but not to the same degree these rankings are.
What do they tell you when you invest? Past performance isn’t necessarily indicative of future results? Somehow I’m not sure I want that from a fantasy game. But this is a cool idea and would be fun for people who don’t have the time, patience or player-by-player knowledge that you need in order to compete in a traditional fantasy league.
Fantasy football season is finally here! That means people everywhere are joining leagues, preparing for drafts, and coming up with excuses as to why they haven’t paid their league fees yet. There are guys in my league — who shall remain nameless, but everyone knows who you are, Jason and Josh — who have been slow to fork over their money. And it turns out my fantasy football league isn’t the only one with this problem. It’s largely why nobody wants to be the treasurer of our league and assume the responsibility of becoming a debt collector and resorting to harassing emails just to collect a few hundred bucks.
PayItSquare wants to be your league treasurer, and it looks like they rather enjoy the task. They developed a platform that works on top of PayPal that allows you to set up accounts for your league to collect and organize league fees. The premise is pretty simple, believing that transparency will encourage (or pressure) people into paying. It lists everyone in your league, sends out emails, and allows you to see who has paid and who hasn’t. While ideal for fantasy football, it has a variety of other uses. It can also be used to collect dues for team fees for softball leagues, raising money for group gifts for your coach at the end of the season, or paying your share to go to a party. There are many situations where this becomes useful, and the fees are nearly identical to PayPal’s. Every person has to pay 99 cents to use PayItSquare, and those who pay with credit or debit cards are hit with PayPal’s standard 30 cent and 2.9 percent fee. Organizers have the option of passing the fees on to the player or taking it out of the money that comes in. Those who paid in cash or by check can mark their accounts “Paid” free of charge.
It’s easy to register and create events and payment pages, and should never take you more than 5 minutes to create an account and set up a page. You can even pass along your Facebook information to make registration quicker. But based on experience, people are still going to find ways to balk and say they can’t find the link to PayItSquare, or they forgot their password to log in. And by the time these people finally do get logged in, they’re waiting for payday to come around next week before they’ll have the cash to pay. Oh wait, they need new brakes on their car and they’re going to need the next paycheck to buy those. They’ll pay the league fee with their next next paycheck. Cool? I’m on to you guys, Jason and Josh. PayItSquare is too.
Posted by Seth in INTERNET, TELEVISION on 08-11-11 No Comments
So, football is back. Did you hear? The NFL preseason gets under way this week — four weeks worth of “games” played by a bunch of guys who will get cut and end up in the Arena League in the not-too-distant future.
And this is the time of year that DirecTV ramps up its efforts to sign folks up for NFL Sunday Ticket — the biggest ripoff in out-of-market sports packages. It costs you well over $300 for 17 Sunday afternoons of football, which is easily $100 more than any of the other out-of-market packages, even though they all provide a ton more programming. DirecTV has been running commercials saying that NFL Sunday Ticket is now included in all packages. What they mean, of course, is that it’s included for the first year when you sign up for new service. After that you have to pay for it — which is sort of the way it’s always been.
Clearly, Sunday Ticket needs to be cheaper, and I’ve long thought the NFL needed to end its exclusive deal to distribute the package through DirecTV. Seems to me they’d sell an awful lot more subscriptions if were available through other providers. I finally gave up after nine years and multiple price increases with Sunday Ticket. The Red Zone Channel will do just fine for me.
The NFL is also pushing its Audio Pass package, where you can get the radio broadcasts of all the games for $29.99. Strangely, this package is available via the PC, but not on any mobile devices. That seems really ass-backward, but considering we’re talking about the No Fun League here, that hardly comes as a surprise. And there also is an online alternative to the overpriced Sunday Ticket. The NFL offers Game Rewind, which allows you to view games online, but not live. Everything is archived after the games are over and you can have DVR controls as you view them. That package will run you $39.99.
