Posted February 17, 2016

5 live streaming apps every sports geek should look out for

These apps will give iPhone users the privilege of keeping up with the latest sports news, scores, predictions, statistics and so much more
The author Elianna Hyde is a freelance writer since 2009. She attended the University of California and graduated with Masters in Mass Communication.

She loves watching TV shows, movies or anything that leads to entertainment. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Sports are a great way to bring people together. Whether it is watching them, playing them or “fantasising” about them (i.e. Fantasy Football), when we talk about sports the feeling of togetherness and a team permeates the mind. No matter the day or time there is always a good game (of some sort or the other) to watch on TV.

However, not all of us have the luxury of sitting in front of the television watching ESPN all day long. Thank goodness for amazing sports apps, which allow those of us who have to be away from the tube to watch sports online.

There are numerous sports apps available to iPhone and Android users alike that make it so you never have to miss that big game.
For the purpose of this post, the apps we are sharing will give iPhone users the privilege of keeping up with the latest sports news, scores, predictions, statistics and so much more. If you are a sports fanatic, here are five live streaming apps you should be taking advantage of.

App #1: 365 Scores

Regardless of your sports of preference, 365 Scores has you covered. Football, tennis, rugby, baseball, volleyballs, hockey, basketball, soccer, you name it –- you will find it on 365 Scores app. Use this app to customise your own personalised sports homepage (or rather channel) that will allow you to stay up to date with the latest on all of your favourite sports teams.

The app will provide you with updates, scores, news, etc. as soon as five minutes after they happen. The app will negate the need to search around for relevant information as it pertains to your favourite teams. Additionally, the app offers a sports TV guide feature so you will always know when and where to find your favourite game!

The app has great features including:
A live TV guide coverage feature
Detailed info on nine of the most popular sports standings, worldwide
Ability to view highlights as soon as five minutes after they happen
Ability to personalise to suit individual preferences
Up to date postings of stats and scores

App #2: YipTV

Here you will gain access to a global network of desirable sports online streaming like bein sports, of which will be available to you in a variety of languages. Stay informed with what is going on in world sports anytime, anywhere.

If you are a sports fanatic keeping up to date with the latest on your teams is obviously imperative. The apps mentioned are the best for live sports streaming. They offer you free access to live breaking news, sports injury reports, fantasy picks, score updates, live TV streaming and so much more. Never miss your favourite team play or a huge world game again. Download one of these live streaming sports TV apps and you will be set no matter where you go.

App #3: Sports Stream HD

The Sports Stream HD app is a great way to watch sports online live. Never miss a live world sports event again with this app. With this free app, that does not require the install of another app, you can keep up to date with a wide array of sports including:
Live football
Live volleyball
Live tennis
Live baseball
Live darts
Live basketball
Live soccer
Live rugby
Live ice hockey
Live boxing
Live handball and so much more!

App #4: WatchESPN

WatchESPN has the best compilation of sports news, updates, fantasy picks, live TV streaming and much more. The app is free and offers customisable options to suit each sport fanatic’s preferences. Log on and select favourite teams to avoid sifting through undesirable content.

From then on receive updates about your favourite teams. This eliminates the need to spend useless hours searching for news pieces, scores, fantasy picks, etc. regarding your teams. Clips from Sports Center, breaking news posts, tweets and access to endless sports blogs. You name it and you can find it on WatchESPN.

App #5: Livestream

Livestream offers users the ability to enjoy an array of sports features, right from their mobile devices via a convenient and specialised app. The app offers features that allow sports fanatics to enjoy live sports coverage, conferences, news, music and other live streaming sports events from their phone. This app offers a string of awesome features that makes it perfect for any die-hard sports fan.

Here are just a few:
Worldwide coverage of popular sporting events
Ability to personalise pages so you receive notifications that you are interested in
Follow your favourite sports teams ad your friend’s
Post live videos for friends to see
Did we forget one? If you know of any other excellent apps for streaming that other sports fans should know about, then please share. We would love to hear from you!

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, please send us an email at elaine[at]e27[dot]co.

Posted January 25, 2016

Canadian sports networks eagerly embrace 4K TV: Mudhar

4K has four times the resolution of a standard HD set. The sets have been around for years, but they have been expensive and there has been very little content.

