Can 120 Sports find a niche in sports streaming video market?

Without any examples of what they will do, it’s hard to guess where the new sports streaming video concern 120 Sports will fit in. But with content partners that include Sports Illustrated, Major League Baseball, the NHL, NBA, NASCAR and major colleges, it’s a good bet sports fans will find something to watch among the two-minute clips that give the site its “120” moniker.

Our pal Todd Spangler has a great writeup of the details of the 120 Sports launch over at Variety, but I wonder how (especially without any football content) the new site will make a name for itself, with its obvious competition being the worldwide leader, ESPN. With the technical chops of MLBAM behind it, 120 Sports is probably going to look great and perform well online. And as long as it’s free it will get some eyeballs. But if you read the press release you see there is talk about the “premium” version for pay somewhere down the road. That’s where 120 Sports will face its real test and right now I don’t see a compelling reason to pay for yet another sports outlet.

What I do foresee in the near future is some real shakeout between teams, leagues and broadcasters, because right now it seems like some leagues — the NFL mainly — are in danger of alienating their big-bucks TV contracts with their league-owned digital plays, like NFL Now. In the early days many sports fans will no doubt pay to see what’s on, but I don’t think there is a limitless budget for anyone when it comes to viewing sports. At some point (like what’s happening now with cell phones) sports fans are going to pick winners and losers, and my bet is that whoever has rights to live action and/or replays is going to be the big winner.

I like the idea behind 120 Sports, as short clips are definitely the way to go when it comes to online video. But do people really want a mix of features and other etcetera from a wide range of different sports? Or are they going to go to sports-specific or team-centric sites first? I just don’t see how 120 Sports is going to be significantly different from what’s available now but maybe they will show us when content is actually live.

Sports Illustrated and Instagram team up on NFL Preseason Camp Photos

Peter King interviews Andrew Luck

Ever wonder what a preseason NFL camp looks like? There are always plenty of reports on the players but if a photographer accompanies a reporter there may be two photos, at most, to accompany the article.

Now Sports Illustrated has taken a step in providing a better image for fans by promoting images, 20 in all, along with columnist Peter King’s report from the camps in the Aug. 20 issue according to a piece in Mashable.

The interesting thing about the idea is its origin. The magazine noticed all of the great shots that reporters down at the camps were posting to their personal pages, and apparently the little light bulb went off at corporate headquarters.

I am surprised that this type of idea has not occurred earlier, I imagine that professional photographers must take hundreds of photos at camps and very few ever see the light of day in SI or anywhere else. Instagram is an image viewing venue that is increasingly well known and so a n

atural place to display this type of work.

NFL fans are avid for news about their teams including individual players, and a host of photos on them would be a magnet to many fans, increasing traffic to the web site as well as sating fans needs.

Sports Illustrated’s official Instagram page is a great place to stop, particularly if you are an older sports fans. It has a number of new images from the camps as well as baseball and other current sporting events. But it also runs some of its iconic older covers and older articles.

MLB has had something Instagram going for its teams and you can visit sites that have team supplied photos and while not all of the teams are on-board the program, the plan is to have them do so in the near future.

Athletes themselves have realized the power of the platform as well with a shining example of the use of both Instagram and other social media coming from the recent Summer Olympics. Kevin Love gave a great insider’s view of the US basketball team. Hopefully this is just the start and we see this as a standard operating procedure for all teams and many athletes.


Friday Grab Bag: Digitized Swimsuit Issue-Where do I sign up?

Ford to show at Mobile World Congress

At the Mobile World Congress there will no doubt be an array of interesting products and technologies introduced, and there will be at list one show first- Ford plans to launch a car at the show. The B-MAX to be exact.

Ford has one of the keynote speeches at the show and it has been revealed that it will take the wraps off of the car that has what it calls Easy Access Door System, but it claims that as yet unrevealed technology in the car is what it will be touting at the show.

ESPN to increase soccer coverage?
After ESPN lost in its bid to broadcast the upcoming 2018 and 2022 World Cups it seemed that all of the progress the network had made in its coverage of soccer would all go down the drain. However the Big Lead reports that in an interview with the World Wide Leader major changes are in the works to improve its coverage.

It reported that after this summer’s European Championships there will be a major effort to massively overhaul ESPN’s presence online. It currently has two separate sites that cover the sport so simply consolidating them would be a positive step forwards.

BlackBerry takes a hit as Government agency moves to rivals
Research in Motion, reeling from a bad year just got more unpleasant news as the U.S. Government’s General Service Administration, its primary procurement agency, has started issuing smartphones that run both the Android and Apple iOS operating systems.

Until recently RIM’s BlackBerry had been the only option available from the GSA. However it is not all dire news as the BlackBerry is still the most widely used device among the RSA’s 17,000 employees and currently the rivals’ only account for approximately 5% in a trial program that is just now starting. However once the camel’s nose is in the tent watch out for the rest of the beast.

Apple seeking blood from a stone?
Apple has asked a bankruptcy court for permission to sue Kodak for infringement. That is just the tip of the iceberg according to Cnet, which reports that Apple is also seeking to file a patent infringement claim with the International Trade Commission and plans to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Manhattan.

Apple is already a two time loser in regards to taking Kodak in front of the ITC, which has ruled that Kodak did not infringe on Apple’s patents. Kodak has returned fire and last month filed a suit against Apple saying it violated some of Kodak’s patents.

