MLB teams with GigaPan to Engage Fans With Game Images of Crowds


Ever looked at photos of a ball game that you attended and you searched to see if you could find yourself? Well that has just been made a whole lot easier with one of the new efforts that MLB Advanced Media and GigaPan have launched this season.

They have developed a program that shows the crowds at games in a high-definition, interactive panorama located at MLB’s TagOramic web site that allows a fan to zoom in on sections of seats and find themselves and friends. Having tried it I found several friends at a recent Giants game. You can then tag yourself, which will appear as a blue dot above your head as well as share photos via Facebook Connect.

This is part of a partnership between the two that has also given birth to a a new series of programs that are digital interactive scavenger hunts. The goal is to find a hidden object or person and you can win prizes.

The first one, called the Scotts Ultimate Home Field Advantage Sweepstakes – was introduced on March 25, and offers fans the opportunity to #FindScott and tag him in theTagOramic for a chance to win a $25,000 backyard makeover. Clues and hints are available from MLB’s Facebook and Twitter feed.

There are plans to run multiple contests over the year. MLB has been very aggressive in using mobile and social media to not only engage fans but also to enhance the experience at the park by allowing you to order food or upgrade seats with a smartphone or tablet. The league appears to be far ahead of its rival major sports leagues at this point and continues to push the envelope on what it can offer. While this program is hardly a epoch making event it does signify the leagues continual interest in providing for its fans.

Friday Grab Bag: More Smart Watches and Games to Play at Ball Parks

Still a year out Google Glass is already raising eyebrows and causing concern in legislative offices locally and nationally. Already West Virginia is looking at banning them from being worn while driving, and that could just be the start.

We have long questioned what casinos would do with players that can instantly see the odds flashed on their glasses but it appears there is a whole realm of other uses, from invasion of privacy to electronic surveillance.

FAA to ease in-flight powered device rule?
It is starting to look as if you will soon be able to continue reading on a tablet while your jetliner is taking off or landing. The New York Times is reporting that unnamed Federal Aviation Administration said changes are in the works.

An FAA work group found that powered up devices caused no issues with the aircraft and that the agency is now looking to ease rules, possibly as soon as the end of the year. It look like the ruling will apply to reading devices such as tablets only.

Aim is important even in the minor leagues
In what has to be the oddest in-ballpark games I have heard about the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Philadelphia Phillies’ top minor league affiliate, has installed a ‘urinal gaming system’ that it is rolling out this season.

The gaming system, the details of which are few, is said to activate as a person approaches the urinal in the men’s restrooms at the Lehigh ballpark. The guy can aim left or right to control the action on the screen. Glad it is not a touch screen program.

Rumors of the week

The next Generation Galaxy Tab to have 8-Core processor
The rumor mill always loves Samsung and the latest is that the company is developing a next generation Galaxy Tab that will feature an eight core Exynos 5 Octa processor, a chip that has four low powered cores dedicated to handling low powered tasks in order to extend battery life.

While Samsung has been talking about the processor technology since the start of the year it has not named a product, as of yet, that it plans to use with the chip. SamMobile is now reporting that it will be in a Galaxy Tab to be released later this year that will feature either a 10.1 HD screen or a 11.6-inch HD screen.

LG to build smartwatch?
While Apple’s iWatch and Google’s smartwatch development programs are still only rumors and Samsung has talked about its plans in a relatively vague manner others are already joining into this (overhyped?) market. The latest is LG Electronics which is reported to be planning on developing a rival offering.

The Korean Times, via Yahoo, is reporting that LG is now looking at developing a connected watch that will compete with the smartwatches that are being developed by rivals. It said that company officials belive this to be the next must have device.

March Madness a Huge Hit with Online and Mobile Users


To the surprise of probably no one the first round of the annual NCAA Division 1 Basketball tournament has see resounding television viewership numbers (best in 18 years), but what might pass unnoticed is how strong its mobile and online viewership is as well.

Strong actually may be understating it, in the first week viewership via PCs, smartphones and tablets accounted for 10 million hours of video stream consumed by fans accessing all of the different online digital properties showing the tournament.

The results coupled with the strong online viewership the recent London Summer Olympics enjoyed should put to rest the arguments that making live sports action available for mobile and online users will hurt television viewership that some sports leagues still adhere to.

There were 4.2 million unique visitors watching games, and what is telling about how fast this has become an alternative method to watch the event, that number represents a 161% increase from just a year ago.

Broadband users were the top consumers of video averaging 105 minutes of viewing time while the mobile segment, the smartphone and tablet users, consumed 61 minutes per user.

