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.

Friday Grab Bag: Amazon Coins and a look at Sports Betting

Twitter has bought social media tracking company Bluefin Labs, a company that follows how much social media is talking about television shows. The TV analytics company has been in business since 2008 and has had a total of approximately $20 million in venture funding so far.

The reported cost was $100 million according to the New York Times, although Twitter did not release the information. Twitter executives said that they believe that Bluefin’s acquisition will open new ad opportunities for the company.

Amazon develops virtual currency for apps
Going where others have failed before Amazon is introducing Amazon Coins, virtual currency that can be used to purchase apps and will be used as real currency — that means you need to pay for them, although Amazon has not yet spelled out how that process will work.

The virtual currency market has left a trail of tears for developers that have tried to establish them. Failures include Microsoft’s Points, Facebook’s Facebook Credits and several attempts at stand alone currencies including Flooz.

Samsung launches new $100 million fund
Samsung has launched the $100 million Samsung Catalyst Fund, an investment effort that will taget companies seeking early stage or seed investment with an emphasis on mobility, security and mobile privacy among other areas.

At the same time Samsung is opening the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center (SSIC) in Menlo Park, Calif. and plans to use it as a place where entrepreneurs can meet with executives from Samsung’s nine product divisions to develop products and ideas.

Microsoft talks Windows 8
Three months after Microsoft released its latest generation operating system Windows 8, the company is now providing some insight on how well the platform has been accepted by the industry in a posting at the Windows Blog.
In a Q&A at the blog Microsoft’s chief marketing officer Tami Reller revealed that the company sold 60 million licenses for the operating system, about the same as it had with Windows 7.

Tablets to emerge as major TV platform, research firm claims
The growing popularity of tablets has caused a slowdown in sales of PCs, and a recent study by The Diffusion Group shows that they will also become a stronger factor in the television viewing world as we go forward.

The group estimates that by 2017 television viewing on tablets will grow to 58 billion hours, with an estimated 65% of all US households according to TDG’s “Tablet Diffusion and Its Impact on Video Use – Forecasts and Recommendations” report.

A look at sports betting
Did you drop a dime on the Super Bowl last week? Then in all likelihood you were committing a crime, but then you probably already knew that. A nice piece in the New Yorker spells out what is the current state of sports betting and how appeals to a Federal law currently ongoing in New Jersey may change everything.