August 31, 2014

Verizon’s Turkey Day Turkey: No Live Games as Promised on NFL Mobile

UPDATE: Verizon Wireless rep Debi Lewis (@VZWDebi) finally got back to us to let us know at noon Calif. time that only the Thursday evening game (Niners-Ravens) would be on NFL Mobile live. To those of you who believed the Verizon tweets from earlier in the morning, hope you enjoyed those NFL Network canned shows instead of live NFL action.

Verizon was promotiong its NFL Mobile app pretty heavily going into Thanksgiving day, promising free live broadcasts all day long so that you could watch on your phone at the dinner table or maybe while making pie. Here are some of the gratuitous promotional tweets:


Why are you thankful for #NFLMobile FREE Thanksgiving weekend? 5 live games? NFLRedZone Sunday afternoon? That it’s FREE all weekend?
@VerizonWireless
Verizon Wireless USA


Who’s gonna win, @ or @? See it FREE on #NFLMobile, only from VZW. Call **NFL to watch. Msg & data rates may apply.
@VerizonWireless
Verizon Wireless USA

But then Green Bay and Detroit kicked off, and woe… no live action to be found. My NFL Mobile app was showing some lame collection of Thanksgiving highlights. And other fans were getting steamed too:


The Packers Lions game is not on #NFLMobile right now… I checked. What’s going on @?
@_csquared
courtney

We’ve sent several direct tweets to Verizon wireless reps and the support Twitter handles… but no replies yet. To me the lack of any kind of response or any way for consumers to find out what the problem might be is a social media fail of the predictable kind: Big company (Verizon) takes advantage of Twitter and Facebook as a free way to promote their service or product, but isn’t really “engaged” with the audience to respond in any fashion if things go sideways.

I think people understand that trying to make NFL games appear on a phone is an incredible, hard task. People would be willing to endure mistakes or blips. But only if there was someone to own up to it. Silence is the worst kind of marketing, Verizon.

Anyone else able to see the game via NFL Mobile? Or know if this is some kind of regional blackout thing?

UPDATE 2: Saw this post from Verizon Wireless later in the afternoon on Twitter. Now it’s three games instead of five. What’s next Verizon, no pie?


Why are you thankful for #NFLMobile FREE Thanksgiving weekend? 3 live games? NFLRedZone Sunday afternoon? That it’s FREE all weekend?
@VerizonWireless
Verizon Wireless USA

CBS Streaming Top Rated SEC Games this Weekend

Broadcaster seeks to grow success from LSU vs Alabama Game

CBS Sports, coming off a very strong viewership of its live streaming broadcast of the LSU vs Alabama game several weeks ago is now touting its live streaming of the game between #3 Arkansas vs. #1 LSU as well as broadcasting the “Iron Bowl” between #2 Alabama and #24 Auburn.

The event will follow a familiar format for viewers that have experienced previous broadcasts from CBS Sports. The game will be broadcast live at CBSSports.Com/SECLive and for users of iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch I can be found by using the CBS Sports Mobile app.


The games between all of these top ranked teams has the extra incentive for the teams in they all compete in the same division and so that the winner will capture the SEC West Championship, a sure stepping stone to a top BCS Bowl game.

The LSU game will be played Friday, Nov. 25th at 2:30 ET while the Alabama/Auburn Iron Bowl game will be played Saturday, Nov.26th with a starting time of 3:30 ET. Both games will be followed by the “5th Quarter with Gary Danielson”, an interactive show that is available at cbssports.com/gary or can be followed on Twitter at @DanielsonCBS.

The LSU vs Alabama game, which pitted a #1 vs. #2 drew 214,560 viewers to its online broadcast earlier this month. The number includes an impressive 42,912 viewers who partook via a mobile device and the sites CBS Sports mobile app for Apple iOS devices.