Apple wins round in Germany vs Motorola
Apple has won a major round in its ongoing patent disputes with Motorola Mobility when the Munich I Regional Court ruled in favor in regards to patent # EP1964022. Not familiar with that one, are you? Well it has to do with unlocking a device using a gesture on an unlock image.

Apple will now have the opportunity to defend the side and lock patent as Motorola has already appealed the decision. The court looked at three different implementations of the technology and Apple won on two, losing on the third, which is used by Xoom tablets.

Apple is also asserting the same patent against Samsung sop expect to hear more about this issue going forward.

Looking for a more digital Sports Illustrated? It is here.
One of the coming of age items for high school students was squirreling away the annual Sports Illustrated Swim Suit issue before the parental units could confiscate it. Well now you can view it, and all of the magazines content, in a growing array of digital formats.

The latest is available for iPads, with horizontal and vertical views available as well as for the iPhone for the Apple fans and then it’s also available for Android smartphone and tablet users. All for the low, low price of $6.99.

However there is also a range of video options as well including much that is exclusive to the tablet market. Then a user could simply also head over to for additional video, as well as YouTube and Facebook.

Google fixes Wallet Security Hole
Your digital pocket can no longer be picked, according to Google, which has issued a fix for the security flaw that was reported in its Google Wallet. While there are still threats to the security, the simply method that required almost no hacking skill has been resolved.

Along with putting in a fix for the security gap Google has made some additional enhancements to the Wallet, head over to Pocketnow for a run down.

Camping stove boils water and charges smartphones
Looking forward to the backpacking season but worried that your smartphone’s battery will not handle three days in the great outdoors? Well BioLite has just the tool for you, a stove that burns wood for cooking and can also generate electricity.

The CampStove does both by using the thermal energy created when a fire is kindled in it to run a thermoelectric module that is built into the side of the stove. The module runs a fan that blows air onto the fire to improve combustion but also has excess energy available.

That energy can be used to charge small electronics devices such as a mobile phone, a GPS or lights. Of course if you backpack with back to nature types the stove might not help you stave off attack from your friends for using your phone.

“Content is another word for too much crap,” Sports Illustrated Executive Says

Ford (left) and McDonell

Terry McDonell, Editor, Time Inc. Sports Group, and Mark Ford, president, Time Inc. Sports Group, debuted today in an video interview where they said they didn’t know how Sports Illustrated would monetize its sports social media, and McDonell called “content another word for too much crap.”

Speaking to, McDonell and Ford don’t say anything all that different than what sports social media leaders at major print publishing brands are saying today. It is the unfocused nature of the interview that was unusual. focuses on “business challenges that matter today, clearly explaining the solutions, competitive strategies, people, and thinking around them,” but it is also a content provider aimed at aspiring executives. That may help explain the free-wheeling, non-substantive nature of the SI executive’s comments.

The interview underscores that few, if anyone, really knows how to make money on sports content as it flows to smartphones and tablet devices, and just a few basic principles are what business leaders have to go on as they push brands further into the social community space.

In leading the interview, points up Sports Illustrated was first to market with a tablet application that delivered a major magazine brand to readers. Later, it brings up the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue was one of the first to include experiential marketing, smartphone, and tablet distribution for a major print product. McDonell said experimenting with sports social media has opened up SI’s corporate structure.

“Specifically at SI everybody basically created new jobs for themselves,” McDonell said. “It got fast and fun. We started inviting everyone from I.T. (information technology) at SI to our parties, and they acted like they had never been invited to a party before. So, they all showed up and then pretty soon they said, “pssstt what about this”…(Pretty soon), we had a real hot unit, and — you know — we haven’t cooled off much.

Then SI’s McDonell says,

“Content” is another word for too much crap. If you can break through that and not have “content” but have something good, people will pay for it.”

In making his “content is another word for too much crap” comment, McDonell plays off a famous line made famous by Sumner Redstone, who is majority owner of  CBS CorporationViacomMTV NetworksBET, and the film studio Paramount Pictures. At the dawn of the Internet as a commercial medium, when everyone was trying to figure out what meant to media, it was Redstone who famously said “content is king.” Microsoft chairman Bill Gates borrowed the famous line, and wrote an article in 1996 titled “Content is King.” Eleven years later, Redstone wrote in 2007 an article titled “If Content is King, Copyright is Its castle.”

In a section of the interview where McDonell and Ford say SI doesn’t plan to monetize sports social media content, the executives said the focus is on authentic content.

“We have some big-time social media people at Sports Illustrated,” McDonell says. “All that stuff works for us but it is kind of an orchestra coming together. I’m not sure. I’m not sure how we get the money.”

Ford then says,

“We don’t even use that language (referring to money). It is about building an authenticate community and an audience that’s true to the brand. Through that, opportunities will come up..It would be a big mistake to try to monetize that too quickly.”

McDonell adds,

“It is not a community. To be really successful, it has to be beyond community. It has to be tribal. You are building a tribe. And if you are in that tribe, you join that tribe, you want all that tribe stuff.”

Ford then says,

“Terry was in motorcycle gangs up in Northern California, you can tell. It was very tribal. We both love motorcycles.”

You will have to register for an account, but here’s the full interview:

Mark Ford & Terry McDonell Interview