NBC’s Sunday Night Football Expands Social Media Presence

Sunday Night Football on NBC

I was reading an old NBC Sports press release this morning and an interesting note caught my eye on its growing use of social media as a tool in reaching fans. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all will feature much more prominently in the networks pro football efforts.

The first thing I saw was that for what seems like a first you will be able to get live video updates from the sidelines of Sunday Night Football. It seems that NBC’s broadcast team sideline reporter will be posting updates directly to Twitter.

As the ultimate in mobility, if not image quality, it looks like instead of a traditional camera they will be using an iPhone, according to Mashable, to record the updates that will be provided by reporter Michele Tafoya and then post them to @SNFonNBC.

I think that this is a great idea because it will enable her to expand beyond the role that sideline reporters often seem to fall into such as asking blindingly obvious questions to the coaches and occasionally providing an injury update when they can squeeze them into the broadcast.

During sports broadcasts I do not like the breakways from the action that seem to increasingly occur. ESPN almost ruined Monday Night Football for me by having a guest in the booth and talking with them and showing the conversation rather than the action that was on the field. I did not tune in to hear Mark Wahlberg tout his latest movie!

Apparently the Twitter effort started in the preseason and I managed to miss it, as I followed my tradition of not watching preseason games, or pretty much caring about their results aside from the injury reports.

For the second year NBC will also be employing Instagram as a tool to send images to fans, both ones that it generates from the control truck, field and locker-room but also fan-generated ones as well who can submit via Instagram using #SNF that be sent into a special Instagram tab on the Sunday Night Football Facebook page.

The centerpiece of the social experience will be its Facebook page, Facebook.com/SNFonNBC that will serve as an aggregation site for all of its various properties including NBCSports.com, ProFootballTalk.Com and RotoWorld.com as well as the Twitter feed and the Instagram postings.

I think this is one of the best uses of social media by a broadcaster and shows that as the broadcasters, at least this one, are getting a grasp on the fact that fans view events and gather information about them with a greater variety of media tools than ever before and that reaching them all takes a more concentrated effort.

NBC Sports Radio Debuts Nationwide on Terrestrial Stations, Online

NBC Sports Radio, airing on 178 radio stations nationwide as well as streaming on www.nbcsportsradio.com, debuted Sept. 4 and is featuring a diverse selection of programs.

Programming will be distributed by Dial Global and content will include hourly sports news updates, daily features as well as long-form shows.

The NBC Sports Radio roster includes:

The Erik Kuselias Show, Monday-Friday 7-10pm, ET;

Amani and Eytan, Monday-Friday 10pm-1am, ET: featuring former NFL pro Amani Toomer and Eytan Shander;

The Dan Schwartzman Show, Tuesday-Saturday 1am-5am, ET;

Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison, a two-hour weekend show featuring former NFL All-Pro Rodney Harrison;

24/7 anchored national updates featuring Jon Stashower, Kay Adams and

Dan Schwartzman.

The new NBC Sports Radio is a partnership between Dial Global and the NBC Sports Group.

“This is a great day in sports radio and we’re proud to have 178 affiliates share it with us,” said Chris Corcoran, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Dial Global. “Our main goal from day one has been to deliver great content for radio stations and we are excited to finally hit the field and play.”

Rob Simmelkjaer, Senior Vice President, NBC Sports Ventures and International, said, “We couldn't be more excited to launch the newest platform in the NBC Sports Group family. With 178 affiliates on board at launch and a great starting talent line-up, the sky is the limit for NBC Sports Radio.”

A mobile applications for the network is being developed, according to a spokesperson.

James Raia is a California-based journalist who writes about sports, travel and leisure. Visit his cycling site at tourdefrancelife.com


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.

Friday Grab Bag: Kindle Rumors, Odd Olympic Facts

Every Olympics you see some piece about the sports that have come and gone for the games, baseball and shooting live pigeons being two that readily come to mind. However there is something much more fundamental about the games that has changed a great deal as well, mainly how you get your information.

Everybody on the Internet must know by now that this is the most social media Olympics in history (also the 1st?), but think about past games and how you got the news and how they were broadcast. A nice piece in Mashable and accompanying infographic lays it out quite well.

The first modern Olympics, in 1896 had carrier pigeons, first radio broadcasts in 1924, first live telecasts in 1936 but worldwide broadcasts had to wait until 1960. The Internet hit way back in 1996! In my opinion one of the best things is that you can now get all of the games not just the ones that the studios decide I want to see, and no tape delays!

