Korrio’s work on sports and head injuries is a good step

One of the companies in our portfolio, “Korrio”:https://korrio.com/, is bringing out tools to allow “parents to monitor the brain health of their child athletes”:http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2012/01/startup-korrios-focus-on-head-injuries.html. This is a great step, I wish this had been around when we had young student athletes in the family. You don’t have to dig around very much to see the frightful effects of head impacts in sports, and anything that raises awareness of the issue and provides tools to manage is a very good thing. There is a lot more to do, I’d love to see impact monitors in helmets that track instantaneous and cumulative impact forces, but this is a great first step, awesome to see this work happening.

Every piece of sporting equipment will be instrumented soon

“Rich writes about his biking obsession”:http://www.tongfamily.com/archives/2012/01/bike-bike-bike/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bike-bike-bike, I had no idea that you could get power-sensing pedals those days. Guys at Cornell are putting “accelerometers in golf clubs”:http://arxiv.org/abs/1001.0956. Many many groups have put accelerometers in football helmets to study concussions. The NFL is “discussing sensors in balls”:http://scientificathlete.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/sensors-built-into-footballs-could-render-instant-replay-obsolete/.

Given the continued reductions in cost, size, and power needs of sensors, you have to believe that every piece of sporting equipment will be instrumented in the near future. Balls will report their speeds and acceleration, clubs and rackets will report forces applied and where the ball hit, helmets will report impact data and alert coaches as to when players should be pulled off the field. The NFL will know exactly and definitively when a touchdown is scored, when a first down is achieved. Pro sports will use this technology to protect players, to drive even more stats and on-screen graphics and in-stadium pageantry. Recreational equipment providers will use this to sell more gear and better instruction — enthusiasts will buy anything that will improve their game. Youth sports will use this to protect players — parents will spend on child safety.

Where are the great sports apps?

I am a huge sports enthusiast. I love the Buckeyes (despite all their current woes!). I follow with interest the Seahawks, the Browns, USC, UW, the Big Ten, the Pac Ten, the SEC. I watch excessive amounts of college football, college basketball, pro football, and pro basketball. And of course I get sucked into Olympics, the Stanley Cup, World Cup, or pretty much any other major sports event. Except baseball, which is incredibly boring.

I spend waaay too much money on sports. It is embarrassing to add it up.

* Season tickets to OSU football games, parking pass, and all the travel and other costs associated with attending OSU games — thank goodness my folks and sister usually cover the tailgate, thanks!
* Occasional bowl tickets and bowl trips. The 2002 National Championship win against Miami was the greatest trip ever.
* Other sporting event tickets a couple times a year. Latest: Rat City Roller Derby here in Seattle. Highly entertaining.
* A stupid amount on cable/satellite service. Because despite all the promise of IPTV and sites like Hulu, if you want to watch live HD sports, you pretty much need to pay for cable or satellite. And not just the basic package either, but the packages that pick up all the ESPN channels, the Big Ten network, and the Fox Sports channels. And given all the recent NCAA football TV deals, I am sure my costs will just go up here.
* And of course I buy magazines, t shirts, jerseys, “giant foam fingers”:http://www.overstock.com/Sports-Toys/Ohio-State-Buckeyes-1-Fan-Foam-Finger/5967412/product.html, “Fatheads”:http://www.fathead.com/, and all other kinds of fan gear.

My daily web reading includes all the online sports media. The major branded sites of course, but also all the blogs covering college football, and there are some great ones — “EDSBS”:http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/, “Dr. Saturday”:http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/blog/dr_saturday, “Smart Football”:http://smartfootball.com/, and oh so many more. And the beat writers for local media covering the teams I care about — the “Dispatch”:http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/buckeyextra/dispatch-stories/osufootball.html, the “Plain Dealer”:http://www.cleveland.com/osu/, the “Seattle Times”:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sports/, the “Orange-County Register”:http://www.ocregister.com/sections/sports/usc/, the “LA Times”:http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/, etc. I hit the web sites, consume the RSS feeds, subscribe to the tweet streams.

