Friday Grab Bag: Everest site of new wing suit record attempt

If imitation is the highest form of flattery then Felix Baumgartner, the man who jumped from space, must be very flattered that his action is being imitated by climber Joby Ogwyn who will do a similar stunt, this time from the top of the world’s highest peak.

If all goes as planned the Discovery Channel will be broadcasting the feat on live TV this May as it covers the last stage of Ogwyn’s climb and subsequent jump. It is expected to cover five miles and feature three stages. It will be covered by 15 cameras including some that are mounted in the wing suit.

Tim Tebow to be face of A-11 League?
There is a new spring pro football league forming called the A-11 FL that is planning on starting to play this year with first games slated for May. Initially the league will have eight teams at its formation that will span cities across the United

Now there are reports that one of the teams, not surprisingly based in Tampa, is looking to give Tim Tebow a shot at redemption by selecting him as its quarterback. A league official said that Tebow would become the face of the league.

New Thursday & Saturday NFL games this year
If you had CBS as the station that would win the bidding war for new Thursday Night Football games step up and accept your prize! The channel will be airing eight games this upcoming season, which will be simulcast with the NFL Network broadcast. The NFL Network will also exclusively show eight late season games.

Then there is the expansion to Saturday, where the league will show two games on Dec. 20, Week 16 of the season and after all of the bye weeks have passed for the teams. The kickoff times and teams are still being determined.

1904 Olympics must have been something
While the current Olympics in Sochi are getting a good deal of grief prior to the opening ceremony you have to wonder what people would be saying if the games imitated on that took place over 100 years ago?

The Smithsonian has an interesting piece on the games that took place in 1904 in St Louis, Mo. and specifically on the top event, the Marathon. One feature was that they intentionally allowed the athletes to become dehydrated during the run to see what effect that would have.

Baseball Corporate Sponsors: A History
It appears that all but eight stadiums in MLB have a corporate sponsor, and with the Texas Rangers selling the naming rights to Globe Life and Accident Insurance Co. there are now only nine without an extended title that just rolls off of your tongue.

Yet just 20 years ago, according to the Consumerist, there was only one that had a sponsor name while most were simply named for their location and one, San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium, was even named after a sports writer of all things. Take a look at how some of the names have undergone change in the last two decades.

Pro surfing league brings ESPN, YouTube and Facebook on board for event broadcasts


We have been touting YouTube as an alternative sports channel basically since the inception of this site and it looks like it has taken another major step forward in that direction as part of a deal that includes the Association of Professional Surfers (ASP), ESPN and Facebook.

The 3-year deal will start next year and calls for ESPN to recap 26 ASP events in a series of 11 broadcasts, while the ASP YouTube Channel will show all 26 events live for surfing fans. Facebook will serve as the primary social-platform partner, with the important goal of seeking to drive fan engagement via both broadcasts and connecting fans to the athletes themselves.

A look at the role that YouTube plays shows how its importance is growing. Over the course of the season next year it will broadcast, along with a new ASP website, over 3,000-plus hours of exclusive programming, including 26 live-streamed events across the men’s ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the women’s ASP WCT and the ASP Big Wave World Tour (BWWT).

The three way partnership also shows the growing impact that social media players are having on the broadcast industry. A recent deal between the NFL and Twitter is another example of how the two areas are starting to find common ground for growth. Major League Baseball has also been very active with social media partners including with Instagram where fans can tag photos of themselves at games.

These types of deals are good for both broadcasters and fans. There is obviously too much surfing coverage for just ESPN, with its already full plate, to handle. By partnering with someone such as YouTube, fans win by not getting shut out of viewing most of the events live and the two broadcast partners both help grow the interest in the sport. The ASP claims that it has 120 million fans worldwide.

The ASP deal for ESPN only holds for its U.S. broadcasts and the surfing association said that it is looking for related deals to bring the sports to the airwaves around the globe.

Viewers flock to on-air and digital PGA Championship broadcasts


The Turner Sports decision to present an aggressive online presence for the PGA Championship as well as strong over the air coverage resulted in strong results as the event sees big growth in viewership in both areas.

The over the air broadcast of the 2013 PGA Championship from the Oak Hill Country Club East Course in Pittsford, N.Y., shown on TNT received the network’s highest rating for the event in 3 years with an average of 1.6 million viewers, up 54% from last year. It had an average of 1.2 U.S. house hold rating, a 50% increase from last year.