We all know the NFL is stodgy and crusty, but they really should get with the program when it comes to out-of-market access. The NHL, NBA and MLB all do a much better job of providing access to their product. The NFL. meanwhile, which plays far fewer games than the other leagues, seems determined to milk that limited supply of content for all it’s worth.
Maybe the reason football has become America’s pastime is that the league rations our access and makes us pine for it. So when they ask if we’re “ready for some football,” we feel compelled to scream, “hell yeah!”
Posted by Anthony Mowl in INTERNET, MOBILE, TELEVISION on 08-01-11 No Comments
I’m a die-hard Indianapolis Colts fan, and I refuse to miss even a single game they play. So when I got some great free tickets to go to a Washington Redskins game at the same time the Colts were playing, I had serious doubts about whether I wanted to go to the game. But these were club seats, and my girlfriend was going to kill me if I turned them down. Thankfully, we had DirectTV’s NFL Ticket, and NFL Ticket subscribers can stream games to their iPhone or iPad. Problem solved. While everyone was watching Mike Shanahan single-handedly implode the Redskins on the field, I was hunched over my iPhone watching Peyton Manning hook up with Dallas Clark over and over again while drinking $6 beers.
Watching games on a 2 1/2 inch screen like the iPhone isn’t ideal, but there are times when it’s necessary. The NCAA basketball tournament streams every game live over the Internet and on mobile apps, and there are millions of fans eternally thankful for the option. I can only imagine how many people sat on their office toilet away from their bosses, or were dragged on road trips to visit their in-laws, or were stuck on a train during their commute home, but were still able to watch the games. There is a need to stream games live over mobile devices, even if it isn’t going to be a primary source of watching games.
The Big Ten Network has jumped onboard, and last week announced it will be launching BTN2Go, offering more than 40 football games and more than 100 basketball games in addition to other programming. All content will be available to subscribers online and streamed over iPhone and the iPad. Yet another reason to be happy I opted for the iPhone over an Android device. But more than that, it seems as if there is a trend developing where we’re going to get more games streamed to our mobile devices.
In addition to DirectTV, the NCAA, the PGA Tour and now the Big Ten are streaming events live. While some people might be calling foul, and saying that screens are too small for this content, I say otherwise. It’s about having the option. I hope every game in every sport is streamed live so the poor folks stuck in airports waiting for connecting flights or even laid up in a hospital would still be able to keep up with their favorite teams. That’s the beauty of technology, and the opportunities it’s creating for us crazed sports fans.
Now let’s hope the capacity of wireless data networks can keep up with all these games. Especially when the Colts are on.
Posted by Silissa Kenney in GENERAL, INTERNET, STADIUM on 07-28-11 No Comments
Have you ever bought a ticket to a live event from a scalper and just cringed at the escalated price? Or gotten to the ticket taker only to find out you’ve got a high-priced fake in your hand? It just sucks. Well fear no more, someone is looking out for you. A lot of someones.
Dozens of recording artists, professional sports teams, industry leaders, and more than 60 venues across the United States have launched the Fans First Coalition, a nationwide, not-for-profit dedicated to protecting fans from fraudulent and unscrupulous ticket practices. Breathe a sigh of relief!
I know someone who used to work at Tower Records (you remember, those stores people used to have to go to — in person! — to buy CDs). Tower Records had a Ticketmaster counter. Whenever tickets were released to a major live event, the scalpers would come to buy. And they’d pay big “tips” to whoever was manning the counter in order to buy beyond the ticket limit Ticketmaster set for individual purchase.
Of course, this is an ancient way of doing business, but technology has opened up new ways for ticket buyers to get screwed.
In the Internet age, scalpers use software to buy large amounts of tickets online. Or, sometimes fans buy from a ticket reseller website, not knowing they are paying higher than face value. It all adds up to you paying higher prices, but the artist, or the team or the venue don’t make any more money. Seems like it’s bad for everyone.
