NBC’s Premier League Coverage Includes Free Mobile App

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NBC has given soccer fans a look at what its coverage of the U.K.’s Barclay’s Premier League will look like next season and fans have to be excited with all 380 matches presented both live and streaming so fans can always catch their favorite teams’ action, or root against foes as the case may be.

There were some questions about how the network would handle the broadcasts after outbidding Fox Sports with a $250 million offer for the rights to broadcast the extremely popular league starting next year.

The live broadcast will be shown live on NBC, NBC Sports Network, Telemundo, Mun2, Premier League Extra Time, NBC Sports Live Extra and Other NBCUniversal Channels. The Premier League Extra Time package of overflow television channels is a set of free channels that come with subscribers of NBC Sports Network. On top of the coverage of the matches will be approximately 600 hours of weekly studio and other programming.

However the network is reaching out to fans that may not have access to broadcast television some or all of the time and have the NBC Sports Live Extra website for online users and then there is an app for mobile device users that provides free live streaming of all of the matches. Now you can watch soccer while watching your kids’ soccer.

I was surprised to find out that Fox had also an app available for watching soccer, and that according to The Big Lead it cost extra and its customer service left something to be desired.

NBC Sports Group has announced on-air talent for its coverage of Barclays Premier League soccer, starting in August. Arlo White is the lead play-by-play and will be calling them live from the U.K., joined by former Premier League stars Lee Dixon and Graeme Le Saux as analysts.

From the looks of it NBC has fans covered from top to bottom on the upcoming Premier League, and while I have yet to watch any of the US Major League Soccer matches that they now broadcast, I have heard from friends that the network has brought it’s a game to that as well.

talkSPORT opens Barclays Premier League Commentary to World via Twitter

I am always looking for new ways to experience sports and I stumbled upon talkSPORT Live, which seems a bit slow on my part since on the sports radio program has been around for a dozen years but all my teachers said I was a slow learner.

Anyway the service has now joined forces with Twitter in what will be good news for fans of the Barclay Premier League Football as they will combine to provide live streaming of live commentary of the matches using talkSPORT Live’s audio player embedded in an enhanced Twitter profile page at twitter.com/talkSPORTLive.
The broadcasts will reach outside of the talkSPORT traditional market and aside from English it will be broadcast in Spanish and Mandarin/ I wonder what the demographics show about its Chinese listeners?

The move comes as talkSPORT seeks to expand its profile internationally and one of the big moves has been the launch of talkSPORT Live. The program has live commentary on the games and is available both live and on demand in case you wish to go back and see commentary on a past match.

However this is only part of its international push. Earlier this year it signed an exclusive four year deal with the Premier League audio broadcasting rights, from the 2012/13 season to the 2015/16 season.

talkSPORT Live also has broadcast partners across five continents including SiriusXM in the USA and Canada, TSN and TEAM stations in Canada, Brila FM in Nigeria, Citi FM in Ghana, SBS in Australia, Radio Sport in New Zealand and Astro stations in Malaysia who all broadcast the station’s Barclays Premier League commentary.

2Bet2 Focuses on Social Betting on Games

2Bet2

Socialized betting is undergoing an interesting change, migrating from the office water cooler, if one actually exists, and onto social media sites such as Facebook and Google +, and one of the recent entrants into that field is 2Bet2, bringing out its Facebook offering around the start of the year.

It has many of the features that are currently coming on line in rival sports apps using odds to set the line on bets and winners can get awards that allow them to advance and open up new opportunities. You can bet against friend or the house and do so on events that are played around the globe.

There is real time game and odds updates and along with seeing how your bets are doing you have a chat ability that permits congratulating, taunting, or anything in between, among players. All major sports are covered including both NFL and NCAA Football, both NBA and NCAA basketball, Hockey, Baseball, 25 different European Football leagues, Rugby Union/League, Cricket, Tennis and Golf.

2Bet2 has plenty of competition in the social betting world both with mobile app developers moving over onto social media and developers focusing initially on social media as the platform of choice. Players such as SideBet have added social media access.

