ESPN Continues Move into International Sports with FIBA Deal

We have covered a good deal of ESPN’s growing coverage of international soccer but it has now signed a new deal that will have it covering a sport that has been witnessing strong growth internationally for some time-Basketball.

The broadcast giant has signed a multiyear, multi platform deal with FIBA, the world governing body for basketball, which will enable the network to present a variety of games and championships.

The scope of the deal is big, with all of the games broadcast over one ESPN property or another with Internet and mobile broadcasts included. The deal will cover the rights to approximately 400 games from six tournaments played between 2013-2015.

ESPN said that it will have telecasts in both English and Spanish, and that all Team USA and Gold Medal Games will air live on ESPN or ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes. The network plans on televise every game of the tournaments across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPN Deportes.

The agreement covers the FIBA Americas Championships (2013, 2015), the EuroBaskets (2013, 2015), the FIBA Basketball World Cup (2014) and the FIBA World Championship for Women (2014).

It will be interesting to see how well the games do, viewership wide. FIBA uses slightly different rules than the NBA, and I think that many hoops fans are only aware of different international leagues when a star NBA player threatens to play for one.

FIBA is the international body governing 213 National Basketball Federations throughout the world and is recognized as the sole competent authority in basketball by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) it has been butting heads with the NBA of late.

During the most recent Summer Olympics the NBA floated a proposal that there be an enhanced World Cup of Basketball, much like in soccer. There is currently one now but the according to some reports the new one would be run by the NBA, which would also harvest most of the profits.

The NBA, which gets no profit from the Olympics, paired the proposal with the idea that the NBA stops sending players to the Olympics. SO far this does not seem to be gaining much traction. On the flip side FIBA is now pushing to add 3 on three basketball to the Olympics.

Friday Grab Bag: 30 on 30 Returns, Arena Bowl Tonight

Avitae Arena Bowl XXV

The Arena Football League will crown a champion this weekend when the Arizona Rattlers take on the Philadelphia Soul in New Orleans at 10:30 ET on Aug. 10 for all of the marbles.

Philadelphia reached the championship game by decisively defeating the Jacksonville Sharks 89-34 while the Rattlers reached the final round with a much closer victory over the Utah Blaze, 75-69. The Rattlers will be playing in their second consecutive championship and seventh overall, quite an accomplishment in a 25-year-old league.

What do the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and NCAA have in common?

Apparently it is an extreme hatred of a new sports betting lottery game that has been long talked about in New Jersey. The bill would permit gambling on both pro and college sports, and that is something that has the said sports leagues very upset.

From a look at the discussion at ProFootballTalk it looks like New Jersey has a very tough challenge ahead of it. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey, relies on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, and the window that would enable New Jersey to allow gambling has long since closed. In addition the state of Delaware has already tried this and lost.

It seems that if the bill does make it past the courts the NFL will retaliate by “punishing” New Jersey by not allowing it to host another Super Bowl. I wonder if a win would open the floodgates to other states also allowing sports betting and what the NFL will try and do about that?

Apple expected to exclude YouTube in iOS 6
Apple is expected to no longer include the popular video viewing app YouTube in the next version of its mobile operating system iOS 6 when that OS is released. The app has been a standard feature included with Apple’s products for the past five years.

Apple said that its license to include the standalone version of YouTube app in its operating system has ended. It can still be used via the Chrome browser and Google is working on a version for the App store. What will the world do without its morning fix of cute animal videos?

Will NBA backpedal on Under-23 rule for Olympics?
NBA Commissioner David Stern had advocated that future Summer Olympics only allow players that are under 23 into the competition. This move would have the affect of saving the NBA’s team owners the angst of worrying about their star players’ health prior to the start of the season.

However it appears that there is a great deal of pushback from the rest of the basketball playing world. It seems that many nations want to send their best athletes, not just the ones that are convenient for the NBA. Who would have guessed?

Anyway it now sounds as if the NBA may just leave well enough alone, at least until a new commissioner replaces Stern, who is running out his term as commissioner.

AT&T Shared data plan on the horizon
AT&T has said that it will launch its mobile share plans, which allow a user to have a data plan that can be used with multiple devices, eliminating the need for a separate plan for each device, on Aug. 23.

The plans will range in size from 1GB to 20GB each and requires at least one smartphone with a unlimited talk and text plan as part of the overall bundle. A user can have a maximum of nine devices on a single plan.

ESPN re-ups 30 for 30 for second season
ESPN’s 30 for 30 series will make a reappearance this year as the sports giant has a new slate of topics that will get a full blown film treatment. The series is scheduled to start on Oct. 2, 8 pm ET with an episode entitled “Broke” about athletes who have burned through their fortunes. The series will run through December and you can head over to ESPN to get the synopsis for the fall offerings.

Google to add voice activated services
Google is once again firing a shot across Apple’s bow as it launches a voice activated service that will run on Apple’s iPhones and so directly compete with Apple’s Siri. The company will also be pushing the app, called “voice search” on the Android platform.

The company expects to release the app for iPhones within the next few weeks and then it will release it for the Android at a later, unspecified date.

Instagram on your camera?
It makes sense on the face of it. You might have a camera that has much greater capabilities compared to the one in your smartphone. Now at least one camera manufacturer is working to deliver both Android in its cameras, but Instagram along with the operating system.

Mashable has reported that Nikon is working on just this solution in its next generation cameras and that one could be available soon. While the vast majority of apps would be relatively worthless, unless the camera is a hybrid of some sort, image apps such as Instagram should find an instant home.

FIBA to push for 3 on 3 Basketball as Olympic Sport

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA), which governs international basketball competition, is seeking to establish its three on three (3×3) version of the sport as an Olympic event in the coming years, it has said. It is shooting for the 2020 games at the latest.

While you hear about plenty of sports seeking Olympic recognition, 3×3 looks like it has an inside track. It has been played competitively, and by this we mean on a world stage not the inner city asphalt courts of its birth, since 2007 and made its worldwide debut at the 2010 Youth Olympics.

It is a widely played version of the sports and FIBA has massive federation membership numbers, with over 213 national federations spread over five geographical zones; Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. FIBA said that it sees the sports adoption much in the way that beach volleyball followed indoor volleyball in to the Olympic camp.

Currently FIBA is launching a new three on three tournament that will follow its 3×3 World Tour. The world tour will have teams playing in six cities this year with several of them have already been played: Sao Paulo (July 14-15); Vladivostok, Russia (July 21-22); N.Y. (Aug. 18-19); Istanbul (Sept. 1-2); Madrid (Sept. 8-9) and Miami (Sept. 22-23).

There was a series of 70 qualifiers that were held to hone down the teams that were allowed to play in the event. The event looks to have an informal feel to it as aside from players’ skill events it also invites local street artists and DJs to perform and has an open to the public contest as well.

The Miami games will be the finals and there are a variety of teams broken down by age and sex playing in the tournaments. Nike and Samsung are major sponsors for the events.