October 19, 2014

NFL to Stream Super Bowl Again, This Time with CBS: Playoffs Also on Mobile Via Verizon

Good news for football fans — the Super Bowl will be available online again this year, courtesy of the NFL and the good folks at CBS. It’s the second year in a row the “big game” will be streamed online for free; fans will be able to watch online at either CBSSports.com or the NFL.com sites.

Last year, NBC’s online streaming of the Super Bowl attracted 2.1 million viewers, according to the league. NBC, which did a great job making the Olympics available online this summer, will also stream its broadcasts of the Wildcard Saturday NFL playoff games as well as the Pro Bowl, something I am amazed still happens. (I mean — why not just stream video of the players vacationing in Hawaii instead?)

Verizon, through its exclusive (for now) deal to show live NFL action on mobile devices, will show playoff games live as well, though you need a Verizon phone, a big data plan, and have to pay $5 per month for access to live action via Verizon’s NFLMobile app. If you’re stuck roaming around while the games are going on and have a Verizon phone anyway, it’s worth the small charge.

All in all, more mobile access to content is good — I wonder how many fans will be watching the game online while they’re at the game live? Good thing the Superdome has a good network.

Small Business Disconnects with Mobile Workforce

We’re a migrant workforce, or mobile if you prefer. Regardless of semantics, people are more comfortable than ever taking their to-do list and hitting the road. Armed with smartphones and tablets, iPads and phablets, employees and executives alike are taking meetings, joining calls and doing work wherever they can take refuge — at a coffee or sports bar, a restaurant or retail store.

That’s why its so shocking to me, as a card-carrying member of the mobile workforce, to find so many SMBs that don’t have a Wi-Fi network to offer its customers access to the Internet. Are these operators trying to save a few bucks on the cost of setting up a “guest network?” Is it possibly the threat of intrusion – so a security issue? Or are these business professionals unaware of how many people in their establishment are disappointed (or not going to their businesses) because they don’t offer Wi-Fi?

My guess is that most of the companies today not offering Wi-Fi are just clueless, regardless of why. Any small business that is trying to recruit retail customers and wants new customers in their store and is not offering Wi-Fi to its customers for free is losing customers.

Before you throw the proverbial red flag for further review on this bold recommendation, let me add that yes, security is an issue. There are, of course, ways to set up the right kind of Wi-Fi network and have a simple means for providing ‘guests’ access without letting them be part of the official business network. For anyone who has basic networking skills the setup (and the cost) are pretty minimal. So that objection is overruled, and you lose one timeout.

Network professionals, mobile workers unite — and tell your SMB friends to set up a secure Wi-Fi guest network with good equipment — so that you can work where you want to and when you want to, while honoring the entities that allow you to do so with your attention — and your business.

Guest Blog: Pickmoto Tracks the ESPN Pickers, Week 13

Editor’s note: This blog is a series from Pickmoto, a fantasy sports mobile app.

Week 13

What the … a bad week for Wickersham! Though it was just minus-11, it was only the second negative score he’s posted all year (he dropped 34 in Week 6). His bad week was all the more surprising because only 2 other ESPNers didn’t gain ground: Schlereth and Golic. That’s not the company Wickersham usually keeps.

His usual partner at the top of the rankings, Mort, had the best week and almost took the lead. He was the only ESPNer with 12 correct picks and successfully nabbed the Seahawks. We are confused by his Chargers pick though (Wick had them as well). That seemed like one of the more obvious stayaways.

Elsewhere, Schefter combated what would have been a negative score with a 70-point kick from his ballsy Rams upset pick. He was the only one to pick the Rams. On the other end of the ledger, Golic was the only one to pick the Saints, and partly as a result, he turned in the worst week. You might notice a “+” next to Eric Allen, but don’t be fooled. He only jumped 6 points. He’s still within striking range of 0 with 2 bad weeks.

ESPN Experts Leaderboard – Week 13
-Everyone starts with 300 points.

Seth Wickersham – 732
+Chris Mortensen – 727
+Merrill Hoge – 394
+Adam Schefter – 381
+Ron Jaworski – 355
+Cris Carter – 307
+Keyshawn Johnson – 281
+Tom Jackson – 215
Mark Schlereth – 205
+Mike Ditka – 196
Mike Golic – 188
+Eric Allen – 77

Pickmoto is fun, quick, easy competition. It recreates the fantasy sports experience on mobile. Its first game for the 2012 NFL season is free for iPhone and iPad. Its second game for the NBA season just hit the AppStore.

Pickmoto asks the most basic question in sports – which teams will win. It’s pick’em with a twist: there’s a crowdsourced scoring system that rewards correct picks based on their popularity – the less popular, the more points.

Who’s Winning the Wi-Fi Market? A Quick Look at the Leaders

Thanks to the folks at IDC, a handy leaders chart: But watch out for those “others?”