Maybe we could all just be a little more careful about the sites we use to buy tickets. But, then again, there doesn’t seem to be any way to get around that Ticketmaster “convenience” charge. We all know the one. And there is nothing more annoying then trying to buy a ticket and finding out that the event is sold out within minutes. If that happens because scalpers are scooping up all the tickets, then maybe it will be good to have some superheroes (or singers) fighting the good fight for us little people.
Plus, the Fans First Coalition has brought together Megadeath and Kenny G on the same team. How cool is that?
Posted by Seth in INTERNET, MOBILE on 07-26-11 No Comments
You gotta love that Bloomberg guy … he’s not just the mayor of New York anymore. And he’s not just the guy who founded Bloomberg News anymore either.
Over the last couple of years, Bloomberg has launched a sports division that has delved deeply into statistical analysis, including tools for fantasy sports enthusiasts. And the beat goes on for Bloomberg Sports, which this year started a video app specifically for Major League Baseball players and teams.
Baseball players have been examining video of their at bats for years. There are legendary stories of Tony Gwynn lugging multiple VCRs (VCRs!?!) on the road with him in order to fine tune his approach.
You wonder how much better Gwynn might have been if he’d had access to today’s technology. Bloomberg’s system allows players to access video of their at bats or pitches with a couple of taps on an iPad touchscreen. They can look for at bats in specific situations or against certain pitchers. You’re a right-handed hitter getting ready to face Roy Halladay? Punch up the video of every righty he faced in his last outing. Frustrated that you’re not getting good wood on the ball with two strikes? Punch up every at bat you’ve had this season with a two-strike count and see what pitchers have been doing to you. The flexibility and portability are remarkable. Players can access it via the web or using the iPad. In other words, anywhere, anytime.
Of course, the problem I always have with any analysis of this type is akin to the warning that Bloomberg’s financial services gurus might pass along to investors playing in the market: Past results aren’t indicative of future performance.
Surely, there are insights to be gleaned from examining your at bats or from watching how opposing pitchers worked against you. But then you actually have to go out on the field and play.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched my beloved Pittsburgh Pirates surge back from perpetual irrelevance and into first place in the National League Central Division. Earlier this month, they called up an outfielder from the minors named Alex Presley, who was hitting .333 in 20 games before going on the disabled list earlier this week. He’s had a nice run. But the inevitable question is this: What happens when he faces teams for the second or third time? It’s the proverbial “next time around the league” that is the telltale sign of how well a guy can hit. The opposing pitchers will adjust, so he’ll have to adjust too. Will he continue to smack the ball all over the place just because he’s checking out how pitchers worked against him the last time? That — much like the Pirates’ ability to stay competitive for the long haul — remains to be seen.
To be sure, this is an incredibly useful application, and Bloomberg has asserted itself as a company to watch in sports data analysis. But is there a point where teams and players get so caught up in the numbers and in looking for trends that they start overthinking?
Ty Cobb was a .366 career hitter, and the closest he could come to this Bloomberg system was a stack of black and white photos. And you thought Tony Gwynn and his VCRs were old school.
Posted by Seth in INTERNET on 07-25-11 No Comments
Well, they finally settled the NFL lockout. The season will happen. Disaster has been averted. The sky will not fall. And all we’ve lost was the Hall of Fame game.
You know what else we lost? Week after week of endless droning about football. I think the offseason talk in football is more meaningless than in any other sport — weeks that turn into months of talking heads speculating about what they think is going to happen to a team based on what transpires in practices where not everyone on the team is actually there to begin with.
In the immortal words of Allen Iverson, “We talkin’ bout practice, man!”
I think there should be a lockout every year in order to spare us from this mindless drivel. Fortunately the league came to its senses and the new collective bargaining agreement includes a pretty significant cutback in the amount of offseason activity. I always snicker when I hear someone say they “love playing football.” Let’s see, you practice five days a week and play one day a week. Then, up until now, you practiced 14 weeks a year in the offseason. Then you went to training camp for the better part of a month.
Seems to me what you love is practicing football, not playing.