While the game was touted as a game of the century, as if we don’t get on of those every year, it was a bit of a disappointment. Missed opportunities coupled with missed field goals left an unsatisfactory feeling for many fans.
Still CBS Sports said at the time that it believed it to be the biggest audience to watch college football on-line, although ESPN claims that it has the title from the National Championship game last year that was broadcast on ESPN3 and drew 690,000 viewers.

It will be very interesting to see how the attendance for this game compares to the first. All of the SEC fans that I know are among the most fanatical football fans I know. Yet the first game was not quite what it was billed to be in terms of scoring and excitement. Will the fact that so many are traveling this weekend spur additional mobile viewership or will it detract? Just have to wait until Monday to see the numbers from CBS to see how it pans out. From there it would be nice to see this as a growing trend in the industry.

One question for fans of either LSU or Arkansas. Is the game still officially called “The Battle for the Golden Boot”? I did not see any mention of it this week.

Friday Grab Bag: Pre Black Friday Issue

Site takes you on Stadium Journey
Every year or so you see a story about some intrepid fans that are going to travel around the US and visit all of the ball parks during baseball season. A bit rarer but you also see people that try to hit all of the minor league fields on occasion.

Well if you are just an armchair traveler, or looking to do research about a sporting venue prior to leaving home then the folks at Stadium Journey have the site for you. Sure it covers all of the MLB parks with solid info and interesting photo montages, but that is the tip of the iceberg.

How about the Central Hockey League arenas? Or are you headed to Europe and want to see what Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United looks like before attending? Its there and much more. Of course there are gaps in its lineup, particularly in Europe and possible elsewhere (I did not carefully check each league) but it is a fun and informative site. One comment- in its AT&T review it mentions “blistering Candlestick”- try freezing Candlestick.

EA’s Twitter Campaign gets Results
Electronic Art’s decided to use a sponsored Twitter to promote its FIFA 12 video game several months ago it found that the social media site, couples with a focused time-sensitive ads brought solid results, 5%-8% higher than normal for Twitter-based campaigns.

The program had a 11% customer engagement was due to what EA said was its ability to take advantage of the traffic generated by the ads and so turn it into both sales but increased following for EA’s normal Twitter feed, thus setting up potential future sales as well.

For those of you that are scratching your head and wondering what FIFA is, it’s the The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (International Federation of Association Football) that hosts the World Cup every four years. You know, soccer.

Facebook is seeking another avenue into your soul
Rumors have it that Facebook is teaming with Taiwanese cellphone developer HTC to develop a customized Android-powered smartphone code-named ‘Buffy”. Buffy, really? This rumor is according to the blog All Things Digital.

The reason is clear why Facebook would want to move further into the mobile space, it already has 350 million mobile users and relationships with a huge number of mobile operators across the globe. Still this just brings the ESPN phone back to my mind.

However don’t hold your breath waiting to use this phone to poke your friends- Facebook still has a ways to go including signing carriers, designing and then building the devices so it is not expected for at least 12- 18 months.

Top iPhone Games-No football?
Ever wonder what sports apps you should have loaded on your iPhone, assuming you have an iPhone, so that when you finally tire of shooting birds at pigs while sitting in an airport lobby you can have something else to do?

Well a short list has been created at appolicious advisor, which brings in 5 programs that it touts as timeless- thus eliminating from consideration season focused apps such as SEC Football lite or NBA 2011-12 (is there such an app?)

The five that made the cut include Bill James Baseball IQ, ESPN Radio, PrePlay, Tiger Woods: My Swing and Yahoo Spectacular. Anybody have an issue with this or what they fell is better choices send them my way and maybe I will follow up with fan favorites.

Is Malware a threat on Android?
Google is in a verbal fight with at least one security expert over the threat that viruses and other malware present to the Android mobile operating system, according to a recent post at ITWorld.

On the one hand we have Google’s open source program manager Chris DiBona claiming that the virus and security software companies are a buch of charlatans and scammers and there is no problem.