By: Raju Mudhar Tech Reporte

The sports media battle between TSN and Sportsnet moved onto the 4K TV front this week, as both produced their first broadcasts in what they hope is the next standard in television screens.

A standard that may convince sports fans to cough up and upgrade their television sets.

TSN produced North America’s first 4K broadcast with Wednesday night’s Toronto Raptors-Boston Celtics tilt. And Sportsnet produced the first NHL broadcast with Saturday night’s Maple Leafs-Canadien’s Hockey Night in Canada showdown.

In a bit of gamesmanship, Rogers also picked up the UK’s BT Sports broadcast of the Raptors-Orlando Magic from England last week, basically for bragging rights.

“Well, we wanted to be first,” said Rick Brace, president of Rogers Media, when asked about the unexpected move to air that game in the new standard.
Currently, there are only a few hundred viewers who have the new cable boxes necessary to watch the 4K broadcasts.

If you believe the dueling sports networks, the era of 4K TV is upon us. Live 4K events basically didn’t exist last year, so it is impressive TSN has 20 more Raptors and NHL games in the next four months with more to come; Sportsnet plans to do 20 NHL games and all 81 Blue Jay home games this coming season. The truth is, both media companies are very early to the technology, following only the U.K.’s BT in jumping fully on the 4K bandwagon. (No American network is doing anything close yet.)

4K has four times the resolution of a standard HD set. The sets have been around for years, but they have been expensive and there has been very little content. But the thing to remember is that despite the impressive sounding numbers, the jump in picture quality from HD to 4K is nowhere near the same as the eye-popping leap from SD to HD. There’s also still much to be worked out and, even with these announcements, there really isn’t much content.
For example, Roger’s 4K channel doesn’t even have enough programming to fill the day. Other than the live sporting events, the rest of the time it is a promotional loop, most showing clips of nature shows. I know this to be true, because earlier this week I borrowed a 65-inch Samsung 4K UHD TV and got Rogers to send over its new 4K set top box to watch the games.

TSN’s Raptors game had the announcers positively giddy about entering the 4K era. If I was playing a drinking game and took a shot every time they mentioned 4K, I would have passed out by the end of the first quarter.

“Toronto, you look good in 4K,” purred Rod Black off the top. What followed was an explosion of bad 4K jokes from the broadcast team of Black, Leo Rautins, Matt Devlin and Jack Armstrong.

“This broadcast is dedicated to all the 4K television salesmen out there,” Black said later.

Hockey Night in Canada fared a little better by going more low-key, focusing on the Original Six matchup. George Stroumboulopoulos and Scott Oake joked they were too ugly for the next level HD, and the former did a quick run through the history of HNIC’s broadcast innovations.

As for the actual viewing experience, it is a sharper image, perhaps about 25 per cent sharper than HD. It is more noticeable on larger TVs, but for the longer tracking shots that show most of the game action, it really doesn’t add very much. It is much better with tight, close-up spots, like those that focus on faces.

Speaking honestly, the most impressive thing I’ve seen on this flashy 4K TV have been super-close-up shots of animals and fish from the nature shows. Those have been the ‘wow’ moments, far more than anything in the sports broadcasts thus far.

Another thing to keep in mind is how much of these game broadcasts are actually shot in 4K. While the main game action is, at this point the pre-game show, replays, highlights and many of the studio elements are all going to be shot in HD and up-converted. So even if you have a 4K TV, the majority of the content you’re going to watch for the foreseeable future will be shot in HD, even making up a lot of 4K broadcasts.

The other issue is that with TVs and technology, it really is a case of constantly moving the goal posts. While 4K sets are becoming cheaper and Ultra HD (UHD) seems to be standardized, the hot new thing is High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging, which basically makes better, brighter colours. This is the new thing companies are wrestling over to come up with a standard. It’s probably coming next year, but there will be some existing 4K TV buyers who will get left out in the cold because they bought too early.

Sportsnet and TSN will be constantly hyping their 4K broadcasts, as it is a big investment and likely the next thing.
It’s likely inevitable your next TV will be a 4K one, but you don’t need to run out and buy one just yet.

Posted January 25, 2016

Collected Wisdom: Brian Davis, Thunder television play-by-play announcer
Jenni Carlson 

Every time Thunder fans turn on the TV to watch a game, they hear Brian Davis' voice.

