Tech could soon take over all of the sports you watch – Ben Shields

MIT Sloan Lecturer Ben Shields

From Fortune

The sports industry is engaged in a grand digital experiment with technology platforms. The latest test was announced last week, when the National Football League (NFL) sold its 10-game Thursday Night Football digital package to Amazon. As when Twitter held it last year, the games will be simulcast on network (CBS or NBC) and cable (NFL Network) television. However, unlike the free access Twitter offered, only Amazon Prime members will be able to watch Thursday night games this year. Given Prime’s non-exclusivity and pay wall, if Thursday Night Football on Amazon leads to increases in year-over-year viewership and contributes to the growth of Prime subscribers, the NFL and Amazon executives could call it a win.

As encouraging as that result would be, this experiment is really about the early 2020s, which is when the NFL will be making major decisions about distributors for its most valuable rights packages. How can tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, Netflix, and Twitter become big rights winners at that point? And what can traditional broadcasters do now to avoid being left behind? This long-term sports rights game will be won through reach and revenue.

When sports leagues sell their live distribution rights, they want to maximize both reach and revenue. If technology companies can help leagues achieve these goals more effectively than their existing television partners, the sports media landscape will look dramatically different a decade from now.

Tech firms must prove their reach

There’s never been any doubt as to whether technology companies have the resources to invest in sports rights. The question has been whether such moves made long-term strategic sense for both parties. As technology platforms launch and grow competitive video businesses, they are beginning to put to rest concerns about their suitability as distribution partners, as they now have clear incentives to make rights deals successful over the long term.

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Why Bill Belichick cast down his tablet – John Carrier

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer John Carrier

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer John Carrier

From The Conversation

As the New England Patriots’ 10th appearance in a Super Bowl approaches, sports fans are eager to see the legendary pairing of quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick take on the Atlanta Falcons. Whatever the Patriots accomplish, though, won’t be thanks to all that fancy new technology assisting the Falcons and other NFL teams.

Since early October, Belichick has been limiting his use of his NFL-issued Microsoft Surface tablet and its related technological systems. On Oct. 2, Belichick was caught on national television tossing his tablet in frustration. The move came after his defense failed to prevent a Buffalo Bills touchdown pass. But what really sparked his ire was something much more common.

Who among us hasn’t, at some point, been so frustrated with a computer or other piece of technology that we contemplated throwing it out a window? The real driver in these situations, though, is far more complex than we might expect: A cascade of system failures comes to a head in a crucial moment.

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Ben Shields — Thoughts on Patriots’ Deflategate

MIT Sloan Lecturer Ben Shields, the former director of social media and marketing at ESPN and co-author of The Sports Strategist, talks about deflate-gate, the investigation into whether the New England Patriots used deflated footballs in the Jan. 18 AFC championship game. Shields explains why the Patriots are prone to negative press and social media backlash and what the organization should do as a result.

MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference: If you build it, they will come

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDXSoRLj8PY&w=560&h=315]

In 2007, Daryl Morey, MIT Sloan MBA ’00, and Jessica Gelman of The Kraft Sports Group had a vision to build a forum for innovation in sports. Just five years later, the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference developed into that and more. With more than 2,200 participants, the conference grew by 50% from 2011 and featured some of the biggest names in the industry, including Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, Brian Burke, Toronto Maple Leafs President and GM, Mark Cuban, owner of the world-champion Dallas Mavericks, and Bill James, the founder of the sports analytics movement. It even included Drew Carey, owner of the MLS Seattle Sounders and Price is Right host. Read More »