NFL and MLB: If Aereo Not Challenged, Sports May Go to Cable

The National Football League and Major League Baseball are trying to convince the Supreme Court to grant broadcasters’ petition to challenge Aereo, a startup that enables unauthorized streaming of local broadcast signals. The NFL and MLB filed an amicus brief that suggests that if Aereo is not challenged, sports programming will likely switch over to cable. Broadcasters assert that Aereo undermines their ability to collect retransmission fees. Continue reading NFL and MLB: If Aereo Not Challenged, Sports May Go to Cable

Apple and MLB Team Up for Interactive Ballpark Experience

Major League Baseball is launching a new initiative involving customized features for its At the Ballpark app that will make attending games a more interactive experience for sports fans. The app will use Apple’s iBeacon indoor mapping, a new feature of the company’s recently released iOS 7, for a customized stadium experience. Apple’s mapping tool addresses the limitations of using GPS indoors. MLB and Apple have been working on the project since February. Continue reading Apple and MLB Team Up for Interactive Ballpark Experience

Fox Takes On ESPN Saturday with Launch of Sports Channels

Tomorrow morning, the Speed and Fuel networks will be transformed into the much-hyped Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 channels, in a move intended to compete with ESPN. Fox has landed deals with college conferences Pac-12 and Big 12 football and basketball, Big East basketball, NASCAR, the UFC, Major League Baseball, World Cup soccer and, most recently, the U.S. Open golf championship. The TV everywhere companion app Fox Sports Go will not launch concurrently, as it continues its testing phase. Continue reading Fox Takes On ESPN Saturday with Launch of Sports Channels

Verizon to Stream Sunday Afternoon NFL Games to Phones

Verizon Wireless will pay the National Football League a reported $1 billion over four years for the rights to make additional football games available on its customers’ smartphones. In a significant move for the mobile industry, the NFL will begin to show Sunday afternoon games on Verizon Wireless phones next year. Select Sunday, Monday and Thursday night games are already available on Verizon phones, but there are typically 10-12 games scheduled on a Sunday afternoon. Continue reading Verizon to Stream Sunday Afternoon NFL Games to Phones

TBS and TNT to Offer Live Streaming and New Mobile Apps

In the wake of ABC’s announcement that it would upgrade its app to live-stream local programming in the New York and Philadelphia areas, TBS and TNT plan to offer live 24/7 streaming of their series and sports coverage beginning this summer. The streams will be available via the channels’ websites and soon-to-launch mobile apps called Watch TNT and Watch TBS. The apps will initially be offered for iOS devices, with support for other platforms expected by the end of the year. Continue reading TBS and TNT to Offer Live Streaming and New Mobile Apps

MLB Hits a Home Run with Mobile App on Opening Day

While fans celebrated opening day, marking the start of another baseball season, MLB executives were having a celebration of their own as the official Major League Baseball app “At Bat” was accessed 6 million times on opening day alone. This number is more than twice the amount of users that accessed the same app on opening day last year, and significantly higher than other apps that the league has launched for baseball fans. Continue reading MLB Hits a Home Run with Mobile App on Opening Day

FOX Sports 1 to Launch in August: All-Sports Cable Network

Media magnate Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., has plans to take on ESPN with a new national cable sports network. FOX Sports 1 is expected to launch in August in the United States, with plans to broadcast football, motor sports, baseball and much more. Murdoch hopes that the all-sports network will be as successful in the U.S. as Sky Sports has proven in the United Kingdom. Continue reading FOX Sports 1 to Launch in August: All-Sports Cable Network

CES 2013: T-Mobile Swings for the Fences with 4G Deal

T-Mobile USA, Inc. has entered into a deal to become the “Official Wireless Sponsor” of Major League Baseball (MLB). The multi-year, multimillion-dollar partnership will see T-Mobile working with MLB and its digital subsidiary MLB Advanced Media L.P. (MLBAM) to create value-added capabilities that will enhance presentation of the games and appeal to MLB fans. Continue reading CES 2013: T-Mobile Swings for the Fences with 4G Deal

A La Carte: Will the Future Apple TV Disrupt the Current Live TV Paradigm?

  • Forbes speculates that the rumored future Apple TV would create a demand for single channels, which could potentially break up the cable pricing monopoly.
  • Rather than paying for a package of a hundred channels, users would pay a la carte for content just as single-channel apps have become popular in the mobile sphere.
  • “Presumably, Apple wants to disrupt this market the same way the iPod and iTunes made it easier for consumers to buy music, and the way the iPhone is slowly moving the cellular industry to data plans over voice plans (see: iMessage, Facetime),” suggests the article.
  • Providers such as Time Warner Cable, Optimum and DirecTV already have apps for live streaming of channels. And ESPN, CNN and Major League Baseball have their own apps.
  • “[Cable providers] might consent to separate channel apps as long as each still requires an overall subscription…that would certainly put a crimp in [Apple’s] potential plans to revolutionize television,” explains Forbes. “And if Apple provides incentives for channels to go it alone, the fight could be massive.”

MLB and Row 44 will Stream Live Games on Flights

  • In-flight entertainment provider Row 44 Inc. has announced a deal with MLB Advanced Media to provide live streams of more than 2,400 baseball games on Wi-Fi enabled devices on airlines.
  • The service will initially be made available to passengers on Southwest and Norwegian Air Shuttle flights.
  • “Southwest is currently in the process of wiring its entire fleet with Row 44’s in-flight broadband system,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “The carrier is offering the service for a introductory rate of $5.”
  • “The integration of live baseball games into Row 44’s in-flight broadband entertainment experience ensures our traveling fans won’t have to miss a pitch,” says Bob Bowman, chief executive of Major League Baseball Advanced Media.

Apple TV Offers Live MLB and NBA Games

Baseball and basketball fans can now turn to the second-generation Apple TV for live and on-demand archived games streaming in HD.  The subscription service will cost $100/year for MLB.tv (spring training and regular season games and access to archived games).  A $120 premium version provides access to both home and away games.  Basketball games are accessible via the NBA League Pass Broadband service. The NBA service offers two options: a $65 version lets users follow up to seven teams throughout the regular season, while a $99 option provides games from all 30 teams.

Both services have blackouts based on the subscription’s registration address.

Access to the new services is enabled by the iOS for Apple TV 4.2 update, and will work similarly to Netflix. Users sign in via an account and password, and then access whatever content the subscription permits. Roku has offered similar MLB.tv access for some time and recently added NHL and UFC options. This could be what sports fans need to ditch traditional cable services.

In a related Wall Street Journal “All Things Digital” article (3/14/11), ESPN reports that only a tiny fraction of sports fans have cut the cable cord, a number that may be moot considering the equal number of fans who added cable and broadband access during the same period.

 

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