The fun part is now. All those months of evaluating players and working on deals and managing the salary cap will be condensed into a few days. So many players will be coming and going, you just know that reporters on the NFL beat won’t be able to keep up with it.
Word to the wise, keep your eye on social media over the next week or so. The number of roster cuts and free agent signings that find their way onto Twitter and Facebook before they are reported through mainstream sources is likely to be very high.
At this point, unfortunately, all we’re seeing are a bunch of Tweets almost as mindless as a talking head show on NFL Network, full of “football is back.” Folks, it never went anywhere. And it was never going to go anywhere. Did anybody really think there would be no 2011 NFL season?
There’s no shortage of players Tweeting. And if you want news breaks, that’s where you should look. Even the NFL website is tracking player Tweets. These are the guys I expect to be reporting the news to most of us during the flurry of player moves that’s about to take place.
Mainstream media and offseason football workouts — strolling off into extinction together.
New podcasts available every Wednesday!
Episode 73: The TSC Zombies Live!
We celebrate our final show at Hothead Studios by breaking down sports video games from E3; talkin’ through some dang sports video baseball cards and then go getting into the fallout from Derek Boogarrd’s untimely death. Finally, what we have all been waiting for: Dan on latest on with Posada’s crazy, tweeting wife. Share this [...]
Episode 72: Dan’s Cool Rugby Shirt
Blum breaks down 42 miles on a bike with no chain. Evans reports on the Oprah/Nike summit. Dan’s got a rugby johns he would like to share. And some high tech tricks to baseball scouting. (26.8 KB, 27.10 Minutes) Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 71: The NFL For President!
Dan breaks down the body blow online poker just took from regulators. Blum talks up the new book about what the NFL has to teach capitalism. Seth hates yet another video game. And finally ESPN on your iPad. (25.3 mb, 25.4 minutes) Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 70: “Are You Ready to Rumble?”
MLB TV’s online service is legitimately cool. The Masters will be a non-event online. Tiger Woods plays with crappy equipment and Blum compares betting on Wrestlemania to trading corn futures. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 69: “A Podcast Unlike Any Other”
The organizers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar seek to bend nature to their will with artificial clouds. Blum gloats over the NCAA Selection Committee’s epic seeding failures. Blackberry “Super” Apps underwhelm and Dan takes a crack at the new Masters video game. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 68: “Revenge of the Nerds”
Seth and Blum mix it up with MIT over sports data. Dan reviews EA’s Fight Night Champion (virtual boxing is better than the real thing). Amar’e Stoudemire’s goggles get explained and the guys tour some physical fitness web sites. All that, plus, the week in review. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 67: “Follow the Bouncing Blum”
Dan’s on the injured reserve this week, so Blum’s flying solo (with an assist from Seth the Tech Nihilist). In this episode: Seth breaks down March Madness On Demand, Blum wonders what gives with the crap-tastic apps that are dominating college athletics, a look into the NFL’s financial picture, plus the week in review at [...]
Episode 66: “It’s Hockey Night Tonight!”
It’s all hockey all the time for this week’s episode. Dan and Blum look at the cross-border battle between the Winter Classic and Heritage Classic as well as the Buffalo Sabres ownership change. Dan and Seth the Tech Nihilist reminisce about the classic NHL video games. Plus, how did a trade between the Stars and [...]
Episode 65: “Take This Job and Shove It”
Blum pitches his wild-eyed plan for NFL players to use social media to circumvent ownership. Seth the Tech-Nihilist gives his report on the new MLB.Com. Dan reviews NHL ’11 (it’s awesome) and digs into some racing tech at Daytona. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 64: “Jets Fans are Damaged Individuals”
As Blum gloats, Dan lets the Jets know they can go straight to hell. Also, the best televisions for your Super Bowl party; Dan discovers Broadcast HD; Blum shares his illicit passion for wooden baseball bats; PLUS, the best sports e-books for your e-reader. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg