Will Enhanced Access to Live Sports Boost Xbox Sales?


Microsoft has enhanced a pair of sports apps that will be made available added an along with its pending Xbox release due later this fall with reworked ESPN apps as well as one that will enable users to access a good deal of NFL video and information, including fantasy football features

The ESPN app is enhanced from the earlier app available for Xbox 360 and provides a great deal of customization by users so that each experience will be tailored to individuals’ preferences such as the ability to create personalized highlight reels on specific players.

Users need to subscribe to a cable service that offers ESPN and with that they can view content not just on ESPN 3 but also programming and live sports from ESPN, ESPN 2 and other related broadcast partners.

The NFL app ties into NFL.Com and provides news and clips from games as well as enabling access to NFL Network programming and provides NFL Red Zone, a program that moves from game to game as teams near the Red Zone and try to score. It enables users to track fantasy teams in real time and they can snap the updates to the screen when playing a game on the console. It should be noted that the console will not ship in time for the start of the NFL season.

The video game console market is a very competitive field and some are even predicting that it will morph into something very different in the future, possibly as a dongle or another add on feature to a television.

But that is in the future and currently Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are still competing for a market that generates billions in revenue worldwide. By adding enhanced features to apps that access the most popular sports programming and most popular sports in the US, Microsoft could see an advantage over its rivals. Sony is also expected to revamp its PlayStation lineup later this year.

Virginia is for Lovers, and this weekend NASCAR

Last week’s run in Kansas resulted in a nice win by Denny Hamlin, his second of the year by passing Martin Truex Jr. on the 31st to last lap and then hanging on for the checkered flag. Truex hung on for second while the rest of the top five was filled out by Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle.

Who would have believed that a little sunlight had that much of an effect on the race? For most of the race Truex was dominating in the cloudy weather and then as the conditions changed with the arrival of late afternoon sun, his car started performing poorly, becoming very loose while Hamlin’s #11 car had the exact opposite experience. Well they are once again under the lights this week.

Sprint Cup Standings
1) Greg Biffle
2) Martin Truex Jr. -15
3) Matt Kenseth -17
4) Dale Earnhardt Jr. -21
5) Denny Hamlin -23

The Track
This week they are running at Richmond International Raceway in the Capitol City 400 Presented by Virginia is for Lovers, a race that marks the 60th anniversary of racing at the RIR. The track is a ¾ mile D shaped oval.

Coverage begins at 7 pm ET on Fox

Twitter feeds
@RISinsider- Tracks official Twitter feed
@NASCAR-Official NASCAR feed
@NationwideNNS-Nationwide Official Twitter
@NASCAR_NNS-NASCAR Nationwide feed
@NASCARONFOX-Fox Sports feed
@AllWaltrip-3 Time NASCAR Champ and Fox announcer
@PRNLive-Performance Racing Network
@EdHintonESPN-ESPN Columnist Ed Hinton

Nationwide Series
The Nationwide Series also returns to the lights, this time on Friday night with the running of the Virginia 529 College Savings 250. The highlight of the race could be the debut of Travis Pastrana, at least he has been heavily touted by ESPN, which maybe not coincidentally is broadcasting the race.

Still he has taken an interesting road to get a car in Nationwide. He has been a winner at a variety of other tangentially related sports including supercross, motorcross, freestyle motorcross and rally racing.

He formed a partnership with Michael Waltrip to form the Pastrana-Waltrip Racing. He was originally expected to start racing last year but after one race was injured in an accident in the X-Games which put off his racing efforts until this year. It will be interesting to see how well he does and if his X-Games following will cross over to NASCAR. Anybody want to make a prediction?

Friday 7 pm ET ESPN 2

Nationwide Series Standings
1) Elliott Sadler
2) Ricky Stenhouse Jr -4
3) Austin Dillon -20
4) Sam Hornish Jr. -54
5) Michael Annett -64

Video of the week

Brad Keselowski is rapidly becoming my favorite racing personality. First he sends an in-track Twitter of an exploding race car and now I find this. He has a series of Q&As on YouTube that are just silly but well worth viewing, especially if you just need to perk up your day.