There is a growing list of competitors in this space I believe that fantasy sports sites will also look towards online gambling if and when it gets the ok. Look at players including Rotowire, Grabfan, Pickmoto to name just a few. Even casinos are getting into the mix.

It seems that there is a good deal of hope in app developers that sometime in the future there will be an easing of on-line betting rules in the US that will allow the gambling of real money. Early players in this space will be well positioned to take advantage of any such change.

It would be important to be established because if and when it is legalized the moneyed Las Vegas casinos and other entities are likely to quickly enter a market that is estimated at multiple billions of dollars.

While an industry group, the American Gaming Association has said that it seems unlikely that there will be any changes to online gambling this year, although there has been a bill put before congress by members of both parties. According to American Gaming, online gambling is legal in 85 countries and an estimated $35 billion is gambled each year.

YouTube and Gillette Team up for Soccer Channel

Gillette Football Club

YouTube continues to become an alternate source of sports programming for fans and its latest effort is in partnership with Gillette to create the Gillette Football Club, a channel that will focus exclusively on soccer and its fans.

The sports channel will deliver on demand high definition video to soccer fans and is designed to enable fans to register to follow their favorite teams and provides goal and highlights for the teams as well as other league highlights including stats from a player, team or league.

It allows you to follow the English Premier League, Ligue 1, Serie A (both Brazil and Italy), Eredivise, SPL, MLS, La Liga, Ligat Ha’Al, Ekstraklasa and Bundesliga players and teams and will also show select highlights from international matches.

However it provides much more including videos of interviews with top players and team personnel as well as other features including football shows. Several high profile teams are creating content for the channel including one called Copa90 Allstars where skills and ball handling tricks will be demonstrated by top footballers.

While the programming is free, all you need to do is register, the site will be filled with advertisements from Gillette, but that really seems a small price to pay.

YouTube has been increasingly pushing into sports as an alternative to broadcast sports and had a wide variety of the 2012 Summer Olympics events available in much of the world as part of its partnership with NBC and has invested approximately $200 million in marketing its growing number of channels.

It will be interesting to see what, if any, impact this has on broadcasters such as Fox Sports and ESPN, both of whom have been increasingly focusing on the growing interest in the US as well as trying to leverage the already great demand for the sport worldwide. It seems to me that the Gillette Football Club, with VOD, is a much better avenue for fans to get updates than to rush to their TV when a network has a scheduled program that does essentially the same thing.

Will we see an ESPN or Fox team with YouTube in the future or will they seek to launch their own rival highlights program online. Whatever happens it seems to me that fans will benefit from increased competition and the resulting growth in exposure the sport receives.

Friday Grab Bag: Big Kindle Sale, Kentucky Derby Point System

Looking for a sports watch that can track your every move but dislike the bland sameness that seems to pervade the industry? Well Nike has teamed with TomTom to break that boredom with a set of Nike+ Sports watches that come in day-glo colors so that you can match your jogging outfit.

The upgraded GPS watch, which runs around $149, will support NikeFuel and provide users with a wealth of information including position, speed, and the ever popular calories burned. It also can be programmed with reminders and motivational messages.

Apple to kill Ping in next OS release?
Apple has been hinting for some time that Ping, its attempt at social networking, was on a short leash and now it sounds as if it is at the end of its short product life as the company decides not to spend good money after bad.

All Things Digital reports that the technology will be absent in future operating system releases. Of course in hindsight that seems quite obvious considering all of the Facebook integration there will be in the next release.

ESPN loses Premier League broadcast rights
Sports Illustrated has reported that ESPN was shut out of the latest round of broadcast rights for the English Premier League. The winning bid of $4.49 billion was submitted by BSkyB and BT for the domestic TV rights in a 3-year deal. The previous deal, which was split between ESPN and BSkyB was for $1.95 billion.

ITC throws out Google patents in Apple/HTC dispute
The International Trade Commission delivered some bad news to Google when it threw out five of its patents that it had assigned to HTC. HTC needed the patents in its legal battles with Apple where it is trying to bar the import of select Apple products into Taiwan.

According to Foss Patents the court rejected an investigation into the assigned patents and said that it cannot sue Apple over violating patents that it does not own, and which it appears is just renting from Google for the trial. HTC said that it will appeal. Both Apple and HTC/Google have a series of patent lawsuits against each other ongoing around the globe.

