Friday Grab Bag: NBA first to adopt ads on jerseys?

Apparently it is just a matter of time. ESPN is reporting that new NBA commissioner Adam Silver told an audience at the IMG World Congress of Sports that the move to put ads on NBA jerseys is inevitable and that it will enable its marketing partners to get closer to fans. I guess that translates into owners will be able to take home more money.

Ads on U.S. pro team uniforms has been contentious — MLB has talked about it for more than a decade and in a game in Japan rolled out the look to wide displeasure but it seems inevitable. Teams are always looking for additional revenue and this looks to be money just left on the table.

NFL to have official to official communications
According to MMQB the NFL will equip all NFL on-field officials with a microphone, earpiece and a radio pack so that during games they can communicate wirelessly over an encrypted system to each other for a more efficient game.

I wonder in this day when people can hack into store accounts how long it will take for some person or persons to hack the communications between officials and either broadcast it somewhere or interfere with the chatter?

Buffett wants bracket changes for tournament
If you are like everybody else I know your March Madness bracket was blown up during last weekend’s round of major upsets but not everybody was unhappy — Quicken Loans and Warren Buffett’s offer to pay $1 billion to anyone that picked all winners will go uncollected this year.

However they are not gloating and Buffett, who said that they plan to offer the $1 billion next year, wants to change it so that it will be easier to win. However he has not yet worked out how that can be done.

You can still win millions if you Beat The Streak
March Madness is not the only game in town as with the start of the MLB season there s also the launch of the 14th annual Beat The Streak fantasy contest, this year with a $5.6 million prize, and hopefully someone will finally win this very hard to attain prize.

The Beat The Streak sponsored by Dunkin Donuts game itself is very simple; all a fan has to do is select two players every day and hope that one gets a hit, for 57 consecutive games, breaking baseball’s historic single season hitting streak. Good luck.

Maryland’s departure from ACC gets even more acrimonious

Maryland is one of the many schools that has shopped for a better deal in its collegiate alignment and announced 2 years ago that it was departing from the ACC for the Big Ten in search of its pot of gold. The ACC responded by suing to collect an exit fee.

Now Maryland is striking back and has subpoenaed 10 conference schools and ESPN claiming that the ACC violated its own rules on exit fees and that along with ESPN it tried to lure Big Ten schools, according to the Washington Post.

MLB delivers daily fantasy game in partnership with DraftKings


In the past Major League Baseball once denounced daily fantasy baseball games as gambling, implying that no skill was involved, but that has changed as baseball has teamed with fantasy sports contest provider DraftKings for an offering that launches with the upcoming season.

The Official Mini Fantasy Game of is a free one-day fantasy league that can be entered daily and offers fans the ability to win tickets to regular season games, the 2014 All-Star Game and a 2014 World Series game. There are a total of four grand prizes, two each to the All-Star and World Series as well as a number of other prizes.

Players get a $50,000 salary cap and then select from a field of players that has 10 position players who can accumulate points (or lose them) by accomplishing select actions such as +5 points for a stolen base and +2 points for each strike out a pitcher earns. There will be several different offerings including a daily Official Fantasy Contest and a weekly Friday Home Team contest among others.

DraftKings specializes in creating what it calls daily leagues, ones that you can play and then quit, none of this following a fantasy baseball team for a season trying to convince a fellow owner to trade his star starting pitcher for your broken down LOOGY.

Its system is simple and has the potential to be lucrative for users. It has both free and paid contests in which participants select individuals to make up a team, watch how they perform that day and if they perform the best you can win cash. DraftKings is currently running several contests including a March Madness one. It offers contests in five major sports: MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA and the PGA. It offers a wide variety of contests from head-to-head to qualifiers.

This will be interesting to see how this pans out on many levels. Lotteries have tried to have sports offerings and most of the major league teams have fought against them. States, led by New Jersey, have then fought back, so far unsuccessfully. Now a league is endorsing it as a skill event and that could lead to an easing of other leagues’ dislike of this type of activity.

NFL Ratchets up Tools for Fantasy Players

Every had a burning question about a NFL player, team or issue but did not have time to research it and none of your friends will help because it might give you a competitive advantage in your Fantasy Football League.
Now the NFL is stepping in and has developed an online fantasy football community called Fantasy Genius where you can post questions such as who is starting at QB this week for the Cleveland Browns, which running back you should start this week or are any of the Jets receivers worth selecting in our upcoming draft.

The site has the potential to serve millions of fans so there is the potential to become inundated with responses but it is designed so that you can focus on what interests you. Head over here to set up your profile- this enables you to not just establish yourself as a fan but is also the spot from which you can track your questions and view results. Users have the ability to preset how often they get email updates on their questions.

You can have focused discussions with fans on specific topics and post your team and have others rate it, or rate individual players. It also areas of interest such as Top Trending Questions and who to start and who to bench. If you participate in the ‘who to start’ feature you can earn ratings including draft expert.

This is an interesting idea but I wonder how the trolls will be dealt with. If you have ever visited a team fan site there are always people that log in just to insult rivals. I think this will be an interesting feature to try out for awhile and see how well it helps fans in their pursuit of fantasy glory.

Guest Post: Pickmoto Tracks the ESPN NFL ‘Experts’

(Editor’s note: This is a guest blog from the folks at Pickmoto, a fantasy sports mobile app.)

One thing that ESPN is right about with its “Experts” Picks is that predictions are, indeed, a skill. Week 8 is evidence of that. Only 4 Experts’ scores went up – Wickersham, Keyshawn, Schefter, Hoge – and (surprise), they are all in the Top 5. The bottom 7’s scores dropped.