NCAA basketball pools? Bowl Pickem contests? Regular season pickem challenges? Of course, though I have never really gotten into fantasy football, thank goodness, because I would probably love it and burn way too much time playing it.

I’m not alone in my obsession or my spending. Thank goodness sports mania is more socially acceptable than other bad habits, the amount of time and money spent on sports each year is mindboggling. College football as a business took in $3.2B in revenue last year, making $1.1B in profit (“PDF”:http://www.sbrnet.com/pdf/college-football-financial-stats-by-division.pdf). There are games on nearly every day of the week now, and possibly spinning into Sunday in a big way if the NFL labor problems continue. And TV coverage is growing apace, with all the major conferences following the Big-10’s lead and spinning up dedicated networks. 50 million fans attended games last year, a “record”:http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_college/2011/02/record-setting-year-for-college-football-attendance.html — only stadium capacity limits prevents this from being even larger.

The NFL is an even larger beast in revenues — $9B in revenue (“PDF”:www.thebostoncompany.com/core/…/May11_Views_Insights_NFL.pdf). Not as many people attend the games as at the college level, but the media rights, merchandising rights, etc. are worth far more.

Expenditures don’t stop at watching games — fans will obviously buy anything having do to with their teams. I consider my collection of jackets and hats to be fairly modest. I haven’t begun to tap into the richness of the market. The range of products and services available is stunning, for example:

* “Grill grates”:http://www.ohiostatealumni.org/shop/marketplace/Pages/OhioStateGrillGrates.aspx.
* “Longaberger baskets”:http://www.ohiostatealumni.org/shop/marketplace/Pages/LongabergerTallTissueBasket.aspx. These first two make some sense given the tailgating scene
* “Pottery”:http://www.ohiostatealumni.org/shop/marketplace/Pages/OhioStatePottery.aspx.
* “Furniture”:http://www.collegechair.com/. Starting to get a little far afield
* “Credit cards”:http://alumni.usc.edu/benefits/bankofamerica.html.
* “Travel”:http://www.texasexes.org/travel/find_trip.asp. Not just physical goods!
* “Toys”:http://www.buckeyeshoppingdeals.com/fan/ohio-state-buckeyes-mr-potato-head
* “Wine”:http://www.personalwine.com/catalog/site_affiliate_index_label.php?name=texas
* “Fishing reels”:http://ardentreels.com/products/viewProduct2.asp?prodId=92.
* “Fashion Apparel”:http://www.meeshandmia.com/UniversityofNebraskaAll.html. For some definition of “fashion”
* “Perfume.”:https://masik.com/index.php/university-of-florida. What does a Florida Gator smell like? Or aspire to smell like? and how is that different than the fragrance aspirations of an LSU Tiger
* “Galvanized Buckets”:http://www.amazon.com/NCAA-Oklahoma-Sooners-5-Quart-Galvanized/dp/B003M9YPRU

My smartphone/tablet doesn’t really deliver much to me. Given all this enthusiasm, it is suprising to me that the iPhone (and other smartphone) and iPad experience for sports is so tepid, so undeveloped — no one has figured out how to extract money from me on my mobile device. My #1 app for following sports on the go is Twitter. I download a bunch of free score apps (ESPN and Yahoo Sportacular are both reasonable) which are fine, but I don’t pay a dime for any app or service. Given the willingness of people like me to pay for damn near anything, this is surprising. There are a bunch of sports checkin apps, but they don’t provide any real value — no better game info, no scores, no video, and honestly the enthusiasts just aren’t on these services.

What’s missing?

