NBC and NHL provide TV Everywhere for Stanley Cup Playoffs


The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs are here and the NHL, along with its playoff broadcast partners are using a variety of mobile and digital strategies and programs to engage fans including streaming broadcasts of the games.

The highlights are probably having all of the games presented nationally across the platforms of the NBC Sports Group for the third year in a row and for the second consecutive year NBC Sports Live Extra will stream every game live. To fans that closely follow the games this might not be a surprise but for the casual fan this could be news.

The live streaming will reach a variety of devices that have downloaded the NBC Sports Live Extra app and can stream the events as they are shown on NBC, NBC Sports Network and CNBC. It will work with desktop and laptop PCs to tablets and smartphones as long as they are authenticated customers.

This is part of the growing push for “TV Everywhere” partnerships between cable providers, networks and sports leagues that all are starting to promote more aggressively. CBS and Turner Sports along with the NCAA saw strong online viewership growth for the recently concluded March Madness even when broadcast viewership slightly declined; and NBC’s push with cable partners during the Winter Olympics also produced large digital audiences. (Editor’s note: So maybe finally broadcasters are really realizing that online audiences are additive, not subtractive ones. Huzzah.)

In addition there will be a stronger social media push for this year’s playoffs including a very interesting deal with Magisto called Making Stanley Cup Movie Magic with Magisto. Magisto is a video creation and sharing app for both Android and Apple platforms and it will enable fans to create movies about experiences and events at the game such as the Blackhawks’ I Was There promotion.

The NHL and CBS are taking an interesting turn at Twitter as well this season. The @NHLonNBCSports twitter account will be handled by a variety of celebrity guests including CBS personalities, ex-players and celebrity hockey fans over the course of the playoffs.

That is just part of its much larger social campaign that also includes the basic news for the playoffs at #StanleyCup, an effort to highlight fans through photos that at #CelebrateStanley Photo Campaign for the Fans and the news and information site of NHL on NBC All-Access Social Media that is located at NBCSports.com/NHLonNBC.

It appears that select sports leagues and networks are increasingly coming to the realization that as an increasing number of fans are also cutting the cord to broadcast and cable TV the best was to reach them is via mobile digital media and programs like these from the NHL and NBC seem like the right approach to encourage that engagement.

(Editor’s second note: Not EVERY game is being shown live, there are still local blackouts… look what we got when we tried to tune in San Jose – LA:)

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March Madness Maintains Torrid Mobile Viewing Pace


This year’s March Madness has been one of the best in over two decades in terms of television viewers but it is the best all time in terms of mobile access as increasingly fans use mobile devices to track games and video of their favorite teams or hot match ups.

The first week’s results were strong, as we recounted here, and things have not only not slowed, but as the tournament heads towards its final week viewership is increasing, even with fewer matchups to view.

The mobile and online viewership, which encompasses PCs as well as tablets and smartphones, has seen a total of 12.6 million hours of video consumed, an increase of 201% from last year with a total of 45 million live video streams for the first two weeks of the tournament, this represents a 158% increase over last year’s tournament viewership. Last year the event registered 18.3 million live video streams for the entire tournament last year.

Breaking it down to exactly what platforms are drawing the most users shows that broadband had 5 million unique visitors, up 139% while mobile apps had 3.2 million unique visitors, up 93% compared to the entire tournament last year.

If you have not viewed the games from the tournament on a mobile device but are interested there are several options. The March Madness Live app was developed in a partnership that included the NCAA, Turner Sports and CBS Sports and can be launched from CBSsports.com, NCAA.com/marchmadness or bleacherreport.com for computers and the mobile app is available from both the App Store and Google Play.

NCAA March Madness Live app has ranked No. 1 as the top sports app in the App Store and Google Play over the first two weeks of the tournament. It was also the No. 1 free app across all categories in the App Store during that same time period.

ComScore: Mobile Devices 20 Percent of March Madness Online Viewing

By now you have probably seen a number of studies that show America loses $(your number here) amount of money due to loss of productivity due to people watching the March Madness at work. I think this study, highlighted by Mashable, is the more interesting one, how many people used mobile devices to watch games.