The mobile aspect of this is increasingly important. Mobile viewers represented for 43% of live video streams on Thursday, 48% on Friday, 59% on Saturday and 60% on Sunday. These numbers both show how important reaching mobile users and that by addressing them how an event can expand its viewership by reaching fans that might be at work and prohibited from using work PCs to view or people that are out and about but still want to catch a game. Hopefully others, such as the NFL, will take this to heart and make more games available online.

Yahoo! Sports’ Tournament Pick’Em Comes with Possible $10K Payoff


Yahoo! Sports is one of the major online sports sites and so it is of no surprise that it is also one of the major hosting sites for NCAA Tournament contests with a series of options for fans to compete against friends and strangers.

At first blush it has the features that you would expect a site that is hosting tournament pools to have including the ability to create a private group to play against your friends and the ability to join preexisting groups in the open group section. You do need a Yahoo account, which is free, to participate.

A nice touch is the ability to compete against Facebook friends, or after the tournament maybe just people that used to be friends. Yahoo! Sports will create a customized leaderboard that permits you and your Facebook friends to compare brackets, even if you are not in the same pool. Good for bragging rights if nothing else. The way I pick I fall into the nothing else category.

One of the features that is sure to capture the eye of almost anyone entering the contest is the fact that the best bracket is again eligible to win $10,000. There are of course certain eligibility rules including being over 18 years of age. To participate you must opt in when creating your bracket in the basic game portion of the site and you must have a valid Yahoo!, Google or Facebook ID.

Yahoo provides a guide to the tournament and can even fill out your brackets for you, if you so desire. Fans need to remember that time is tight and that to qualify for the tournament, and the prizes, they need to register prior to the first game of the Round of 64 that tips off tomorrow. Delivers Updated Mobile App in time for March Madness

cbs has updated its mobile app with enhanced features that enables avid fans of the NCAA’s March Madness tournament, and even just casual observers, to follow the tournament, get insight into games and map out their bracket strategy.

This is not its first shot at delivering an app for the tournament but the company has completely redesigned the program to provide an enhanced experience for people that follow the event on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets as well as via a web site.

At the most basic level the redesigned CBS Sports mobile app provides instant access to brackets and access to insight from experts on which teams to pick, which as even the most casual fan knows is of all importance during the tournament, for bragging rights if nothing else.

However the app, available for both Android and Apple iOS device users is not just a static data program but provides a host of other features including featuring live access to all bracket games (iOS users only), tweets from other game that are currently ongoing as well as updates and final scores as they are warranted.

It provides fans with several options in the area of brackets including allowing a user to enter the Bracket Challenge where a user can have as many as three brackets and competes with others who enter the event. There is also a tool called Bracket Manager that is designed to help create and manage bracket groups that you might want to form with friends or coworkers. For Users whose picking skills are similar to mine there is also something called Round by Round that permits fans to pick each of the six rounds, eliminating “busted” brackets.

For those who cannot wait for the tournament the app also provides coverage of this weekend’s Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament Semifinals and Championship on Saturday and Sunday.

Warrior Dash Runs into Portland this Weekend

Warrior Dash

I was kidding a friend about how he would stay in shape between Spartan Races, since the ones in the Pacific Northwest are few and far between and he said that he would of course be participating in this weekend’s Warrior Dash in Portland.

I should have guessed but what can I say? Anyway this weekend, for those of you so inclined, there will be a Warrior Dash, an event that takes place on a 3.11 mile course and features 12 obstacles, 13 if you count trying to find your way to Horning’s Hideout for the start.

The event provides a nice map that shows you the position and type of each obstacle starting with the Deadweight Drifter and going on through the Great Warrior Wall and ending with the ever popular Muddy Mayhem.

The Warrior Dash does not allow teams, which seems a pity because I could see the

event obviously does not take itself too seriously. In the FAQ section there is the question about what to do if you cannot swim. Part of the response is that you can always jump on another Warrior’s back.

One feature that I like, aside from a free beer for all participants, was the advice that it gives to both experienced and novice participants in terms of a training regime. For the rank novice, called a virgin warrior, it gives a six or seven week timeline to prepare for the race with both strength and cardio training. It is just basic advice but it is a good starting point. There is also advice for both the casual warrior and the ultimate warrior.

It will be interesting to track how my buddy does because since his first attempt at tackling this type of race he has completely changed his workout. I mean in the past he never trained to leap over a fire, what a slacker! If you are attending send us some photos, please.