That freaks him out a bit.

Davis has been the television play-by-play voice of the Thunder since the team's inaugural season in Oklahoma City. While he's well aware that thousands of fans watch and listen, as they will Sunday when the Thunder plays in Brooklyn, he tries not to think about all those ears and eyes, lest he gets spooked. He tries to think instead about telling the story of the game, about sharing something fans might not know, about educating while entertaining.

He tries to have a little fun, too, because that's what he's having.

I'm originally from Baltimore, and I was the short, fat kid, so I never played. But I always loved going to games. My dad would take me and my brother to Orioles games and Colts games and Clippers, which is minor-league hockey.

I always loved the buzz of being at an event.

When I was in high school – Jersey, suburban New York – took a journalism class and I fell in love with it. My high school journalism teacher, Mrs. Farrell, had been a newspaper writer in St. Louis for the old Globe Democrat. She was pretty enterprising, so as a class project, I started a local New Providence sports column for our local weekly paper.

I wanted to write for the New York Times. I wanted to write for one of the great American newspapers. Then I get to campus at Northwestern in the fall of 1973 ... and I thought that the newsroom at the Daily Northwestern was populated by a bunch of wise guys and jokers. Mrs. Farrell had been like this straight-up, just-the-facts-ma'am type of journalism teacher. Cover both sides, and let the reader make the decision.
So, I went to work at the radio station instead.

I wanted to do sports, but everybody else did, too. All the young males especially. So, there was a real crowd, and I've always been a path-of-least-resistance sort of guy, so I went into the newsroom instead. That's how I got into news, and I spent the first 10 years of my career doing news.
I wanted to be the anchor on the hourlies for CBS Radio. That was my goal. I wanted to be the guy at the top of the hour, you heard that, “Dunt dunt duh”, then the guy goes, “CBS.” I wanted to be that guy.

I wound up doing government and politics in Chicago. Bare knuckles and brass knuckles. If you're on that beat in Chicago, you spend a fair amount of time at the federal court because of the amount of corruption. And I loved it. I absolutely loved it.

Did an investigative reporting piece … with a firefighter who turned out, he had been intoxicated on the job. That was a really emotionally wrenching. We were getting ready to go on the air with the story, and I get a call from the firefighter's wife. But in the end ... there was a huge spike in the number of firefighter personnel who went to the employee assistance program. That was the goal. The goal wasn't to just splash it and say, “Hey, this guy was drunk.” The goal was (to fix it).

I was about 35 before I ever called a game. I thought the play-by-play thing, I thought that door was long closed. Then things kept breaking in the right direction.

The first thing I ever did on TV, and the first thing I ever did in sports as far as play-by-play, was the Illinois state high school state swimming and diving championships. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was kind of the way in.

Never having played, I've always had to work a little bit harder to learn the sports that I've covered. That's one of the things that to this day keeps me going because every time I come to the building, there's something else I need to know about or I need to learn about.

I want people who are watching our shows, I want them to turn the TV off a little bit smarter about something, whether it's Xs and Os or storytelling. I want them to be a little bit smarter than when they turned the TV on because that's how I like it.

No matter how tired I am or if I've been sick, which I have been for the past couple of weeks ... it usually happens about the time I need to get dressed to come down to the arena. It's almost like a thrill that I feel. It's like, "Hot dang, I get to go to work."

That's one reason why I like showing up to the building early. I love being in here watching a drill team rehearse, watching Rumble and his guys going through their trampoline acts and stuff like that.

I like being in the building when it wakes up.

I love walking in the door when it's absolutely quiet. Sometimes, I'm the only guy in the bowl. But then over the period of a couple three hours, people show up, things start to happen, and then they open the doors and then the building starts to fill and really come to life. That's a really special feeling. That never gets old.

When I'm on the air, I'm aware that there a lot of eyes and ears on the show. On some level, I'm aware of that, but in the moment, it doesn't even cross my mind.

I never think about it, and when I do, it freaks me out.

I do what I do because I love what I do. I don't do it to be “The Guy.” I don't do it for the public figure part of it. In fact, having spent much of my career in radio, some of the exposure that comes with this job sometimes makes me a little uncomfortable. Like I said, it freaks me out.

Here's the thing — when those things happen, it's not about me. What that tells me is that people are bought into the team, they're bought into that whole experience. This is what I do. I'd like to think it's not who I am.