According to market researcher comScore 20% of online viewing occurred on either a smartphone or a tablet, a number that is roughly double the average for non-sporting events, the company’s comScore Device Essentials research showed.

There are a number of reasons to use a smartphone or a tablet to watch a game. It is easier to do so surreptitiously than on a computer screen, ability to watch multiple screens, traveling or just wanting to check in occasionally during some free time to catch up.

The increase of traffic by devices is very interesting. Compared to the three Thursday/Fridays prior to the tournament computer viewing of sports content was up 77%, surprisingly the weakest growth of the technologies surveyed.

Smartphone usage soared 83%, tablet use in viewing sports was up 94% and all others increased 78%. For use while viewing non sports content they all record minor decreases in the 1% to 4% range. As the study noted, the sports usage was not in place of usual viewing but was rather incremental consumption.

Whatever the reason this is a solid trend for major events with the most recent Super Bowl having a huge on-line presence, in part driven by mobile devices. I expect that the upcoming London Olympics will see mobile devices having an even greater impact as fans can catch events that might not be on broadcast television.

Now I would like to see a study on how many tablet and smartphone users massively went over their data plans and are either facing extra charges, throttling or both.

London Calling: BBC Sports Upgrades Site in Advance of Summer Olympics

The BBC has remade its BBC Sports website and will include a significant increase in the amount of live sports that will be made available on the site, a move that will certainly cheer fans of English and European sports.

The move is the first major change at the site in over a decade and recognizes the fact that the manner in which users visits the site, the technology that they use to do so and their expectations of what a good sports site contains has dramatically changed over the ensuing years.

The BBC said about the upgrade “As such, live coverage sits at the heart of the new designs. Whether it’s text commentary on transfer deadline day, audio & video coverage of events, or highly visual and immersive, up-to-the- second tables and stats – this is a sports service custom built for modern sports fans.”

The impact of social media can be seen in the inclusion of comment modules but that seems to be just a first step since that is something that it should have had for years. The BBC said that it will also work for increased sharing of content on the site.

This is just the first step from the BBC, which said that it will be adding additional features to help mobile users with tablets, smartphones and other mobile and connected devices gain access to sports in any manner in which they wish to access it. The broadcast giant said that additional products and features will be rolled out prior to this summer’s London Olympics.

Putting live data and video upfront and foremost shows that the BBC understands that its clientele is changing from one that only accessed the site from computers and may have access to a television at the same time to one that is increasingly mobile and wants more.

Expectations of what is available online have changed forever and fans expect to see live action and replays and if the BBC did not provide it they would simply look elsewhere for the information. The site currently is the most popular sports destination online in the United Kingdom, with 11.5 million weekly visitors.

Consumers slamming NBA mobile sports app downloads during playoffs

NBA Game Time app downloads up 250%

 There have been more than 680,000 downloads of the 2010-2011 National Basketball Association’s NBA Game Time free mobile application since the beginning of the playoffs, according to a report by Mashable.

The NBA Game Time surge marks another example of exponential growth in watching sports on iPads and smartphones when games really start to count. As reported, the NCAA’s March Madness on Demand (MMOD) application generated not only record downloads, but heavier than expected video downloads and longer user sessions then anticipated.


Turner Sports continues to lead in mobile sports production

In total, the NBA Game Time has exceeded 2.5 million downloads during its 82 regular-game season and playoffs, a 250 percent increase from the 2009-2010 campaign. NBA’s numbers were confirmed to Mashable by Turner Sports, which is in its third year managing digital properties for The Association.

The NBA's digital leader, Bryan Perez

Bryan Perez confirms NBA apps surging

NBA Digital senior vice president and general manager Bryan Perez told Mashable that NBA Basketball’s lightning-fast pace creates difficult production problems for a broadcaster, but the point has come where the games can be rendered quickly enough to provide consumers with a fulfilling experience.

 NBA Game Time is available for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android, as well as such connected device platforms as Apple TV, Google TV and Vizio Internet apps.