Speaking of Pigeons — get a load of these Guinea Pigs
Ok, this rates as the dumb post of the week but it just cracked me up. It is just a series of six photos that show a set of guinea pigs competing in a number of Olympic events in London. So let the real games begin!

Record iPad sales not enough for Apple to meet expectations
Apple’s revenue for the past quarter and forecast for the current one did not meet with analysts’ expectations despite selling 17 million iPads during the quarter, up 84% compared to the same quarter a year ago and up 44% from the previous quarter. It sold 26 million iPhones, down 26% from the previous quarter.

The company did manage to have $35 billion in revenue for the quarter, up 22% from a year ago and had $8.8 billion in net profit, up 22% from the previous year. Apple plans to update its MacBook line this quarter, release a new Mac operating system and a new iOS later this fall.

Bucs bailing on iPads
The NFL seemed like the next conquest for Apple’s iPad but now a report from JoeBucsFan.com, as relayed by ProFootballTalk, makes it look like one team is backing away from the tablets. Tampa Bay is reportedly discontinuing the use of the tablets to its players according to the blog.

It seems that players were forgetting to charge them, did not update them automatically and the team could not be sure that players were using them. I wonder how they can be sure that the players are reading the 500+ page binders they issue each week?

Elemental streams Olympics
If you are watching the Summer Olympics in London on line, you can give thanks, at least in part, to Elemental Technologies. A product from the company, Elemental Alive, is the backbone to the live streams that will be seen worldwide.

While we have mentioned that NBC will be live streaming all of the events from the Olympics live in the US, it should be noted that the BBC will also be streaming the games to much of the rest of the world, and both rely on Element’s technology to send the video to computers, phones and tablets. That is quite an accomplishment for a company still in startup stage.

Apple, Motorola Mobility both appeal dismissal of patent infringement case
Well here is one thing that the two companies can agree on; both have appealed (separately) the decision from last month by a U.S. federal judge to dismiss their patent infringement case. The case was thrown out ‘with prejudice’ by Judge Richard Posner, who ruled that they could not resubmit the lawsuit.

The case has been ongoing for some time and had increasingly been drawing the ire of the judge, along with the overall US patent system. He has dismissed expert testimony and honed down the number of issues involved in previous ruling prior to his dismissal of the case.

Seattle pushing for new NBA team
After losing the Supersonics, its NBA team a few years ago, Seattle looks to be trying to be back in the mix for a team. The King County Council is about to vote on a proposal that is now in front of it regarding building a new arena, the lack of which was a core cause in losing its last team.

The proposal, from investor Chris Hansen would call for a $490 million new facility with private equity paying $290 million and the rest from bonds by the city and county that would be paid for by arena generated taxes and fees. The issue must also be passed by the Seattle City Council. No word on where the team is going to come from.

Kindle rumors galore
It seems with Google’s entrant into the 7-inch tablet space with its well received Nexus 7 and the possibility of an Apple product in the same space has cause a rise in the rumor mill about future Amazon Kindles to combat the new rivals.

Tom’s Hardware is reporting that the current Kindle’s may see a 15% drop in price, to around $150 as it prepares its new ones for market. The new ones may be here as soon as next week, according to SiliconAngle, which reports that a pair of tablets, a new 7-inch as well as its first 10-inch may be released as early as the 31st of July.

Friday Grab Bag: Dolphins with iPads, New NFL Game Times

The Miami Dolphins are the latest NFL team to jump on the iPad train as the team has adopted the tablets as an alternative to the huge binders that had been the traditional form of NFL playbooks. The team joins a growing number of NFL teams that have taken this approach including the Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Bucs and the Green Bay Packers.

However the Dolphins are also apparently taking a hard line on players’ usage of the tablets. While they can surf the Internet to some degree, they will be fined as much as $10,000 for access unauthorized sites such as YouTube and Twitter, according to ProFootballTalk.

Microsoft buys Yammer for $1.2 billion
Microsoft has added corporate social networking developer Yammer Inc. into its corporate embrace with its $1.2 billion purchase of the startup. The company said that it intends to incorporate the tools, which have a Facebook quality, into its Microsoft Office group.

Yammer has seen strong acceptance to its technology and has 200,000 companies using its tools including major players such as Ford Motor Co.

Mobile users increasingly access Internet

The Pew Internet & American Life project has published an interesting study on the use of mobile phone use for Internet browsing and purchases. It found that 17% of cell phone owners use the phone as their primary device for cruising the Internet, and often their only tool used for accessing it.

The study found that 88% of US adults have a cell phone and that of these 55% of them use the phone to go online, a notable increase from the 31% Pew found when it last did a similar study in 2009.

