Friday Grab Bag: $1 Billion for perfect March Madness bracket?

Every year you hear, usually third hand, about somebody who correctly picked all of the winners in the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament. A side note is that they won an office pool with maybe a few hundred dollars in it.

Well Warren Buffett is changing the stakes to the game, along with Berkshire Hathaway and Quicken Loans. They are offering an award of $1 billion for the person that correctly selects all 63 winners. You can ask for that in either $25 million a year over 40 years or a lump sum of $500 million. Such tough choices.

More Thursday night games from NFL
Remember those games that the NFL said it was not going to be playing on Thursday nights. Well the networks have all started bidding on the rights to broadcast the games that will start this upcoming September and the deal is expected to be for one season.

In the mix are CBS, Fox and NBC and the rumored amount is in the $400 million and is expected to be for eight games. However it appears that the deals are not exclusive but rather the NFL will also broadcast the same games on its NFL Network.

More NASCAR changes coming
NASCAR does not seem to want to leave good enough alone and is once again altering the rules that establish who wins the championship each season. The sport has been tinkering off and on with changes since it established the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

More teams seem to be the answer, at least according to NASCAR, which is trying to recapture its former broadcasting ratings glory. SportsOnEarth does a very nice job tearing down the proposal and pointing out how the sports executives seem bent on destroying the unique nature of the sport.

MLB Advanced Media honcho looks into the future
MLBAM has gotten a lot of news so far in this young year, deals streaming the new WWE online channel and a relationship with Sony that will leverage the MLBAM’s technical know-how for its back end technology.

Now its CEO Bob Bowman is talking about where he sees streaming video going and what impact the recent high profile deals will have on MLBAM

X Games have started
The prelude to the Winter Olympics has begun with ESPN’s annual X Games, hosted in Aspen, Colo. Just prior to the start of the Winter Olympics. However it looks like a few big names will not be seen at the events.

One is 13-time gold medal winner Shaun White, who said that he needed the time to prepare for the Sochi Games. The other is Red Bull, one of the top sponsors for the event. Monster Energy has replaced it and Forbes speculates that this could be the start of Monster establishing itself as a rival to Red Bull in the sports action market.

Sharp goes big in tablet spaceIf the current generation of tablets, now edging out to 13-inches, is too small to meet your needs then you might want to take a gander at the latest from Sharp, the RW-16G1, that boasts a 15.6 inch display.

The tablet runs Windows 8.1 operating system and is seen as a tool for those looking for a powerful tablet to replace a desktop or laptop computer. Among its features are 128GB storage, 3200 x 800 screen resolution and is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB RAM.

Timeout Tuesday: X Games Video Clips Overload

If you missed the Summer X Games a week or so ago, don’t fret. Of course it was all captured on video, and thanks to the wonder of YouTube we have a few clips to share with you. I can’t claim to know what the individual events really are (though it’s pretty easy to figure out something called “moto x freestyle”) but you don’t really need to know… just watch.

First up, Taka Higashino’s winning run in Moto X Freestyle:

Then from the folks at GoPro the “day 1 highlights” which are mainly cool for the point-of-view shots:

Not everything lands smoothly at the X Games. Here Toomas Heikkinen doesn’t get enough lift during RallyCross racing practice:

But then when tricks work… if you ever had these cars as a kid, like I did… you know it doesn’t always work. But you gotta love a real-world version of the Hot Wheels double-loop dare:

First, the live shot in real time:

Then, the edited version with in-car cams:

And… I know this isn’t from this year’s X Games but… Shaun White is one crazy skilled dude. Whatever that move is at :56 in… I don’t know its technical description, but… DAMN

(clips courtesy of X Games, ESPN and YouTube. Thanks!)

GoPro’s X Games Highlight Video: Simply Amazing

Did you miss the X Games last week on ESPN? If so the good folks at GoPro have put together a quick mind-blowing recap video, shot completely with their portable HD HERO2 cameras. Take a quick look here to see what the X Games looks like from the athlete perspective:

GoPro Renews X Games Sponsorship — Lots of Fun in LA this Week

Is there any better fit than the X Games and GoPro’s cameras? In perhaps the smallest surprise ever the companies announced Monday that GoPro is once again sponsoring the Summer X Games, which start later this week in the city of lost angels. For a little taste of X Games life recorded via a GoPro camera check out the video above (I like the bit about “pass the GoPro,” handing off the camera in mid-trick).

UPDATE: Here’s the full ESPN broadcast schedule for X Games this week.

MSR has been on vacation but we’ll try to catch up later this week with the GoPro folks as well as giving you as much X Games info as we can. Consider this an appetizer for all the cool stuff yet to come.