HTC buys some patents
So if you can’t rent them, buy them. HTC has confirmed that it is buying once high flying graphics processor developer S3 Graphics, and that a driving reason behind the deal is to get its hands on the company’s patent portfolio.

While not the largest in the industry S3 does own approximately 270 patents, some of which are licensed to other third party developers. HTC is one of the major companies that has been fighting it out with Apple over patents used in mobile devices such as smartphones.

Kentucky Derby Follows NASCAR’s Lead
Ever wonder how a horse qualifies for the Kentucky Derby? Well wonder no more because the races organizers are taking steps to spell out how and why horses manage to gain entry to one of the premier racing events in the world.


Churchill Downs
has developed what it calls the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” and will use a point system much like NASCAR’s that will assign points to horses that run select races, based on how they finish. The program will start this fall for the current crop of two year olds and will be used to determine next years crop of horses for the race.

Android growth still strong
Google’s Andy Rubin, who is the head of the smartphone operating system, said that the daily activation of devices running the Android operating system is now averaging 900,000 devices a day. Last year at the same time it was 500,000.

Asus confirms Google Tablet-off the record of course

Android Authority said that it sat down with an executive from Asus at the recent Computex show who confirmed that his company was building a Google-labeled tablet that will enter the 7-inch form factor fray.

Expected to be powered by Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 processor the device is expected to be priced in the $150-$250 range. Look for Google’s big Google I/O conference at the end of the month as the launching pad for the device.

Want to make your pillow a touchscreen? With MaKey MaKey you just might be able to
MaKey MaKey is the latest startup to catch my limited attention span has appeared at Kickstarter, a project that seeks to turn everyday items into functioning touchscreens with the ability to interact with the Internet.

Sound too good to be true, well it is not reality yet but there is a some interesting demos over at Kickstarter. It is simply a board, some alligator clips and an Internet connection via a PC and in no time you to could be using bananas as a keyboard.

Its funding effort, which ends today, has been a tremendous success. Seeking a $25,000 goal it went over the top and at the time of this post had already received pledges worth $533,313 with close to 11,000 backers. Nice bit of overkill.

Kindle scores big with State Department
While Apple gets most of the publicity due to its tremendous success with the iPad the Kindle just scored a major deal with the US State Department. According to a piece from The Atlantic Wire, the State Department will be purchasing thousands of Kindles.

The total value of the deal has been reported at $16.5 million and will call for the tablets to come with a teaching program. The initial buy for the project is 2,500 devices and they will be sent to libraries and other education around the world.

ESPN Sees Strong Online Soccer Viewership Ahead of Euro 2012

We have been tracking ESPN’s growing focus on soccer with interest and now the company has put forth some numbers showing that it is getting solid feedback from its efforts, and that could pay off even greater in the next few weeks.

The network said that this season’s Barclays Premier League 2011-2012 season had the highest numbers in the three years that it has carried the league. Of course if you were lucky you could have seen the 3-2 Manchester City victory over Queens Park, a game result that forced Manchester United to abort its victory party. The match was viewed by 600,000 ESPN viewers and an additional 189,000 on ESPN Deportes.

The smartphone, computers, tablet and Xbox crowd was out in support as well with 108,000 unique views for that match using either ESPN3 or WatchESPN, and for the season these platforms accounted for an average of 174,000 unique views and 8.9 million live minutes for the matches on computers. The monthly numbers are up 36% and 73% respectively over last year.

Across the spectrum of digital devices including smartphones and tablets the league had a monthly average of 9.2 million monthly minutes, up 78% compared to ESPN3 numbers last season.

While the numbers are of course dwarfed by viewership for more mainstream US sports such as the NFL, it bodes well going forward as fans increasingly know that they can go to ESPN to see top flight matches.

Still in around two weeks the EURO 2012 tournament will start and ESPN has made a major commitment to showing all of the matches, many of which will be available online. I suspect that as it continues to upgrade and expand its coverage it will continue to see its numbers explode as mobile fans will take advantage of watching games that may occur while they are running errands or at work.