Friday Grab Bag: Everest site of new wing suit record attempt

If imitation is the highest form of flattery then Felix Baumgartner, the man who jumped from space, must be very flattered that his action is being imitated by climber Joby Ogwyn who will do a similar stunt, this time from the top of the world’s highest peak.

If all goes as planned the Discovery Channel will be broadcasting the feat on live TV this May as it covers the last stage of Ogwyn’s climb and subsequent jump. It is expected to cover five miles and feature three stages. It will be covered by 15 cameras including some that are mounted in the wing suit.

Tim Tebow to be face of A-11 League?
There is a new spring pro football league forming called the A-11 FL that is planning on starting to play this year with first games slated for May. Initially the league will have eight teams at its formation that will span cities across the United

Now there are reports that one of the teams, not surprisingly based in Tampa, is looking to give Tim Tebow a shot at redemption by selecting him as its quarterback. A league official said that Tebow would become the face of the league.

New Thursday & Saturday NFL games this year
If you had CBS as the station that would win the bidding war for new Thursday Night Football games step up and accept your prize! The channel will be airing eight games this upcoming season, which will be simulcast with the NFL Network broadcast. The NFL Network will also exclusively show eight late season games.

Then there is the expansion to Saturday, where the league will show two games on Dec. 20, Week 16 of the season and after all of the bye weeks have passed for the teams. The kickoff times and teams are still being determined.

1904 Olympics must have been something
While the current Olympics in Sochi are getting a good deal of grief prior to the opening ceremony you have to wonder what people would be saying if the games imitated on that took place over 100 years ago?

The Smithsonian has an interesting piece on the games that took place in 1904 in St Louis, Mo. and specifically on the top event, the Marathon. One feature was that they intentionally allowed the athletes to become dehydrated during the run to see what effect that would have.

Baseball Corporate Sponsors: A History
It appears that all but eight stadiums in MLB have a corporate sponsor, and with the Texas Rangers selling the naming rights to Globe Life and Accident Insurance Co. there are now only nine without an extended title that just rolls off of your tongue.

Yet just 20 years ago, according to the Consumerist, there was only one that had a sponsor name while most were simply named for their location and one, San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium, was even named after a sports writer of all things. Take a look at how some of the names have undergone change in the last two decades.

ESPN’s NFL32 Turns to Social Media for Topics With ‘Facebook Faceoff’

ESPN will enable Fans to determine some discussion topics

ESPN, Looking to increase the level of interactivity with its and the NFL’s fans, has developed a segment in one of its new NFL programs, NFL32, that will allow fans to submit questions via Facebook — questions that will hopefully help the ESPN show create feisty debate in a segment called Facebook Faceoff.

NFL32 is designed to be a yearlong one-hour show that features ESPN’s Suzy Kolber and Chris Mortenson as hosts and includes a variety of the network’s other NFL analysts. It uses a free-flowing format that the company touts as being highly interactive.

Now the show is taking interactivity to a new level by soliciting input from members of its Facebook friends. On its Facebook page NFL32 has posted the following:

Want to help stir things up on our NFL32 panel? Thursday we debut a new segment called “Facebook Faceoff”. Submit topics you want to see us debate on TV, and we’ll see which ones cause the biggest differences of opinion.

I have to say I like this plan on many levels. It helps bring broadcasting out of its shell and enable it to more directly interact with fans. I often turn on a sports program and find that it just seems to be a regurgitation of what I have heard on every other sports program. While there is always the danger that ESPN will select issues that cater to this mindset, at least there is a chance that it will open new avenues of conversation.

Broadcast sports programming often seems to talk down to sports fans. On the other hand I find on a variety of sites around the Internet where fans who can intelligently talk about issues that go much deeper than Brady vs. Tebow but about the impact of losing an offensive line coach or the lack of blocking issues from a tight end.

I doubt that the new show will dig down to this level of detail since those topics are not controversial, but it does open the door to more fan interactivity on sports shows. In the past it seemed that the only interaction that ESPN and others had was the annoying Twitter feed at the bottom of the page. If I want to read a Twitter feed my TV is not the place I want to do so.

A quick look at some of the first topics offered for “Facebook Faceoff” include Tebow, Raiders and Tebow, coaching changes in Chicago (Paul did you submit that?) and should the Lions draft another cornerback or a left tackle. Not earth shattering but it is a start.

Just the start for social media
It seems that networks and even news sites are starting to embrace social media and the ability to interact instantaneously with fans. The growth and popularity of Twitter, especially among athletes is just one example.

ESPN struck Twitter gold earlier this week with its hour mostly devoted to Tim Tebow. The show was the most popular on Twitter during its broadcast and was picked up and rerun on several sites. We expect that ESPN will use that program as a template in the future to boost ratings during off-peak viewing times.

Another use of social; media is CBS Sports live “5th Quarter with Gary Danielson” chat which has been running after SEC football games. You do hear regional baseball broadcasts that also will answer select Twitter questions but it always seems canned. Maybe we will start seeing a segment in pregame and postgame shows that enables fans to directly interact with either athletes or the broadcasters as they talk with the athletes.

