There is nothing new under the sun…turn, turn, turn

Archive for the category “sports”

This year’s version of the death of cable is kind of like the previous versions

I have been writing about the cable/satellite industry for several years now. This 2010 post in my Empoprise-BI business blog links to some of my earlier posts on the subject. The basic issue is that you have content providers (such as Comcast/NBC) and cable/satellite providers (such as Comcast), and the two factions are constantly at war with each other.

Those who believe that content is king have been saying to themselves, “What if we could eliminate the middleman and get the content directly?” Well, in some cases you’ve been able to do this for several years now. Back in 2010, I quoted from a Mike Johns comment on a Michael Hanscom post:

The coolest part of the Roku is what it means for the future of TV. I have already dropped my cable and pretty much watch all of my shows on Netflix. The other channels on the Roku, even the premium channels, make it worth the money. I spend 9 bucks for netflix, and 6 bucks on the kung-fu, cowoby classics and drive in movies – and that has replaced my $75 cable bill.

Since Mike Johns wrote that comment, Roku and others have provided complete direct access to content, and the cable and satellite providers have all shriveled away.

What? They’re still around? Whoops.

Obviously, cable and satellite providers aren’t going to just wither away when their lifelines are threatened. They need to maximize their profits for their shareholders, and they’ll do anything in their power to ensure that their business model remains viable. Earlier in this post, I alluded to the fact that Comcast, a cable provider, has purchased NBC, a content provider. It’s kinda like when tobacco companies buy food companies (remember RJR Nabisco?) – a company will do whatever it wants to continue to survive.

This hasn’t stopped people from trying to liberate content from the evil cable/satellite providers and allow it to run free. Jesse Stay has shared a Chris Brogan share of this story:

Newly launched website TakeMyMoneyHBO.com wants to send HBO a clear message: We love your shows. We’re willing to pay to watch them upon release. Now please, for the love of Winterfell, give us a way to do that — without forcing a cable subscription down our throats.

The expectation is that HBO will see this website and observe all the tweets – with hashtags! – and will suddenly and immediately tell the cable and satellite companies, “Thanks for all you’ve done for us for the past half century, but based on these powerful hashtags we’re going to go it alone.”

For some reason, I suspect that TakeMyMoneyHBO’s strategy will not be entirely successful. Wendy Cockcroft has noted that HBO benefits from the current system.

When the interviewer presses [HBO’s Eric Kessler] again about a stand-alone option, here’s what he has to say:

“We benefit from the existing ecosystem… from bundled cable TV packages… it’s important to keep that transactional machinery going. It’s about economics.”

Kessler says here that he’s doing better from an economical point of view in the current HBO strategy than he would if he opened up the content safe and let some goodies out into the cloud.

Some people think that piracy will drive content companies to create a new model that reduces piracy, but if content companies are making enough money under the old model, why change?

Now I still believe that it’s entirely possible that the middleman may be eliminated, but rather than cutting the middleman out entirely, perhaps the middlemen may continue to buy content providers just like Comcast did.

However, presently the old model is still very much alive, which means that if I want to see or hear a sporting event, more often than not I have to turn on a TV or a radio. With some rare exceptions, I can’t watch or listen to a sporting event over the Internet. We of the Internet just don’t pay enough money to get the rights.

Hope I die before I become a tourist attraction (Keith Moon and the Olympics)

The hot story floating around this weekend? Olympic organizers have invited Who drummer Keith Moon to play in the Olympics.

The 2012 Olympics.

This could be a problem, according to the Who’s manager Bill Curbishley:

‘I emailed back saying Keith now resides in Golders Green crematorium, having lived up to the Who’s anthemic line ‘I hope I die before I get old’,’ said Curbishley.
‘If they have a around table, some glasses and candles, we might contact him.’

But Julian Shea’s Metro article that discusses the Moon invitation contains a picture that is even more shocking in its own way. The picture is of a historical plaque dedicated to Moon.

Yes, a historical plaque. It reads as follows:

City of Westminster

Keith Moon

Legendary Rock Drummer
With “The Who”

Performed Here At
The Site of The
Marquee Club
In the 1960s

The Heritage Foundation

However, it’s significant to note that the plaque was actually spearheaded by the City of Westminster rather than by English Heritage, who normally does such things. (The Heritage Foundation, not to be confused with the U.S. think tank, is a separate organization from English Heritage.)

English Heritage’s reason for declining to honor Moon? While Moon had been dead for 20 years (the requisite time before a plaque can be bestowed), there was a little issue:

“Moon died aged only 32, and many of his contemporaries, including other members of The Who such as Pete Townshend, are still living. Further time should be allowed to pass so he can be considered alongside his contemporaries.”

Of course, there would be no problem if Townshend and Daltrey had died before they got old. Then everyone could be honored.

Go west, young sportsman

It took over a century for the western United States to be politically incorporated into the country. Initially a set of territories, portions of the West eventually achieved statehood, with the last two states in the continental western United States joining the country in 1912.

Integration of the region into the country’s sports landscape took a little longer.

Over thirty years after Arizona and New Mexico joined the union – and nearly a century after California joined – the so-called National Football League had no team west of Chicago, Illinois. As of 1945, the Rams were still in Cleveland, and even the Cardinals were still in Chicago. But the NFL moved with lightning speed compared to the other major sports.