Wickersham picked against the grain with 4 of his picks – Bucs, Lions, Colts, Cowboys – and was a knuckle away from nailing all 4. We particularly like his Bucs pick. Vikings stock hadn’t been higher all year. And the Bucs are better than their record: all four of their losses are by a touchdown or less. Classic case of an undervalued team against an overvalued team.

On the other end of the leaderboard, Allen and Jackson played it safe, save for their pick of the Redskins over the Steelers. Not a bad pick. The Redskins are playing better than expected and the Steelers worse. But at this point, when those 2 put their heads together, you know what’s going to happen.

Even though he’s third from last, Ditka deserves credit for being the lone ESPNer who tabbed the Browns and for going out on a limb with the Rams and Cowboys. If you are going to be an “Expert”, might as well offer some out of the box thinking.

Week 8 – ESPN Experts Leaderboard
-All players start with 300 points.

+Seth Wickersham – 660
Chris Mortensen – 563
+Keyshawn Johnson – 360
+Adam Schefter – 340
+Merrill Hoge – 288
Ron Jaworski – 236
Cris Carter – 220
Mike Golic – 208
Mark Schlereth – 187
Mike Ditka – 158
Eric Allen – 153
Tom Jackson – 126

Pickmoto is recreating the fantasy sports experience on mobile. Its first app for the 2012 NFL season is free for iPhone and iPad. Pickmoto asks the most basic question in sports – which teams will win. It’s pick’em with a twist: there’s a crowdsourced scoring system that rewards correct picks based on their popularity – the less popular, the more points.

Pickmoto’s 2nd app for the NBA season just hit the AppStore. Try it today.

RotoWire Delivers Fantasy Football Draft Kit 2012 App


The first round of pro football preseason games has just concluded and so naturally many fans minds turn to fantasy football and how they can get that one game changer that will put them over the top in their league and so win boasting rights for the next year.

One good tool to have in your arsenal is the latest sports app from RotoWire, the Fantasy Football Draft Kit 2012, along with the usual selection of preseason magazines, sports web sites and a list of pundits that you believe and disbelieve.

The kit, currently available for iPhones and iPads at Apple’s App Store for $4.99 with an Android version is expected to be available later this week, has been upgraded from last years version with new features and support capabilities.

The app takes a lot of the grunt work out of sorting stats and looking at all key position players, although of

course nothing replaces a good understanding on injuries and team and coaching dynamics.

A user would simply input their leagues scoring and roster settings and the app then goes and creates a projections based on value-based calculations using RotoWire’s 2012 stat projections. It also uses those projections to create cheat sheets that can be used during drafts.

However you do not need to use the rankings that it sets and can manually adjust the rankings to meet your perception of the relative value of players. You can also create a watch list for players that you expect to have a breakout season.

Other features include projected stats for the year as well as players stats from last year when applicable. It will also enable a user to download updated stat projections until the start of the season. It has a number of customized settings as well including the ability to set the number of teams in the draft, modify and set offensive scoring, roster spots, defensive scoring and kicking scoring.

The release of this app is just the tip of the iceberg for RotoWire, which has a number of apps in the queue waiting for release including a Fantasy Football Guide and a Fantasy College Football Draft Kit, so keep your eye on the company or your favorite app store.


RotoWire Readies Fantasy Apps ahead of MLB Season Opener

RotoWire ready for Major League Baseball to start.
With one of the most important days of the New Year to baseball fans already passed earlier this week with pitchers and catchers reporting one of the next important milestones for fans is preparing for their fantasy baseball draft.

To help fans prepare and follow their teams RotoWire has released four apps that can help a fan do everything from prepare for the draft to manage their team post draft during the season. There is also now offerings that support CBS’ fantasy platform.

The company sees itself in the sweet spot in the market as fans have been strongly moving to on-line platforms for their information but also looking to manage their teams and even watch sports on mobile devices and so RotoWire has developed to leverage this trend.

“Consumers are increasingly shifting time away from TVs and PCS to consume more content on tablets and smartphones, and fantasy sports is at the forefront of this trend,” said Peter Schoenke, president of RotoWire in a prepared statement.

Overall the company has a total of 17 mobile sports apps and they are available represented on all of the major platforms so that fans do not have to pick a specific platform to get their sports data.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit: this is designed to help a manager organize and rank players in preparation for the draft, with a wealth of data available on each player including past performances and injuries. It also has the ability to have a user eliminate drafted players and get real time recommendations on the remaining field of players.

There is now also a Fantasy Baseball Guide for the iPad. Experienced RotoWire users are familiar with this magazine that features players existing and projected stats, profiles, analysis, as well as listing top rookies and more.

The apps do not stop once the season starts. The third app is the Fantasy Baseball Assistant that is designed to help manage a team in-season. It features the expected in season stats and baseball news but a nice key feature is its ability to enable a manager to create and manage a watch list.

The last of the newly introduced apps is one that is for an all around fantasy enthusiast as it does not just relate to baseball. The Fantasy News Center includes fantasy sports news for not only baseball but also NFL, NBA, NHL, golf, racing, college football, college basketball, and soccer.

RotoWire also now offers Fantasy Player News and Player Outlooks on CBS’ new open fantasy platform App Central, with information including player news and profiles.

If you are like I am you are, or have friends that also compete in multiple leagues across a range of sports. The amount of information needed to stay competitive is vast and growing, and while it is great to win the bragging rights and more when winning a league, in one I know of the loser has to treat to steak dinners, just to keep fans everybody’s head in the league all season.

The amount of information available as well as the tools to stay organized the RotoWire offers are a great start for fans both experience with the ins and outs of fantasy sports but also to help newbies get a firm foundation when they start out.

There will be plenty more apps released to help scout, draft, and manage teams for the upcoming MLB season. This is one of the first that has come to our attention and I am sure we will be listing few more in the next few weeks prior to the first pitch of the season. If you have a favorite app drop us a line.