Gains Funding: Rolls Out New Team-Focused App


Sports news aggregator startup Sportsmanias has raised $1 million in venture funding as it seeks to expand its reach by providing a new team-focused sports app that will enable users to track hard news about their favorite teams by focusing on news and reports from team beat writers.

The recent $1 million investment has come from Mas Equity Partners, which is led by founder Jorge Mas, who also serves as Chairman of the Board of MasTec, a $4 billion infrastructure engineering and construction company based in Coral Gables, Fla., founded just last fall, has an existing web site and app that serves as a news aggregator for all major US sports including NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and the NCAA. In addition it covers a wide variety of domestic and international soccer news, teams and leagues. The news feed that a user gets can be customized to meet their sporting preferences. The company was founded by the mother/son team of Aymara Del Aguila, an advertising executive and son Vicente J. Fernandez, a student-athlete and sports writer at the University of Chicago.

Now the company has enhanced its presence in the mobile digital world with an updated free app for both iOS and Android powered devices. The Team News app will focus on providing news that has been originated by beat writers that regularly cover the team, rather than just culling all news stories that are generated about a team across the nation, often from sources that do not have direct contact and coverage of the team.

The app does not just exclusively provide beat reporter news on a specific team. It also provides team and player tweets. Two interesting features are the Rumor Filter, which collects league and team-specific rumors from top rumor sites, and a Video Filter, which aggregates footage from YouTube and Twitter.

These features have the ability to data mine rumors and videos in real time so that a fan can be up-to-date on what is going on as well as what is suspected to be about to happen. Other new features for the app include a scoreboard to follow ongoing games, and keyword search capabilities.

The company said that it currently is getting 500,000 unique visitors to its web site monthly and that with the new features and capabilities of its app it expects that it will see a strong jump to 1.5 million monthly visitors by year end.

The upgrades look to be a very good move by the company because increasingly flexibility and customization are now becoming standard in sports apps. The rumor and video filters are solid features that will help them create separation from many of the current apps that are now available, as many as just text based, and any rumors tend to be generated in house. However the need for these features, particularly video is obvious and others are headed in this direction.

MLBAM Teams with NDN to Deliver MLB Video to News Web Sites


A trip to your favorite baseball news site may soon be enlivened by video that matches up with the stories due to a new deal that has been struck between Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media (MLBAM) arm and Internet video provider NDN.

While it may seem odd that MLB needs a partner on video, it has been producing highlights and videos that are available on the Internet for over a decade, the deal will enable the sports league to hook up with a huge number of online news services.

NDN will enhance MLB’s existing video business by passing it along to its syndicated news partners, with approximately 4,500 online news publishers that have relationships with the company. In addition it often works with its partners to embed content in its partners stories.

The net result will be a boon for baseball fans who now can read a local story about their favorite team and then watch the clinching strike out or the walk off home run rather than forcing them to eave that site to go to MLB’s site to view the action.

This policy shines very nicely when compared to the very restrictive rules of the NFL, which has very strong restrictions of what can be shown, and for how long. It even demanded that top reporters shut down their twitter accounts during the NFL draft.

It seems to us that sports networks need to understand that increasingly fans are looking for information, and videos, on their teams from a growing diversity of media including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Internet news sites and rather than fight them they are better off joining with them to make the experience better for the fans.

MLBAM Expands Relationship with YouTube for more Broadcast Video Options


Major League Baseball via its Advanced Media (MLBAM) arm has joined with YouTube to provide an array of viewing options to fans that will be shown on the official MLB YouTube channel as they expand the 8 year old partnership.

For the most part the deal is simply an expansion of their current relationship but for baseball fans there are some additional perks for using the channel, and even better perks for fans that travel outside of MLB’s main broadcast markets.

The updated YouTube channel will include in-season highlights of every game played during the current season, with the highlights available approximately two days after the games conclusion. The site will now also feature videos from’s Baseball’s Best Moments library.

For travelers on the road and inhabitants of select areas the offerings are even better, depending on where you are. It will be streaming for no charge two live games daily, but available for viewers only in areas that are outside of what MLB calls its core live video distribution areas that includes North America, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

MLBAM has been delivering live streaming for a decade and has been delivering full game archives and highlight reels online via YouTube-however only in Australia, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand and Russia since 2010 so the current deal will open up that coverage to much of the rest of the globe. I wonder what took it so long?

Greatest Basketball Shot Ever Shows How YouTube is the New SportsCenter

In the past, we used to remember historic sports broadcasts from television, like Al Michaels’ famous “do you believe in miracles” at the 1980 Olympics. But now thanks to YouTube anyone can be an instant worldwide sports hero, and you will probably not forget hearing the local broadcaster say “it’s loose at point one!” to describe possibly the best basketball shot ever, Khalil Edney’s ultimate buzzer beater that got a writeup in the New York Times the Monday after it happened.

Didn’t see it? Here it is:

We’ve been saying all along here at Mobile Sports Report that services like YouTube and Twitter are going to take a big chunk out of ESPN’s SportsCenter when it comes to being the go-to place for replays. Especially when the replay in question comes from a high school game.

The World Wingsuit League Jumps into Action backed by Red Bull China

While the news of a new sports league often seems like old news being just an imitation of an existing sports league, the World Wingsuit League, that leaps into being tomorrow in China’s Zhangjiajie National Forest Park seems assured of not being another knock off pro league.

The league is kicking off with the Tianmen Mountain Grand Prix Wingsuit Race where contestants will start the race by jumping off a 900-foot cliff, which you have to say is very different than how most sporting events begin.

The event is brought to us, not surprisingly, by Red Bull China, and will feature 16 athletes dressed in wingsuit who will not just leap off of a cliff but then complete a three quarter mile long obstacle course while flying. While maybe not quite the Red Bull Stratos experiment this looks like a real thrilling and exciting event.

They will fly around a course marker platform on the ground below that is roughly the size of a tennis court seconds after jumping, then swoop down the mountain and under the tramway cable finish line before opening their parachutes and landing at the mountain’s foot.

Just doing the jump once seems like an award winning feat and that is really just the start. There will be two rounds of two runs each with the first being an elimination round with all 16 wingsuit pilots, then a finals round with the top eight. Gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded to the top finishers. In addition, the Grand Prix champion will earn $20,000, 2nd place will win $10,000 and 3rd place will take home $5,000 while the fastest time gets a trophy.

From the images posted at its Facebook page it looks like in the practice runs the athletes are diving into a fog bank. I am pretty sure that there is no way you could get me to do that. So far the fastest round in the qualifying rounds was by James Boole and his time was 23.83 seconds

I think this looks like a great event and one that I would be very happy to watch but unfortunately it looks like it will only be broadcast live in China. The WWL said that it is working hard to get a live streaming video of the events that will take place on the 13-14 of this month, but so far no news. You can follow the league on its Facebook page. It also has a YouTube channel but it does not say if that will have live video.

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.