Friday Grab Bag: Who Could Hate ESPN?

SEC Championship to be streamed live at CBS Sports
Once again the SEC has two of the top teams in the country locked in a battle, this time with #1 LSU vs #14 Georgia in the fight for the SEC title. The game will once again also be a top on-line offering from CBSSports.Com as it continues to raise its streaming sports profile.

Take your pick?

The game will be broadcast on Saturday at 4 pm ET and pits the Eastern Division Champions Georgia against the Western Division winner LSU at the Georgia Dome. It will be streamed live over and CBS Sports Mobile.

CBS plans to start its game coverage an hour earlier and there will be a special tailgate program starting at 1 pm ET. There will also be the usual” 5th Quarter with Gary Danielson” after the game for an interactive post game program.

However interest in the game may not be what past championships have garnered. The Big Lead points out that with LSU a lock for the BCS title game win or lose sales for tickets has been less than stellar and that prices are dropping as fast as the point spread is increasing. I guess fans want to save their money for the expected trip to a bowl game.

Is your smartphone following your every move?
With the revelation that 140 million smartphones have a software component installed that records every keystroke that you make. The program, called Carrier IQ records and sends each keystroke as it is made and sends the information to the company.

Carrier IQ said that it is using the information as a diagnostic tool that will help it gain insight into issues such as why certain calls are dropped. Researcher Trevor Eckhart, who unveiled the issue, shows that it records browsing history, SMS logs and location data as well as keystrokes.

There are some claims that the technology violates Federal wiretapping laws. Well the good news is that congress is getting involved and I am sure that they will have the users’ best interest in mind when they inquire into this issue.

Is Craig James the most hated man at ESPN?
This seems to be the point of a recent Bleacher Report piece that states that he is strongly despised by a significant portion of the sports world. I must have missed this hatred, although I have to say I am not a fan, no one has ever come up to me and said they despise him like they do for say Joe Buck (I know he does not work for ESPN).

Anyway the article goes on to say America wants him fired and that “A vocal population of college football concludes James is a self-aggrandizing liar of the worst kind, who uses sophistry to get what he wants like we use paper towels to dry our hands.” Wow!

The bulk of the trouble seems to have arisen from his role in the Mike Leach ouster at Texas Tech and his inane votes in the BCS poll that alters the standings for both good and bad teams.

There appear to be several different pushes to get him fired and now at least some are trying to target advertisers to force ESPN’s hand. I think that if the revelations in Bruce Feldman’s book did not harm him at the WWL, and in fact drove out possible its best college football writer then nothing will.

New startup fund-Bye Bye Silicon Valley!
A new startup fund called the Revolution Growth Fund has been established by industry veterans Steve Case, Ted Leonsis and Donn Davis has been formed with a $450 million in initial funds. It is taking a different slant than many funds which mine Silicon Valley for potential startups.

Instead it will seek to find investment candidates on the East Coast. “We will generally focus on investments in the Eastern United States. We believe there are great entrepreneurs building great companies all over the country, so we will focus our attention outside of Silicon Valley,” according to a note posted on the Revolution Growth web page. The three founders are the three largest investors and there are an additional 24 limited partners.

The ideal company will be one that are consumer focused and are looking to disrupt large industries. The fund expects to be an investor in companies that have already had some venture funding and are now looking to take the proverbial hockey stick upturn. Initial investments are expected in the $20-$25 million range.

Tide turning for Samsung in patent wars?
Samsung won a patent victory of sorts in Australia where the Federal Court overturned a lower court ruling that said Samsung had copied Apple’s iPad and iPhone. This moves the company closer to selling its Galaxy tablets in that country.
However it is not entirely a get out of jail free card as it has been reported that Apple will in its turn appeal, this time to the High Court in an effort to get the overturning overturned. So at least in the near term the injunction against selling the products remains in force.

Make you (NFL Pro Bowl) Vote Count!
The voting closes following the December 19th following the Monday Night Football game between the Pittsburg Steelers and the San Francisco 49ers. You can go here to vote and also try and get tickets to the game, which would make a nice break in a Hawaiian vacation.

Currently Aaron Rodgers if the top vote getter and I saw somewhere that Tim Tebow was 4th among AFC starting quarterbacks. I hope he gets voted in just for all of the gnashing of teeth from sportswriters across the nation!

NFL Scores 500,000 Online Viewers for Thursday Night Highlights

We didn’t have a chance to check it out, but according to the NFL a half-million folks logged on to last night to check out a varied package of “in-game” highlights and analysis from the Thursday night tilt between the New York Rexes and the Denver Tebows.

According to the press release about the game viewership, the online portion was not a full streaming presentation but instead a mix of “live look-ins” and analysis from the NFL Network’s various talking heads. From the release:

Nearly 500,000 fans logged on to the complementary online coverage of Jets-Broncos via Thursday Night Football presented by GMC, which features “live look-ins,” highlights, statistics and instant analysis from a team of experts on-site and in NFL Network’s Los Angeles studios.

