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.

Mobile Sports Report Friday Grab Bag: 3D at MLB Playoffs — New Galaxy Note Coming

Is Google adding ads to Maps?
WebProNews is reporting that Google appears to be preparing to monetize its Maps app. The company has applied for a patent for Online Map Advertising. It looks as if this will allow the company to insert ads directly into the maps that you are viewing.

However on the plus side it looks like it might just be targeted at third party sites that use the maps as part of an effort to show people where their place of business is and they might include an ad in the space.

Also Google has said that contrary to rumors it has not submitted a new maps app to Apple for approval in its App Store. However the company is not ruling out doing so in the future.

Did the Lingerie Football League help settle NFL Ref strike?
Seattle fans are pointing to the team’s last second, replacement referee assisted, win over Green Bay as the straw that broke the camel’s back and forced the NFL to settle with the regular referees, who will be manning the field this weekend.

However a funny piece in Deadspin about the officials from the Lingerie Football League notes that it has a tougher standard for its referees that the NFL did for its replacements. The logic behind this was that apparently the LFL fired some refs for incompetence and they ended up doing NFL games as replacements. True or not it is pretty funny.

Are HTC and Nokia the next patent litigants’?
DigiTimes is reporting that Nokia and HTC may be about to meet each other in a court over potential patent issues. The problem appears to be that the Windows Phone 8 that each company has released bears a great deal of similarity to the one its rival introduced.

The article states that Nokia has already lodged a complaint with HTC over the belief that HTC has copied the design of Nokia’s Lumina 820 for HTC’s Windows Phone 8x offering.

Toys “R” Us sued over tablet

The battle for tablet supremacy has apparently spilled over into the toy aisle as Fuhu is suing Toys “R” Us for coping Fuhu’s Nabi tablet and using the technology in the recently released Tabeo. The suit claims that the two companies also had a deal signed in October 2011 under which Toys “R” Us had agreed to distribute the Nabi and to promote the product.

Fuhu is claiming that the product was not adequately advertised or promoted and that Toys “R” Us deliberately tanked the product in favor of its own Mateo that was then under development.

MySpace trying for resurgence
An interesting piece in Gizmag reports that MySpace, once the power in social media but a backwater since the emergence of Facebook a few years back, is currently undergoing a major redesign and I seeking to reestablish itself.

The site will have a much more visual look from the previews shown and it will have a new interface, in part influenced by the emergence of tablets. One interesting feature will be your ability to import all of your Facebook contacts.

Samsung’s next generation Galaxy Note out next month?
There is going to be a major Samsung event in New York on Oct. 24th, according to a press release that Samsung Mobile has sent out to the press. While the company has been mum on what it will be unveiling at the event, the rumor mill seems to think that it knows.

The answer is the next generation Samsung Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note 2. The hybrid smartphone tablet has already been unveiled in South Korea and has been expected to be released in the States soon.

TBS to add 3D imagery to baseball playoffs
TBS has said that it will be adding “3D hologram imagery’ to its playoff broadcasts this fall. It will use the technology to illustrate different pitch grips and to show how the pitch will work. It will also be used to show pressure points, release points and ball rotation.

I guess using real live pitchers to show the same thing would be too complicated. While I think that this could be interesting I also am afraid that it will cause the station to miss a number of live pitches. The channel will also be tripling the number of super slo motion cameras that it uses compared to a regular season game.

The NFL Metes out Punishment to Saints Players — This could be a Long Battle

After a week delay NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has come down on the New Orleans Saints players that were most active in the notorious bounty program installed by defensive coach Gregg Williams by suspending four players for various lengths of time.

Suspended without pay are Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012 season, Anthony Hargrove (now a Green Bay Packer) was given an eight game suspension, Will Smith was suspended for four games and Scott Fujita, now with the Cleveland Browns, was given three games. Vilma’s was the most sever because he supposedly put his own cash up for anyone that would injure Brett Favre in the 2010 NFC Championship game.

The four players are not taking this sitting down and have already pledged to fight the issue in the courts as well as appealing the ruling. I did a quick look and cannot find anybody that has won an appeal from Goodell, I guess that might be because he has to decide if his original ruling was correct and he goes with his first impression.

The court battle could be a protracted affair and I wonder of a judge will order the league to let the players participate n games while the matter is being disputed? I wonder how Goodell will react to being over ruled by a judge, if that happens?

On top of the lawsuit and the appeal, the NFL Players Association has issued a short release that simply said that the NFL has still not provided it with details or specific evidence of these players involvement in the pay-to-injure program.

