Media Tech Uncategorized

Is Sports 120 the future of sports news?

Time Inc. may have started the next generation of sports networks. Will it survive the competition from ESPN and Yahoo-NBC Sports?

Source: Chicago Business Journal
Source: Chicago Business Journal

Sports 120 is an online live-streaming network backed by Time Inc. that gives users access to unique video content from NASCAR, NHL, NBA, MLB and the PGA Tour. Sports 120 is designed specifically for mobile devices, which is a completely new take on sports broadcasting. They allow people to watch 120 seconds clips (hence the name) that make up eight hours of daily programming. It allows the user to watch live programs, play catch-up or see what is trending. All the content is updated in real time and alerts can be set for favorite players or teams. 

Users will not have to worry about running out of things to watch between Sports 120 original content as well as what it uses from other sources such as Sports Illustrated. There is already a distinct group of hosts ranging from two-time Super Bowl winner Bryant McFadden to NBA All-Star Antoine Walker. Live content will initially air from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday – Saturday, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays, and beginning in mid-July morning shows will air from 7 a.m. 9 a.m. Fan’s will not have to worry about out missing a show because it will all be achieved and the software, created and powered by Major League Baseball Advanced Media, is so advanced it will learn your preferences the more you use it.

Initial sponsors include Nissan, Geico, Transamerica and Verizon. Ad spots will appear on top of the page below the logo, as their own panels next to videos, as well as below the media player. According to Sports 120 co-Founder Jason Coyle, advertisers will get to sponsor reoccurring segments in the future. One critical sponsor missing from Sports 120 is the NFL, which is planning on starting its own 24-hour digital network in August called NFL Now. This means that Sports 120 will not be able to broadcast any highlights from football games or view live games, but it can cover news about the games.

Even without the NFL, Sports 120 sets up Time Inc. to take advantage of growing online advertising as well as the U.S.’ $68 billion television ad market. As Coyle stated, “We have the opportunity to really push this beyond. It has to plug into the soul of digital and move at the speed of Twitter.”

Sports 120 will face stiff competition from ESPN and Yahoo-NBC Sports, which attracted 68 million and 56.3 million unique viewers in May. However, both of these groups platforms and content do not focus purely on mobile devices, which are quickly stealing viewers from computers and television. Jim DeLorenz, vice president and general manager for Sports Illustrated Digital, has witnessed one quarter of Sport Illustrated audiences shift from computers to smartphones and tablets. Sports 120 has seen the future and it will be accessed through mobile devices. Its app is already available on the Apple App Store and will be Google Play on July 14th.

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