Jack Brickhouse was the hall of fame announcer. He was known best for the Cubs, but he did the Bears for eons, too. Jack retired from play-by-play, but I was his last producer at WGN Radio when he was still doing a talk show. I was going through a rough time. This was in the early 80s, early to mid-80s. And one day in a quiet moment in the office, I was telling Jack a little bit about what was going on, and I said, "I know you've had some personal adversity, too, so how did you handle it?" He said, "Well, kid" — he always called me kid — “Well, kid, it's like this. I know when I walk into the booth that there a lot of people that are turning their radios and TVs on because they want to get away from the bad stuff in their life. It just won't do for me to carry my problems onto the air with me."

We're in the entertainment business. So, from moment to moment, I'm literally focused on providing the best entertainment we can.

What we do in sports is a small piece of the larger world, and I've never been comfortable pretending that the larger world doesn't exist. So when something happens, like there's a catastrophe, like the tornado in Moore a couple of years ago, I try to find a way to bring that in and refer to that and acknowledge that something big has happened outside this building. There are lines. There's a balance to that. You have to have a certain touch, and I think that's where having worked in news has really helped. I really think there really is a danger in society that we can end up amusing ourselves to death, and I don't want to be part of that machinery.

Most nights when I drive home, I'm wrung out. I leave it all here, pretty much. But when I allow myself to think about it, I still have a hard time getting my mind around the fact that I got here.

My father, when I decided I wanted to go into journalism and I told my dad I wanted to go to J-school, his response was, "Whadaya wanna do that for? You'll never make any money?" But I'm in Chicago, this is probably the mid-90s, and I'm doing afternoon drive. Brent Musburger was still at CBS, and he did this national show called “Sports Night” every day, and there were times when Brent couldn't do the show and they would ask me to fill in. I became kind of his regular fill-in. So, one day I did the show on the network, and my father is driving home from work in New Jersey listening to WCBS in New York, and the show comes on the air and there's his kid. I think that was his, “A-ha!” moment. Since then, I think he's become one of my biggest fans.

One of the coolest experiences I've ever had, during the lockout in 2011, I picked up a season's worth of college football for Westwood One Radio. That was on my bucket list. I always wanted to call a game on network radio.

I got Texas A&M at OU, and my dad and my step-mom were visiting. So, I took my dad down to Norman with me and sat him in chair. Eddie George was my analyst, so Eddie's on one side of the booth, and my dad's in the middle, and I'm on the other side, and we put the headsets on him. At one point, the Sooners are starting to gain some momentum, and that day, my dad was a Sooners' fan, you know? So, even though we were impartial because it was a network show, my dad starts getting fired up and he starts applauding. During a commercial break sometime in the first half, our producer very sheepishly taps me on the shoulder and says, “Hey, Bri, could you ask your dad not to applaud because we're hearin' it coast to coast.”

My mom's been gone for a long time. She died in 1983, and sometimes I wonder what she'd think. Some of this storytelling stuff, I get from her family. Coal miners in West Virginia. Man, those people knew how to tell a story and they loved a well-turned phrase. So, I think about my grandparents, and I wonder what they would think. I

Posted December 15, 2015

It could happen: Some predictions for sports media in ’16
John Durand

f 2015 was the year that digital media companies started dabbling with major sports media rights, 2016 will be the year when they put more financial muscle behind it. The growth plans of companies like Google/YouTube, Apple and Yahoo will involve sports and will give 2016’s rights negotiations a unique flavor.

Here’s how I see the year unfolding from a sports media perspective.

CBS will renew the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” package with another short-term deal.
Prediction: The NFL will do another one-year deal with CBS for Thursday night games.

Popular opinion is that the NFL will cash out with a long-term deal that syncs “Thursday Night Football” with the league’s other TV packages. But several great sources are telling me that the NFL is more comfortable doing another one-year deal with a one-year option for a modest price increase. The main reason: The NFL’s top brass are focused on other big initiatives, like the pending Los Angeles move and concussion issues.
The NFL is happy with CBS, and CBS is happy with the package. CBS and NFL Network will continue to carry eight games each, though they will not be divided into a first-half package (CBS) and a second-half one (NFL Network). The networks will alternate throughout the season. CBS will continue to produce all the games, and NFL Network will continue to simulcast the games that are on CBS.