There is one other interesting aspect to this mess, and that is the numerous lawsuits against the NFL regarding concussions will take a good look at this program At least one of the has already cited the bounty program, that only leaves about 50 lawsuits and 1,200 plaintiffs to go!

NFL Draft 2012: Where to Watch and Where to go Online for Information

The phenomenon that is the NFL Draft starts this Thursday, a prime time extravaganza that makes experts out of casual fans and stars or bums out of the legions of ‘experts’ that not only predict teams picks but also how well that player will fit in and perform for his new employer.

Who will be this year’s great picks, the Peyton Manning and Wes Welker of the draft and who will be this year’s Ryan Leaf and Charles Rogers? Hard to say but just about everybody with a keyboard and an Internet connection seems to have an opinion.

It is probably impossible to list all of the options available to fans to gather information prior to the draft and then assess it after, but we here at Mobile Sports Report thought we would put out a list of some of the more popular and/or interesting places to go for your viewing and information pleasure. We will try and only mention each site or app once, since most cover the gamut of activities that will be occurring this week.

The Usual Suspects
Of course first and foremost is the NFL Network– which since the NFL owns it, will have a solid show on the draft and has been talking about the event for some time. The web site for the network features a counter until the draft starts, a Mock Draft page, Mike Mayock’s predictions, a draft tracker and a contest to predict the picks with the possibility of going to the Super Bowl, and that is just naming some of the information available.

Of course rivaling the NFL Network is ESPN, which is almost All-NFL all the time these days. Aside from broadcasting the draft as well a wide assortment of pages dedicated to the draft on its web site including Mel Kiper’s latest, Todd McShay’s latest and a number of other tidbits. It should be noted that a number of ESPN’s offerings are for subscribers to its Insider service only.

Fox, one of the NFL’s broadcasting partners does not have a national show for the draft, at least one I could find, and its web page is significantly more subdued in its coverage of the draft, although it does provide a good deal of information, just not to the level of ESPN or NFL Network.

The Focused Few
As most any but the most casual fan knows, there is an increasingly large body of sites that follow the NFL full time. The fall everywhere from sites run by major organizations such as Yahoo! to very well done amateur sites. We will cover a few in both areas.

Might as well start with Yahoo! Sports, one of the most popular sports sites on the Internet, if not the most popular. In all areas it has been poaching top talent, but has always had a solid football footing. It allows customization by users so that you can follow your team and has a section on the draft, as well as recent transactions so you can see who is retiring or traded.

Another up and comer is USA Today Sports Media Group, an amalgamation of a number of properties. The USA Today site of course has long been one of the best day after game sections for important stats, both print and online. One of its properties, The Big Lead is worthwhile both for Jason Lisk’s football coverage and analysis but also for the very spirited, and usually informed, conversations that accompany its articles.

The National Football Post strength in my opinion has been its columns, but it has strong NFL connections and follows the sport quite well. To fill out the rest of the top online players there is NBC Sports and as part of it the popular Pro Football Talk site. Other good sites include CBS Sports and SB Nation.

Alternative sources
One area that it makes sense to remember is sites that specialize in Fantasy Football. They need to know how valuable the players available for the draft are expected to be, so that they can (hopefully) make informed recommendations to users of their sites. Head over to someplace such as The Huddle where they have already broken down the draft by position

Over at Fantasy Knuckleheads the site has full mock drafts teams as well as projected round drafts. An interesting feature was a piece on breaking down ESPN’s Mel Kiper’s mock draft. I think that I may revisit it after the draft and so see how both Kiper and the author did in the draft.

How can you not want to look at a site called NFL Draft Geek? Breakdowns on the top skill positions are already up and more are slated to be posted prior to the draft. They obviously have strong opinions on issues and have Baylor’s Robert Griffin III as the #4 best player in the draft, for instance.

I enjoy a good retrospective piece on past season’s drafts. The trouble is often that they often just focus on the past year and it often takes several before you can really get a feel for how a draft works out. Over at Football Outsiders they look back six years, and as always from this site the piece are fact driven.

As a bonus you can see its breakdown on a variety of last year’s statistics and so get a solid feel for what teams need, or what appeared to be weaknesses last year. Another of the more cerebral sites is SmartFootball, and while its impact in following the draft is minimal in some senses, its focus on trends in the NFL helps put drafted players into a larger perspective.

If you end the draft just wondering what ever happened to some player that you liked in school but lost track of in the pros, head over to Pre-Football Reference site to look them up. Among its features are areas that cover teams, years and individual starts.