Chart: Top Five Worldwide Enterprise WLAN Vendors, Revenue Market Share, 3Q 2012 Description: Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker, November 2012 Note: IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker provides insight into customer trends by delivering total market size and vendor share data for the enterprise class and consumer class WLAN markets across eight regions and 52 countries. The data is further segmented by product category, product, standard, and location. Shipment and revenue data are provided. For more information, or to subscribe to the research, please contact Kathy Nagamine at 1-650-350-6423 or knagamine@idc.com. Further detail about this tracker can be found at:http://www.idc.com/tracker/showproductinfo.jsp?prod_id=262Tags: IDC,Tracker, WLAN, Cisco, Aruba, HP, Ruckus, WW, 3Q 2012, Market Share, Motorola Solutions, Revenue, Vendor, Share, Q3, SizeAuthor: IDCcharts powered by iCharts

The No Connection Section — Stadiums Without Networks Are Whiffing on Revenues

Editor’s note: Please join me in welcoming special projects editor Keith Newman to the pages of MSR. Keith has been a long time supporter of MSR and is now adding his voice to our blog.

When I come to the game and my phone doesn’t connect, I am more confused than the Oakland Raiders’ offense. Don’t stadium managers, sports team executives and concessions marketers realize we are here watching the game and our wallet and smartphones are with us the whole time? Don’t they also realize that their job is to make sure they optimize the combined viewing experience while maximizing our spending activity?

So why does it continue to be so hard to text friends, tweet an update from our game to our followers, find out who else is at the game, call up other scores (or God forbid a video highlight from another game going on)? Some stadiums like AT&T Park get it, but they are in the minority. They do so at their own revenue peril.

With almost every new smartphone or tablet sold, another Wi-Fi connection comes into the marketplace. We understand that so many phones in a compact space like a stadium can overload the cellular network. So Wi-Fi is needed to answer the call. And while some stadiums are getting ahead of the curve, others, like Candlestick Park, remain Wi-Fi dark. It’s still unusual to find a good signal at a stadium. And because of that, there are dollars in my wallet that the stadium owner and operator will never see.

So, has the time has come for fans to cry out? To demonstrate? No. But sports fans may go on strike when it comes to attending games live. The sports fan is OK with staying home and watching the game in HD with awesome replay, store/forward, and Sling/TIVO ability. The weight is on the shoulders of these other bodies who are losing money, fans and potentially an increasing amount of revenue by not taking advantage of the enormous opportunities to improve the experience and increase revenue. It’s game time. How’s your network?

Wi-Fi Whispers: Is Time-Warner Cable Deal With WeFi About Mobile Sports Content?

The news that came out last week continued an interesting question: why would a cable company want to expand its free Wi-Fi services? Could it be that a big cableco sees free Wi-Fi as a way to keep its current cable customers — by making sure they can watch sports content wherever and whenever they want?

Nobody knows for sure yet, but in all the numerous news reports of the recent deal between cable giant Time-Warner Cable and Wi-Fi aggregator startup WeFi, there were a lot of details on the what but hardly any on the why.

Like other cablecos, TWC has been moving forward aggressively with a Wi-Fi hotspot deployment. By tapping WeFi’s capability to help people find free hotspots, TWC is buying rather than building, taking advantage of the idea that private networks may get built out farther and faster than even the biggest service providers could manage. But the question still lingers — why?

GigaOM’s Kevin Fitchard in the story linked above touches a bit on an idea — he quotes a WeFi exec’s idea that “cable providers want to encourage their customers to access their broadband connections and video programming outside of the home, making those services that much stickier.” But I don’t think it’s just about the sticky. I think it’s about maximizing the access to the content that is king over all other types, namely live sports content.

Sports remains the far and away No. 1 reason people watch TVs — just go find a list of the top viewed programs ever. Or check out stats from this summer’s Olympics. And a lot of that viewing is going to move to mobile screens, like tablets. So why is TWC putting Wi-Fi hotspots on the beaches of Southern California? Surprise, surprise, TWC last year paid $3 billion to snag the rights to L.A. Lakers basketball games. So now Lakers fans who are TWC subscribers can watch the games while they’re on the sand. But most importantly to TWC — they won’t cancel their cable subscriptions, meaning that TWC doesn’t have to shell out the $500 or so that is the estimated cost of finding a new subscriber.

Since it’s LA those subscribers may also be watching things like Dancing With the Stars or American Idol, but don’t kid yourself — you don’t see anyone ponying up billions in just rights fees for reality shows. And people don’t cancel cable subscriptions or buy pricey ones just to watch those shows. They do for sports, and I’m betting that cable’s big move to provide free Wi-Fi is all about making sure sports fans can watch the content they’ve already paid for — instead of, say, paying Verizon $5 extra a month to watch NFL games on your phone.

Here’s the news coverage of the TWC/WeFi deal:

Jeff Baumgartner at Light Reading
Todd Spangler at Multichannel News
Kevin Fitchard at GigaOM

And the LA Times story about sports rights, also a good read: Joe Flint and Meg James, LA Times (HT to Spangler’s Twitter feed for the link)