Google/YouTube will grab a piece of the Thursday night package.
Another reason why the NFL is looking to do a short-term deal with the Thursday night package is to generate more interest from digital media companies. Sources say the league is kicking around the idea of having a digital media company live-stream the Thursday night package on a nonexclusive basis. My bet is that Google/YouTube steps up with a deal to stream these games. Expect a who’s who of Silicon Valley to show interest, as the league cultivates new companies to keep the bidding for its media rights high.

Apple will pick up a multigame NFL package.
The NFL is happy with the performance of the October game from London that Yahoo streamed exclusively this fall. Early in 2016, the league will package all three London games and shop them to digital media companies. Look for Google and Yahoo to show interest. Amazon and Netflix will kick the tires. But Apple will pick up the rights.

ESPN will lose 4 million more subscribers.
Cord cutting and cord shaving is accelerating, and ESPN, again, will feel the brunt of it. The network’s subscriber losses have increased each year since 2012, as distributors’ skinny bundles become more popular. ESPN lost 3.1 million subscribers last year, 2.1 million in 2014 and 1.6 million in 2013, according to Nielsen estimates. Expect the network to drop under 90 million subscribers for the first time since 2005.

ESPN will not launch a direct-to-consumer service.

One of the big selling points of ESPN’s NBA deal was the bundle of over-the-top rights Bristol picked up. Even though its new NBA deal is about to kick in next year, don’t expect ESPN to launch any kind of over-the-top service around it.

Comcast-YES Network fight will go beyond Opening Day.

Comcast and YES will get a deal done, but not in time for the Yankees’ Opening Day. Comcast’s move to drop YES Network illustrates the turbulent times that are ahead for regional sports networks. Like ESPN, RSNs this year will see their subscriber base drop significantly. The high-priced channels will struggle to stay on basic tiers, and every distributor renewal will be a fight.

Fox will do a deal with the Clippers.
 Despite its threats to launch its own service, the Clippers will cut a traditional RSN deal with Fox Sports. The deal, though, will allow the Clippers to pursue second-screen applications around the games, like individualized camera feeds and up-to-the-minute statistics.

NFL ad sales will drop for all TV networks.
Broadcast networks will have a hard time selling the NFL next season, as daily fantasy operators DraftKings and FanDuel slow their ad spending significantly. NFL ratings will remain high, but look for the network ad sales business to drop by a single-digit percentage.

Out-of-market will go a la carte.
NBA’s League Pass already has a $6.99 price tag for viewers who want to watch individual games. Other sports will follow (notably, not the NFL), and OTT systems will play a big role in this.

IMG and CAA will be beneficiaries of the FIFA issues.
International groups like FIFA will need to use third parties to bid out rights professionally to show arm’s-length impartiality, which will be a boon for IMG and CAA, specifically.

ESPN, Fox, NBC will invest in e-sports.
Prediction: E-sports will gain new network fans after Turner’s league succeeds.
Turner’s strategy of starting and televising its own league will turn out to be successful. Look for others to follow. ESPN, Fox and NBC are looking into the space, and one of them will make a splash early in the year. It’s not just the TV networks. Every American arena operator will be looking to e-sports as the newest must-have property.

Ratings bets
The Rio Games will become the most-watched Olympics ever. Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin will give NBC a returning cast of known stars. Rio will provide a great backdrop for the competitive drama. And more live, prime-time events will boost NBC’s ratings. … NBC Sports Network will post its best ratings ever thanks to having both the Olympics and NASCAR in the same year for the first time. … The college playoffs will see a major dip in viewership on New Year’s Eve, which will lead to lower ratings for 2016’s championship game. I still expect both games to eclipse 25 million viewers, which will be high enough that more games will be scheduled for New Year’s Eve. … PGA Tour ratings and golf’s majors will continue to improve with popular young stars like Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy battling it out every week. It’s the first time in years that the golf world will be optimistic about its post-Tiger Woods world.

The NHL will not replace outgoing COO John Collins. … NBC Sports Group will not replace outgoing President Jon Litner. … Fox will make runs at both Michelle Beadle and Skip Bayless. Both will stay at ESPN. … Keith Olbermann will return to MSNBC for the run-up to the election. Media and Sports

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