Friday Grab Bag: Intel Launches Major Ultrabook Campaign

Intel is launching its biggest marketing campaign in over a decade with what it calls a multi-faceted global push for the “New Era of Computing”. The company will be on the television, in the print media and using a variety of social media driven efforts to get and hopefully hold consumer and corporate attention to these ultra-slim notebooks.

This is not surprising first after CEO Paul Otellini’s keynote at CES earlier this year had so much emphasis on the notebooks. Second, and this is something that seems to have to some degree gotten by (at least me) under the radar. There are already 26 models available for purchase worldwide including offerings from Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba and Dell with additional 10 models from Acer, Fujitsu, Gigabyte and Lenovo having been announced.

Next week is the start of corporate earning reports and I will be very interested to hear what Intel executives say about the sales of notebook computers as well as how its effort to establish itself in the tablet space are going.

Recently Apple talked about the death of the PC but really what are you going to use to write the apps for the iPhones and iPads? I kid, I think that the desktop PC may become a dinosaur but notebooks will have a strong demand from a large segment of the corporate and consumer market.

Is Tiger Woods the true #1?

Or at least so says Rory McIlroy, currently the #2 ranked golfer in the rankings. He said that if Woods is on his game he is the best golfer in the world, adding that you cannot judge a player on how they have performed in the last few weeks. If we go by that it really does not look too good for Tiger, but then this is a nice change from the usual trash talk that happens in sports. This weekend could also change his opinion.

iPhone to reach regional carriers later this month?

Apple Insider is reporting that five regional U.S. carriers are going to announce that they will begin selling Apple’s popular iPhone on April 20. The carriers are Alaskan Communications, Appalachian Wireless, GCI, Cellcom and nTelos.

The report also states that the carriers will for $50 less than the so-far subsidized price at other carriers, with phones starting at $150 for the 16GB model, $250 for 32GB, and $350 for 64GB. The older iPhone 4 will be available in an 8GB version for $50.

Samsung and Apple hurting HTC sales?
Smartphone developer HTC has reported a 70% drop in profits while revenue dropped 35% from the same quarter in the previous year. The company has recently expanded its offerings with four additional smartphones, all running the Android operating system.

At the same time Samsung has reported record quarterly profits of $5.15 billion, with very strong results pulled in by both its smartphone business and its Galaxy Note hybrid tablet/smartphone products.

Is Google really losing billions on Android?
A piece at argues that the company is and that it is because of a number of reasons, however I found it rather unconvincing. With 300 million Android phones out on the market and 15 million tablets the company has a huge installed base and seems poised for huge additional growth.

NBA to sell ads on jerseys?
Over at HoopsHype the bet is that the NBA will very soon have ads on players game jerseys. It makes a persuasive argument about how, among otrher things. MLB is a business and it just does not make sense to leave money on the table.

Baseball has twice, to my knowledge, played a series with ads on its uniforms. Both were in Japan and so not seen by most American fans. It seems inevitable that ads do come to that space and as the article points out, the Dallas Mavericks came out with ads on their uniforms in 2009.

I think it will be interesting to see what types of rules the league, and others when they follow, will set for who is acceptable and who is not. Can Hooters advertise? Alcohol? I am pretty sure tobacco companies need not apply.

Joe Posnanski departs SI
While a bit late on this but for fans of Joe Posnanski, his work at this weekend’s Masters Tournament will be his last for Sports Illustrated as he is leaving to join the growing USA Today/MLB Advanced Media joint venture.

If you are not familiar with him, you should give him a try. I feel that he is one of the best sports writers around, offering solid information backed by facts, all with a good dash of humor. He was at SI for roughly three years and he will be hard to replace.

It’s Madness Time: Join the MSR Bracket, Follow the NIT @ ESPN

Is anyone getting any work done today, or is everyone filling out brackets? If you are looking for a place to show the world your NCAA hoops savvy look no farther than the inaugural MSR Bracket Challenge. Hosted over at ESPN, of course, the group is public so come one come all. If you are searching for the group its title is the “MSR Bracket Challenge.” We’ll think of some cool prize for winning; if any sponsors want to step up with some schwag hit me with an email to kaps at

Also: If your team didn’t make the dance (Sorry Washington fans!) you will probably be headed over to ESPN since the WWL has the rights to the National Invitation Tournament, including some games shown only online at ESPN3. Here’s the full NIT broadcast schedule.

And here’s a great post from The Big Lead showing NCAA broadcast times and (most importantly) which announcing crews will be on hand.

UPDATE: How cool is this? A CBS Sports interactive map of the tournament field.