And once again, having an online component did nothing to detract from regular over the air or cable viewers — so please, more online coverage! Again, from the release, the stuff you already know — that everyone likes football, especially on Thursday when there’s no NBA.

Last night’s New York Jets-Denver Broncos game on NFL Network was watched by an average of 7.1 million viewers (not including over-the-air stations in New York and Denver) – topping last year’s Week 11 game by 31 percent (Bears-Dolphins, 5.4 million). After two games, Thursday Night Football is averaging 6.1 million viewers, up 17 percent over 2010.

Jets-Broncos is the fifth most-watched game in the six years of Thursday Night Football on NFL Network and ranked as the night’s No. 1 show among all programs on cable. Other sports competition included North Carolina-Virginia Tech college football on ESPN, which drew 1.8 million viewers.

Greater than Tebow Commentary Emerges as Sports Social Media Phenomenon, Rocks ESPN Website

Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow, sparks sports social media "Greater than Tebow" firestorm











Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow is the subject of a massive ESPN social media onslaught, as fans pound the comment string of an obscure blog post with “greater than Tebow” commentary about the quarterback.

Also known as  > Tebow, here is exactly what is going on:

Lefthanded, slow in his release, terrible in his footwork and sporting a 46.1 completion percentage as a starter, Tebow is also a devout man of God who says and does all the right things in the locker room and the community. Based on the ESPN blog post, he also polarizes sports fans like no one else. On October 31, ESPN member QuanB8 posted a greater than sign comment on an ESPN blog post by Bill Williamson titled “Time for Elway to think post-Tebow.”

QuanB8’s comment said:

My dead grandmothers > Tebow

Quan8’s comment ignited> Tebow with sports fans commenting at a rate of at least five per minute at 9 am EST on Nov. 4. ESPN stopped counting at 5000.

Recent Greater than Tebow comments on ESPN

Here are eight > Tebow that appeared within a two-minute time span on ESPN:

  1. Bruce Jenner’s masculinity > Tebow
  2. drug abuse > Tebow
  3. Having bieber fever > Tebow
  4. webinars > Tebow
  5. Godfather 3 > Tebow
  6. Chaz Bono’s beard > Tebow
  7. Reenacting “Weekend at Bernie’s” with Al Davis > Tebow
  8. Realizing I am not going to get any work done because of > Tebow > Tebow

Five Most Popular Greater than Tebow comments on ESPN

As of Nov.  4, here are the five most popular greater than Tebow comments:

  1. Knock knock?…. Who’s there?…… Doesn’t matter, it’s > Tebow (86 likes)
  2. making eye contact with a 40 year old man while he’s eating a banana > tebow (50 likes)
  3. Deadspin linking here > Tebow (43 likes)
  4. Getting Scurvy on Oregon trail > Tebow (41 likes)
  5. filming notre dame football practice from a hydraulic scissor lift > tebow (40 likes)

Sports Grid breaks news

On SportsGrid, sportswriter Dan Fogarty was one of the first sportswriters to identify the Greater than Tebow phenomenon.

Here are six of Fogarty’s favorite Greater than Tebow comments:

  1. Eating your kids > Tebow
  2. “Murder she wrote” > Tebow
  3. Legally marrying a McRib sandwich > Tebow
  4. what what in the butt > tebow
  5. Leonard Nimoy’s scrotum > Tebow
  6. Aging as quickly as Greg Oden > Tebow

The ESPN Tebow comment string underscores that sports fans are rabid about the controversial issues of sport, and when you strike a chord, they show up with a passion unrivaled in most other vertical markets. “Greater than Tebow” also illustrates that sports fans will stay captured within the domain of a website that generates the “triggering” sports content. After all, in its first four days, sports fans did not migrate to Twitter with their disparaging “greater than Tebow” comments about the QB. “Time for Elway to think post-Tebow.” takes you to the article and the most-up-to-date comments.

The commentary about the quarterback is expected to continue through the weekend, when the Broncos face their Oakland Raiders division rivals at Oakland on Nov. 6. Based in the Bay Area, blue-collar Raiders fans are as wired as any and caustic. Whether CBS Sports‘ Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, who will be covering the game, choose to bring up the  > Tebow phenomenon or bowdlerize it from broadcast remains to be seen.


The Greater than Tebow phenomenon on ESPN is the second major sports social media groundswell to occur around the controversial Broncos QB. There’s also a practice called “Tebowing,” where fans strike a famous pose of the quarterback in various locations. According to AMOG, a website designed by Denver native Jared Kleinstein that allows people to upload their “Tebowing” pictures gets about 400,000 hits daily. Kleinstein is monetizing the website by selling T-shirts. Courtesy of Jared Kleinstein’s website, here are examples of Tebowing:

The Tebowing Master Shot
















Tebowing at a wedding










Dog Tebowing: No. 1 Tebowing shot on