Probably as no surprise most of the top regions in terms of viewership are also hot golfing destinations and all rated much higher than the national average. They were markets for all four rounds of coverage on TNT were Las Vegas (2.7), West Palm Beach (2.6), Columbus (2.4), Greenville, S.C. (2.4) and Orlando (2.3).

While the broadcast numbers were strong, the digital numbers were even stronger, showing that there is a large market that wants to experience sporting events but often cannot get away to view them on television.

The PGA.Com umbrella that handles both mobile and broadband streaming delivery was up 69% during the Championship and live streaming hours across platforms are up 85% compared with 2012.

A Foodfight comes to Minor League Baseball


For fans of minor league baseball there is now a contest for them to sink their teeth into, a competition that will seek to judge which MiLB ballpark has the best concessions in a social media driven contest sponsor by Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media arm.

The #foodfight contest will include 160 minor league ball yards and will have four different, and pretty clear, categories. They are: Gut Busters, Hogs ‘n’ Dogs, Local Legends and Scrumptious Sandwiches and voting can be done via Twitter or at the web site.

For Twitter users use the #foodfight and include the nickname of the team that is selling the food that you are voting on. You can also visit to vote for their favorite food item in each of the four categories.

You can vote early and vote often since there is no limit to the amount of times that you vote. But do so soon since the first round of voting ends next week on the 29th. The next day the final round of voting will start and run for one week with the winner announced on June 6th.

There is the potential for participants as well with a sweepstakes that includes all of the voters. The winner gets a trip to the ballpark with the winning food item and includes roundtrip airfare, accommodations, game tickets and other prizes.

If you like ball park food, visit the MiLB site to see some of the offerings that are eligible for votes. It sure has gone a long way since hot dogs and cracker jacks were the standards.

Contest Could Get You into PGA Championship


The 95th annual PGA Championship is the last major of the season and will be held this year at the Oak Hill Country Club up in the Town of Pittsford, NY and the PGA is holding a contest that could allow you (if you win) access to the course.

On the face of it it looks simple, which always means that it will be much tougher than I imagine. The contest is called the PGA Championship Reporter Contest and all you need to do is tell the PGA why you should be reporting from the links for that event.

The PGA is looking for three criteria in an entry. They are quality of entry, originality of entry and number of votes that the entry receives. The PGA’s rules do not tell what or how votes are accumulated.

From the entries there will be ten selected as finalists on May 13, of which four will make the cut. Each of the ten will then create a one minute video that has you explaining why you should be the person selected for the event.

The four winners will be announced Thursday, May 30 and will have the privilege to report from the Oak Hill Country club during PGA Championship week, August 5-11. The PGA emphasizes that this is a voluntary position and that it does not provide any compensation aside from course access.

If your entry is not selected you can always consider other contests that accept written essays such as the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Just do not use “It was a dark and stormy night” I am pretty sure that it has already been used.

Boston Marathon Apps Enables Fans to Track Favorites During Race


April 15 is often a day of dread for many as income taxes can no longer be put off , yet there is an event that will draw at least half a million people that will be cheered by the events of the day, the annual Boston Marathon.

While you may not be able to get to Bean Town to watch the 117th running of the event there is now an app available from AT&T and the Boston Athletic Association that runs the event that will enable you to track the runners and their times during the race.

Marathon apps are nothing new; the New York Marathon has had one available for several years and there are any number of running apps that allow you to post your route and time in real time, but this is still a good way for those who are interested in tracking the times from the event.

However the app and other related programs from AT&T are part of a larger weekend event that the company is using to offer free service to runners, friends and family attending Marathon Weekend.

The marathon app enables users to select up to 10 runners that are participating in any of the races that day and it will provide updates from the 10K point, the halfway point of 13.1 miles at Wellesley Center, the 30K point and the finish line.

For the true athletes that are actually racing there is the Athlete Alert Program that permits runners to automatically update their progress along the course. Runners register prior to the race and as they pass specific points automatic messages are sent out to e-mail addresses, smartphones and other devices.

Other features from the weekend include free commemorative photos at the finish line for both runners and fans and the network will provide free calling centers for race finishers to contact friends via phone or text.