Friday Grab Bag: Where is the MLS TV deal?

For those of you who managed to miss it the Major League Soccer season started recently and its broadcast contract, which many had expected to be finalized sometime last winter, is still unfinished business.

Awful Announcing does a good job pointing out the issues, which have to do with how each side perceives itself. An interesting note showing the increasing popularity of the sport is that the average MLS attendance is greater than the NBA or NHL’s.

Android flaws could make upgrades a danger
System updates are a fact of life for most mobile phone users and a recent report from researchers at the System Security Lab at Indiana University and Microsoft have found a vulnerability that could enable hackers to take over Android systems.

It is not a real threat as they did a proof of concept test only but the threat would be in the form of an app that waits for a system update and then takes gains access for privileges that it had not had previously. Interestingly it only works if you have a fairly old version of Android running.

FIFA Exec paid millions for votes
If you ever wondered how sun-baked Qatar managed to win approval to host the World Cup during its summer this story might help explain it: FIFA executive Jack Warner appears to have made millions off of the deal.

According to a piece in the Telegraph a Quatari company paid Warner millions after the country won the vote. The Big Lead has a list of his apparent transgressions over the past few years that shows a long history of shady dealings.

NBA pondering new TV deal
MLS is not the only sport that is taking its time in finalizing its next broadcast deal as the NBA is also taking a leisurely approach on its current round of negotiations. However the NBA is in a much stronger position.

According to the Sports Business Daily there are a number of interesting options being considered at this time including adding an additional broadcasting partner, bringing its digital rights in-house and moving NBA on TNT off of Thursday night. It looks like big changes are in the works.

Drones can read Wi-Fi messages?

A report in the International Business Times is saying that you should turn off your smartphone’s Wi-Fi because drones that are flying overhead can monitor the conversation, using a pretty simple trick that I think many of us would fall for.

A drone overhead could present itself as a free Wi-Fi network, something that phones are constantly looking for. Then if a user connects it can intercept traffic. Boy would they be bored with reading my stuff.

Love baseball and need a date? MLB has you covered!
Major League Baseball has joined forces with online dating site to create club-focused singles pages, because apparently there was a need for this. I am not kidding it seems that some rabid fans, say Yankee fans, whose first question is to ask “Who hates the Red Sox?” [editor’s note: insert joke for “getting to first base” here.]

It will be interesting to see how this works; maybe MLB could do the same for the Dungeons and Dragons crowd, or even a dating site set up for stats nerds, which is almost the same as the D&D group.

A Fluffy Friday Roundup

Big Changes at Apple with Jobs out

As by now every geek in the Western world knows, Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder, chairman and CEO has stepped down as CEO due to health reasons. Many are praising him as possibly one of the greatest CEOs of modern times and say that he has performed the greatest corporate turnaround in history. Hard to argue with this and in any case I am not well enough informed on overall corporate history in America to dispute or support the claim. But to play a game of what if- what if John Sculley had not relieved Jobs of his position as head of the Macintosh division in 1985? I believe that Jobs learned a great deal about focus and proper product development in his years at NeXT Computer and Pixar.
Jobs returned to Apple when it purchased NeXT and he began running the company after the ouster of then-CEO Gil Amelio in 1996. At the time Apple’s stock was stuck trading below $10. He quickly killed a number of products and honed the company’s focus. One of the complaints about Jobs prior to his ousting at Apple had been that he was unpredictable and chaotic managing the Macintosh division. Those traits were now gone. Now it remains to be seen if Tim Cook, his hand picked successor, can successfully follow in his footsteps.

An athlete who does not go to the highest bidder?

I think that Jered Weaver is my new favorite baseball player. No I have not started rooting for American league teams but his reasoning for signing his latest contract really struck a chord with me. Rather than wait until next season ended and let his agent, Scott Boras get the Yankees and Red Sox engage in a bidding war for his services, he instead signed an $85 million extension with the Angels. Now of course $85 million is a lot of money, but how many of us would leave additional millions on the table when it could be ours for the taking? He said “If 85’s not enough to take care of my family and generations to come then I’m pretty stupid.” A refreshingly honest comment IMHO.

Do you really need an HP Touchpad, even at $100?

The Samsung Galaxy

A funny thing happened on the way to leaving consumer electronics for Hewlett-Packard, its Touchpad became an overnight sensation. Stores are posting signs proclaiming they have no more, people are following HP execs on Twitter to find out when and if more will be available. There are lines at some stores and people are purchasing extras in the hopes of reselling them for expected profits. Still why buy a poorly reviewed product with a now obsolete OS, even if it is at the sale price of $99? A friend of mine who is self employed admitted to me that if he had spent the time working and gaining billable hours rather than fruitlessly waiting in line, he could have purchased a Samsung Galaxy or Apple iPad rather than a tablet that he had not even considered purchasing a week ago.

Can NBC Sports Challenge ESPN? NBC has Sports?

Is NBC Sports trying to go head to head with ESPN? That is the topic of an interesting piece at Sports Business Daily. The idea seems to be establishing a honed, professional approach to the sports it has, Major League Soccer and the NHL. I had not realized that the Versus channel was part of the NBC sports empire. The network has worked hard in the last few months to rid itself of the junk sports programming it had and has lured, if that is the word, MLS from Fox. Still it has quite an uphill battle and I wish it the best. I think that ESPN would really benefit from some stiff competition in sports broadcasting, and maybe force it to deliver a more focused, professional product rather than simply running its talking heads by us at every conceivable moment. I believe that the MLB and NFL networks are also putting pressure on the World Wide Leader.