* Video. Realtime, clips. This is the biggest glaring problem. Particularly on football Saturdays. I want to see highlights of my team, highlights of other games, full videos of other games, plays of the day, video summaries of action in other conferences. During the week, video highlights of the upcoming opponent, clips from last year’s game, etc. And I want it on demand. I can get some of this flipping around channels on the TV but I can’t get it on my device. I’d pay for it but no one is offering.
* Opponent information. The tweet stream is good but I’d love more. What are all the opponent blogs says. What are the opponent mainstream press sites saying. Latest updates on injuries. Some curation/editorial would be good here. In the week we play Nebraska, where do I go to read all the pregame Nebraska material — blogs, newspapers, analysis, forums, etc? Where do i load up on Nebraska Hate gear? Where do I find Nebraska jokes?
* On site experience. There are some real challenges to deal with with respect to on-site, game day services. The load of 150K people all trying to use their phones around Ohio Stadium is crushing. If I was a carrier I’d offer a peak location package, truck in some antennas (cell and wifi), and charge more for peak location use. No idea if the economics would work out here. Beyond just connectivity, I’d like “PointInside” like features at the game. Where and when does the band perform. Where are various other pre-game festivities. Where is the best tailgating activity. Where can I grab a pedicab. Where are the porta-potties.
* Scores and stats. The ESPN and Yahoo Sportacular apps are fine, but they totally break down under Saturday load. There must be a way to better architect these for load. I am always super frustrated at some point on Saturday due to the lack of current reliable score info.
* Deep focus. The existing mobile apps from ESPN, etc, are all super generic, covering all sports and all teams. I’ll pay for depth coverage of college football or of Ohio State. I won’t pay for apps that cover tennis, golf, baseball, and football equally well.
* Gaming. Fantasy football is obviously popular at the NFL level. Nothing comparable really exists at the college level. Yet the level of personal identification with teams, the level of passion is probably greater at the college level. A great college game will need to leverage the intense rivalries in the game.

Sports enthusiasts have proven they will spend stupid amounts of money on their sports mania. It is surprising to me that no smartphone apps have done a good job targeting this user base and trying to separate them from some of their money. I spend more money on stupid casual games apps on my smartphone than I do on one of my main avocations in life, and this seems out of step.

The last empty Saturday of the year has passed…

…College football kicks off this week! Finally.

Getting ready for the season:

* “Live odds”:http://www.bangthebook.com/football-betting/live-football-odds.php. Not that I bet, nor do I believe that odds have much to do with expected outcomes, but still interesting to peruse.
* “CFB stats”:http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/ — awesome site with comprehensive stats. For when you need to spew them at someone to prove your school is better.
* “Senator Tressel held in high regard by coaching ranks”:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/collegesports/2012722914_survey29.html?syndication=rss. Pretty awesome.
* “Blogpoll”:http://www.sbnation.com/ncaa-football/rankings/college-football-blogpoll-top-25.

4.5 weeks to kickoff! Go Bucks!

Wow, August is upon us, only 4.5 weeks to “OSU’s kickoff with Marshall”:http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2010/08/01/cfbx01-gi89c2m8-1.html?sid=101.

Super excited about the prospects for this year’s OSU team. An experienced offensive backfield and line, a beastly-looking defensive line, and great talent in most other areas. A gnarly in-conference road schedule tho and a strengthening Big-10 conference will make it a tough year tho. Around the nation, I’m also keyed up for the Nebraska-Texas game, I’d love the see the newest member of the Big-10 wax Texas. And I’ll have my eyes on USC, I think they could do very well in a so-so Pac-10. I’ll probably watch some Washington games tho I have never bonded with the team.

As of this moment, I’ll be attending the OSU November home games, Penn State and Michigan. And depending on the season, potentially the bowl game. I might attend a UW game. I wish I could get back to Columbus for the Miami game or to Iowa City or Madison for the big road games but not likely to happen.

Go Bucks!

Will you see all 120 FBS teams play in 2009?