NFL moves late kickoffs back 10 minutes
The NFL has moved the opening kickoffs for the late afternoon games from 4:15 ET start to 4:25. The move will help eliminate the overlap that occasionally occurs when the early game runs long, something that often seems to happen if the second game is the one that you have been waiting all day to watch.

This should also help now that the new overtime rules are in effect that could also lead to more overtime games as it will now make more sense for a coach to go for a tie in the waning moments of the game knowing that he has a shot at getting the ball and scoring in OT.

RIM delays smartphone after bad quarter
Beleaguered smartphone developer Research in Motion has reported that it had a worse than expected quarter with revenue at $2.8 billion with a loss of $518 million, its shipment of its flagship BlackBerry phones was only 7.8 million, down 41% from the same period a year ago.

The company plans to slash 5,000 jobs but still expects to have another bad quarter, predicting a loss for the current one as well. It has delayed the delivery of its next generation phone, the BlackBerry 10, until the first quarter of next year.

Judge halts Samsung Galaxy Sales in US
Apple won its latest round against rival Samsung when US District Judge Lucy Koh reversed her previous position and granted Apple’s request to prohibit Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the United States.

She said in the ruling that Samsung does not have the right to flood the market with products that infringe (presumably on Apple patents). Apple needs to post a $2.6 million bond in case the injunction is later to be found to be incorrect and so pay for damages inflicted on Samsung.

Samsung has not taken the ruling lying down and has already appealed. It has asked that the US District Court of Northern California suspend the order pending an appeal.

iPhone hits 5th anniversary
In June 2007 Apple launched its iPhone and has not had a need to look back as it has helped propel Apple to the powerful position it holds today as a company. In the five years of its life the phone has generated an estimated $150 billion in revenue, just from hardware sales, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.

Then of course there is the sale of peripherals, apps, software and services. Strategy Analytics estimates that Apple has shipped 250 million iPhones globally in that time.

Tablets usage as second TV continues to grow
NPD DisplaySearch’s latest Global TV Replacement Study has found that the use of tablets as a platform for viewing television and video has doubled over the last year, in part the usage has been driven by the overall growth of tablet sales, according to the survey.

While tablet usage as a second screen has edged to over 10% of consumers using one for viewing, it still has a ways to go to reach the level of laptops or desktop computers, which over 40% of consumers say they use for viewing purposes.

The All-Star Selection show is this weekend
For baseball fans the results of their ballet box stuffing will be found this Sunday when TBS hosts the section show at 1 pm ET. Still the show will not have the final rosters as MLB will then have five players from each league that fans can vote for to put one last person on the each team. The winner of the Final Ballot will be announced on next Thursday, July 5.

NFL and NFLPA Headed to Court Again

The unhappy couple is once again heading to the legal system to settle their disagreements, and there is the chance that more legal issues will come to a head soon that might result in more court action in the near future.

It seems that the NFL’s uncapped season a year ago was actually capped, they just did not bother to tell the players. However the issue came to light with the Commissioner fining the Redskins and Cowboys a total of $42 million in cap space for having the audacity of treating an uncapped year as an uncapped year.

The big issue now is that the NFL Players Association is charging that the NFL owners engaged in collusion, however there seems to be an article in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement that gives the NFLPA’s approval of the move and so prohibits a lawsuit of this type.

So far the NFLPA disagrees and said that it has cost the players $1 billion and that it will see treble damages. (Can you say $1 billion without doing it in Dr Evil’s voice?) For a much more complete coverage of the issue I would recommend heading over to ProFootballTalk at NBC Sports, the site has been covering the issue vigorously from the start.

However there are other issues bubbling to the top as well between the two. The NFL has installed a new pads rule and will start requiring thigh and knee pads as mandatory equipment for all players starting with the 2013 season. The league has determined that since this is a playing rule it does not need to get the NFL’s Players Association’s permission.

The NFLPA has an entirely different take on the issue and believes that this is a change in work conditions and that is something that needs to be negotiated. Thigh and knee pads are already required in high school and college.

Then there is the bounty case, and all the fallout associated with it. ESPN has reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said that the NFL will make the evidence of the case public, but not until after all of the players’ appeals have been heard. The commissioner also mentioned that while he understood that current Cleveland Brown’s linebacker Scott Fujita, suspended for three games for his participation, was in a tough position but that suing the commissioner for defamation was the wrong way to go about it. But the courts seem like the place where much of the NFL’s hard hitting will take place, at least this summer.