On the flip side there is Denis Maslennikov, a senior malware analyst for Kaspersky Labs who claimed that the number of malware discoveries on Android has been growing and that in less than half a year the number has rapidly grown.

Parade-
Have a great Turkey day and if you are stuffed and sitting on the sofa as the Macy’s Parade goes by look for my niece in the Homestead High marching band- she’s the cute one! And did you know there is an app to follow what is happening in the parade? Someone had too much time on their hands!

PlayUp pushes to China

PlayUp plans to launch in China in January, according to a China Daily report.

PlayUp is rapidly establishing itself as a global leader in sports social media applications for mobile devices. Launched in the United States in October, PlayUp has already downloaded 75,000 applications worldwide, according to an earlier MobileSportsReport article. By pushing into China, PlayUp establishes a presence in each of the three top markets for mobile sports. It is already active in India and Brazil.

The PlayUp application mixes live sports scores with sports social media. Its interface allows people to pick games to comment on, and easily filter conversations.

According to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), there are over 952 million mobile phone users in the country, including over 102 million on 3G mobile networks.

PlayUp will be the first application of its kind available in China when it debuts in January, according to China Daily.

ESPN ‘Morally Criminal’ in Bernie Fine Coverage, Whitlock says

Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock has published commentary saying ESPN broke its story of sexual abuse allegations against Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine “morally criminal,”  and says the network decided to report the story only because of the Penn State football sex abuse scandal.

In the column, titled “A Fine mess ESPN has created,” Whitlock says ESPN reporter Mark Schwarz got only the legal minimum information to go with a story that Syracuse’s Fine allegedly molested two step brothers and former Syracuse ball boys.

Whitlock says ESPN was spurred on by the success of Deadspin.com, which has built its reputation digging up juicy information about sports figures, including ESPN sportscasters and former Packers and Vikings quarterback Bret Favre. According to the Worth of Web, Deadspin has built a business worth $7.2 million by adding edge to sports news on the Internet.

Whitlock also quotes Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio saying his outlet would not have gone with the Fine story based on the information ESPN presented.

“And for no other reason than the fact that it seemed very presumptive and piggybacked off the Sandusky case, which irretrievably alters the public perception of the story. Davis’s story could wait another month or two,” Daulerio told Whitlock.

Whitlock’s commentary illustrates the dizzying pace sports news editors have to operate in the era of sports on mobile devices, and shows the blurring of lines between Internet upstarts and established sports media giants. Whether Tim Tebow, Penn State or Fine, the demand to be out in front has never been greater.

Sling Media moves to Facebook with new App

The company continues to reach out to new platforms

Sling Media, a provider of streaming media, has once again expanded its reach by developing a Facebook app that has the potential to reach millions of additional potential customers as well as make its make its technology more easily used.

The program is called SlingPlayer for Facebook and the obvious target is its installed customer base. To use the app you need both a Facebook account and more importantly a Slingbox. It provides you with an on screen remote control that enables you to watch and record programs remotely from your home system.

SlingPlayer for Facebook does not require additional hardware, passwords or software. A user that already has an account with the company can now use existing passwords etc to access their DVR or live television. It supports a wide variety of browsers including Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and works on both PCs and Macs. However only customers with its Pro-HD or Solo devices will be able to use the app.

The app will also enable the company to possibly get into businesses and other sites via a potential backdoor by using Facebook. A company may close many different sites to keep employees focused on work but Facebook tends to be exempt.

I expect that it will provide a secondary boost to the company as customers will likely show friends at work the technology and say on a Thursday night where you have to work late it can show a football game that you might otherwise miss.

Sling Media has been aggressive in moving its technology onto additional platforms. It is also available on Android phones and tablets, iPads, iPod Touch, iPhones Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerrys. In addition it has a Windows app and a Mac OS X app.

The company needs to stay aggressive due to the current competition from players such as Apple TV, Roku, and Boxee as well as a number of similar approaches including Xbox 360 and streaming sites like Netflix that seek to erode Sling Media’s original core space.