Will you see all 120 teams play in 2009? : Fanblogs College Football Blog. I’ve been wondering about this as a goal as well — just seeing a quarter of play from each team. Over 14 weeks of regular season, this is just seeing 4+ games a weekend IF you can magically pick all the games that cover all the teams. Going to need to pay careful attention to the Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday night games to pick up all the lesser programs.

This weekend alone I will aspire to see parts of

* South Carolina/NC State
* Utah/Utah State
* Oregon/Boise State
* Minnesota/Syracuse
* Ohio State/Navy
* Georgia/Ok State
* Missouri/Illinois
* Oklahoma/BYU
* Alabama/VT
* Maryland/Cal
* Colorado State/UC
* Cincy/Rutgers
* Miami FL/FSU

OK I probably won’t get all but that would be 30 teams right there. Of course the only somewhat obscure programs would be Utah State, SJSU, and Colorado State.

Perhaps my goal should be to just see the BCS teams — that is 66 teams, a very doable goal. And probably less painful than having to watch lower-division Sunbelt conference teams.

Recent app trials

* Scanaroo. The idea of something to manage all my cards is cool — one place to see account numbers, 1800 customer service numbers, etc etc etc. But this isn’t it. The shortcoming is the dependency on the iphone camera. If it worked more like snaptell (use the photo to ID the card in a dbase and get all the detailed info and image from a dbase) it would be better.
* Statplot. Interesting idea, charts for sports junkies. Not a lot of community around my teams yet but will be fun to watch
* Card.ly. Microsites. If 140 chars is good enough for a message, why should a website need much more? I guess. Ultimately I don’t know what I’d use this for.
* TuneWiki. Rich loves it, I am not sure I get it yet.
* Linear Programming using Google Spreadsheets. Is this really what is keeping people tied to Excel?
* Notepad++ and plugins. Not sure I will stick with, the app is busy
* SuperUser. This could turn out to be super helpful

Gearing up for football…

CFN’s Big Ten Preview is up. OSU gets the requisite amount of love. Though OSU needs some defensive players to surprise to achieve the promise of the team.

OSU picked to finish first at Media Day.

Here are my hopes for the season:
* OSU of course defeats SC and goes on to win the Big10
* Michigan takes steps towards respectability. You can’t have the best rivalry in sports if one of the programs sucks.
* Someone rises in the west to challenge USC.
* UW gets up off the mat and makes some progress.
* Florida and Tebow take a dive. I am so sick of the Tebow-gasm in the press every day. My 2nd favorite team every weekend will be whoever is playing Florida.

Back from the Fiesta Bowl

The 4th quarter was epic. Entered the quarter feeling terrible after the miserable offensive output in the 3rd, but then rose to a high with just 2 minutes left in the game as OSU went ahead, and then thought we closed out Texas once or twice on the final drive, and then a crashing low when they scored.
Our failure to capitalize on our first half offensive success killed us, and our inability to sustain an offensive possession in the 3rd killed us again. The defense did an admirable job.
We sat in a predominantly Texas section and the fans were all super nice. The facility is nice, tho lacks the setting and the noise level of Sun Devil Stadium.
There were many empty seats on the Texas side and many more on the OSU side. It was an announced sellout but…]
Next year…

College Football Polls – CBSSports.com 120, BCS and AP Top 25

College Football Polls – CBSSports.com 120, BCS and AP Top 25. Wow the polls this week are a total hash. I’m starting to believe we need a playoff. No problem with the top 3 in some order. But SC #4 in the coaches ahead of Oklahoma? SC did not look that good Saturday. And Texas Tech has beaten exactly no one and rises to 5? Oklahoma State beats a vastly overrated Missouri and climbs 7 spots? There are going to be a lot of changes going forward. Texas plays Missouri, Ok State, and Texas Tech in the next 3 weeks, and Texas Tech and Ok State match up, so this mess will all get straightened out. My bet is Texas wins all those and stays near the top, and Oklahoma rises back up near the top. No real problem with the Buckeyes at 11, they need to demonstrate that they are a complete team and have yet to do that.