Twelve years later, in 1957, the NFL had teams in Los Angeles and San Francisco. But in major league baseball, the Dodgers and Giants were still New York teams. But baseball was beginning to penetrate the West and the South – the Athletics had moved to Kansas City, and the Braves had moved to Milwaukee. The southern team in Major League Baseball was the Washington Senators. Of course, this would change over the coming years, as the Dodgers and Giants moved to California, the Athletics to Oakland, and the Braves to Atlanta.

A couple of years later, the 1969-60 National Basketball Association was miniscule compared to the NBA of today. The entire league consisted of eight teams, divided into Western and Eastern Divisions. Of the four Western Division teams, only the Detroit Pistons (now in the Eastern Division) have remained at their original location. The Minneapolis Lakers relocated to Los Angeles, the St. Louis Hawks to Atlanta (again penetrating the South), and the Cincinnati Royals underwent a slight name change – they are now the Sacramento Kings. (This week.)

Of the four traditional major sports leagues, it took hockey the longest to establish a western presence. As of 1966-67, this multinational league did not have a team west of Chicago. Of course, the National Hockey League only had six teams at the time. It wasn’t until the league doubled its size in the following year that you could see hockey out west.

It’s hard to conceive of a time in which there was no major league baseball, football, basketball, or hockey in my home state of California. But then again, Los Angeles has not had a football team since the mid-1990s. Now try to imagine Los Angeles without Angels, Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, Kings, or Ducks, and you’ll have an idea what the city’s sports landscape was like in the 1940s.

We didn’t have Sundaymania, did we?

Continuing on the sports theme, I want to talk about a popular sports figure. Not popular because of his sports prowess – frankly, he’s not that good – but because of other characteristics related to his religious beliefs. This part-time baseball player –

What? Did you think I was talking about a football player?

I was talking about baseball player turned evangelist Billy Sunday. Some excerpts from his Wikipedia article, which references several sources including Wendy Knickerbocker’s Sunday at the Ballpark: Billy Sunday’s Professional Baseball Career 1883-1890.

Sunday struck out four times in his first game, and there were seven more strikeouts and three more games before he got a hit. During his first four seasons with Chicago, he was a part-time player, taking Mike “King” Kelly’s place in right field when Kelly served as catcher.

Sunday’s speed was his greatest asset, and he displayed it on the basepaths and in the outfield. In 1885, the White Stockings arranged a race between Sunday and Arlie Latham, the fastest runner in the American Association. Sunday won the hundred-yard dash by about ten feet.

Sunday’s personality, demeanor, and athleticism made him popular with the fans, as well as with his teammates. Manager Cap Anson considered Sunday reliable enough to make him the team’s business manager, which included such duties as handling the ticket receipts and paying the team’s travel expenses.

While the parallels are uncanny, there is one important difference between Billy Sunday and Tim Tebow. Tebow became a Christian long before he ever got to the NFL. Sunday became a Christian midway through his baseball career.

No, Mark Sanchez does not have to worry about Peyton Manning (but who saw Tebowmania coming?)

I like to look at old predictions that went horribly awry – not to make fun of the person who made the prediction, but to analyze WHY the prediction went awry.

Today I want to look at a prediction that was entirely accurate – but still went horribly awry.

The following news item appeared in the Huffington Post (and other sources) on March 10.

After New York “looked into” pursuing Manning, Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum announced Friday night that the team extended Sanchez’s contract by three years.

The statement above is entirely true. But the article continued:

The move ended speculation the Jets could push him aside to make way for the former Indianapolis Colts star who’s now a free agent.

“I’m going to be the starting quarterback for the next few years here, and that’s exciting,” Sanchez said on a conference call. “It gives the team just a reminder that I’m the leader of this team.”

Yep, Sanchez is still the main man for Rex Ryan’s Jets, not Manning.

“To find out that I could come back for three more years means the world to me,” Sanchez said. “I’m absolutely pleased to be a Jet.”

However, there are infinite possibilities in the world, and the contract extension for Mark Sanchez did NOT mean that his job was secure.

As many of you know, less than two weeks after that contract extension was given to Sanchez, Peyton Manning did find a team – the Denver Broncos. However, the Broncos already had a quarterback, Tim Tebow. Perhaps you’ve heard people talking about Tebow. And the next thing you know, Tebow found a new team – the New York Jets.

It just goes to show that you can’t take anything for granted, and something that seemed to be a sure thing just two weeks ago is suddenly less so.

At least he didn’t say “Get off my lawn” (technology of the aged)

I still have to write the follow-up to the Empoprise-BI business blog Jitterbug post from 2010, and the February 21 tymshft post that mentioned the Jitterbug in passing.

But while looking for material for a Jitterbug post, I ran across this rant from Vancouver’s “Steve in the KT” about the various types of people who call sports talk radio. One of Steve’s pet peeves is the caller who complains that sports aren’t what they used to be.

And Steve ends up complaining…about the technology used by such callers. Here’s the relevant section of the rant:

Halcyon Days of Yore Guy – You like to call in on your Jitterbug or corded phone to let us all know how sports were when you were a kid.

Phone attached to the wall? Ouch.

“These guys don’t know how good they got it. In my day, the players were always dying of the consumption and the Kaiser was constantly drafting us into service.” You scoff at things like visors and kevlar neck guards. When you watched hockey, sometimes a Bengal tiger would get loose on the ice and kill 3 or four of the players. You’re obviously, confused, alone, possibly under the impression you were calling a Bea Arthur sex line. Either way, your grandkids need reminding of how you fought for their right to get lower back tattoos.

More here.

And as for me, I need to check out a page with a Bea Arthur picture.

Post Navigation