NFL playoff expansion on hold

Playoff games will be a bit more spread around this post season in the NFL as NBC will be adding a divisional round game and ESPN will be getting a Wild Card game. The ESPN game will be also broadcast over the air in the cities of the two teams that are playing.

Meanwhile the talk of expansion of the playoffs looks like it has been delayed, at least in the near term. NY Giants team president John Mara spoke to Newsday and said that he believed that the earliest additional post season games would be added would be in 2015. Commissioner Goodell had been pushing for this year.

NFL Players to land Tweet deal
Fans quite often follow their favorite athletes on Twitter, or at least ones that might make outspoken or interesting statements. Well now they may say something along the lines of “This Tweet brought to you by…”

A deal between the NFL Players Inc. and digital marketing company Opendorse will work to get endorsement deals for players who will be paid to tout the products via Twitter. According to Sports Business Journal Opendorse has already signed 200 players.

Top NFL Draft misses?
One of the byproducts of the huge NFL mock draft industry is that it sometimes makes some glaring mistakes. I think that most fans have a love/hate relationship with top online and broadcast mock drafters and really enjoy bringing up this topic.

Awful Announcing has complied just that type of list and leads off a historcial gem with Mel Kiper saying that JaMarcus Russell, the Oakland Raiders top draft selection in 2007 is the next John Elway. It just gets better after that but a few I was hoping to see did not make the cut, which may say something about the number of mock draft failures.

World Cup teams have needs too
Who knew that World Cup teams had demands that will most likely force rock stars to improve their game when it comes to making demands from the hotels where the teams stay. Kosher meat, fresh bananas from your native country and only liquid soap, none of that old fashion bar soap, which is apparently not good enough for the French.

According to SB Nation many are demanding the televisions carry broadcasts from home with Honduras demanding six Spanish speaking stations. Japan needs a Jacuzzi in every room. And I thought that Van Halen was demanding because they did not want brown M&Ms.

Total College Sports Aims For Edgy Sports Alternative to ESPN

Total College Sports anchor Melanie Collins with Kobe Bryant

Is being edgier than ESPN a competitive advantage in the Internet sports video arena?

An Internet video network backed by live-streaming sports content powerhouse PERFORM and a company founded by the same ownership as the Chicago White Sox is banking on it.

Called Total College Sports, the network formally launched late last month.

Distributed through a video player embedded on Chicago Tribune Sports and other websites, Total College Sports is anchored by former NBA-TV and Big Ten Network host Melanie Collins. It features highlights from the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and Pac-12 conferences, as well as studio commentary from former ESPN personality Sean Salisbury and LaVar Arrington.

“It is edgier than ESPN,” said Juan Delgado, North American managing director for PERFORM.

A linchpin for SEASON

Silver Chalice Ventures is the driver behind Total College Sports, and the programming is part of its SEASON sports platform.

Designed as a free-to-view platform for sports fans, SEASON will provide an array of sports content throughout the year, including Major League Baseball,  National Hockey League, golf and soccer clips. All of it is delivered through PERFORM’s ePlayer, and supported by advertising that appears before each segment.

With such sponsors as Bridgestone, AquaFresh, htc and Verizon already buying advertising space, Total College Sports underscores the fact that the cost of producing original video content is becoming an increasingly feasible proposition.

Silver Chalice EVP and GM Rich Routman

“With increasing demand for premium video content – and more marketing dollars shifting to digital media, particularly online video advertising – SEASON is uniquely positioned to benefit consumers by providing premium content, while aiding marketers and publishers in reaching this fast-paced audience,” said Rich Routman, EVP and GM of Silver Chalice.

SEASON is part of an industry drive toward more sports video on the Internet. Bleacher Report and SB Nation parent Vox Media were among the companies tapped by Google last month as part of a $100 million plan to produce original content for YouTube, marking their transition from blog-driven portals to broadcast networks.

Total College Sports content

Total College Sports player

Is total College Sports content edgier than ESPN?

A typical Total College Sports segment might include Salisbury’s picks against the Las Vegas betting line, jokes about shamrocks on Notre Dame football helmets and this quote from Georgia’s head coach Mark Richt:

 “To answer your question I am not going to answer that question because I don’t like it.”

In actuality, with the exception of picks against Las Vegas lines, that’s pretty standard fare on ESPN. Total College Sports programming will need to reach further if it plans to differentiate itself from the established media brands.

The PERFORM connection 

Total College Sports is a serious player among video start-ups in part because of its backing from PERFORM.

Founded in 2001, PERFORM has over 1,000 employees worldwide, went public in April and is showing 50 percent year-over-year revenue growth. It originally focused its business on managing subscription services for premium, live-streamed video content tied to professional sports teams. It continues to provide those services, but has seen demand for its services grow into broader advertising-supported and sponsored content channels.

Today, PERFORM hosts Fox Sports’ FoxSoccer.TV and, which has 35 million unique visitors, including 4 million in the United States.

SB Nation breaks out of the Vox with a broad media strategy





SB Nation, with 25 million in monthly visitors and $24 million in venture backing, took its eye off the ball today. Whether that strategy works remains to be seen.

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