Could Twitter + Mobile Phones Kill ESPN?

August 18, 2011

Editor’s note: Here is a sneak preview of the new site we have been working on here at Sidecut Labs, something we call Mobile Sports Report. It is a work in progress but one whose time has come… stay tuned!

Seeing the news today about ESPN teaming up with Foursquare to provide a platform for fans at events is evidence that The Mother Ship of sports is doing all it can to keep astride of the latest trends. But as our purposely provacative headline asks, is there a new “broadcast” paradigm emerging that could allow Twitter and fans on mobile phones to become the dominant method of disseminating sports news, opinions and information?

Before you dismiss the idea as crazy, remember that when ESPN debuted in 1979 it was seen as a place where you could watch Australian Rules football and exercise videos. Nobody at the time was guessing that ESPN would eventually replace the major networks or newspapers atop the sports-media scene, but some 30-plus years later that has come to pass.

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The Cubs are Getting WiMAX! The Cubs are Getting WiMAX!

September 14, 2009

Really? Well, sometime soon, most likely. Maybe this week. Maybe next. Sooner than they are getting World Series rings, at any length.

If you are wondering why I think the lads in blue will soon have access to a high-speed wireless broadband alternative, I point you to the Clearwire service ordering page — where, unlike other “soft” market launches earlier this year, Chicago does NOT yet show up under the list of places where Clear service is available.

But… if you type in some valid Chicago addresses like the one below, the Clear ordering page does a funny thing — it autocompletes the address, turns it into all caps and adds the correct zip code. If you have used an online addressing system before (this looks and feels a lot like UPS’s, something I learned from my other job) you know this works by checking your entry against a valid address… and why have valid addresses in Chicago if you’re not planning on doing something with them?

And yeah, fans of the Blues Brothers know what the address is… that’s right, the address Elwood put down for his license renewal. Will any other WiMAX fans be in the house of ivy this week? See you there…

Some Geeky Super Bowl Questions

February 3, 2008

Completely off topic, but on Super Bowl Sunday I think it is appropriate to ask why the cash-rich entity known as the National Football League still operates with medevial technologies, especially in places where a little silicon could go a long way.

Sure, the TV audience has it great, with the on-screen first down line being perhaps the world’s best marriage of technology and television. There’s also Instant Replay, which you could argue has made the game better or worse. Either way, it’s fun to watch. But with all its gazillions in TV income, I wonder why the NFL still does troglodyte things like using steel chains to measure first downs, just one of several luddite-like practices I’ve thought about while watching games this season. Couldn’t some combination of GPS and embeddable chips, or a sophisticated heat beam (known as a “laser“) do a better job of placing the ball? Or should thousands of dollars in wagers continue to rely upon the actions of a bunch of guys who you wouldn’t trust to level a picture in your house? Just askin’.

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