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Celtics G Rajon Rondo last night made his debut as a color analyst on Comcast SportsNet New England during the Celtics-Bulls game and "stole the show," according to Chris Forsberg of ESPN BOSTON. Rondo's appearance "generated plenty of buzz and made it must-see TV." Rondo, who broadcast alongside play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman, found his "groove in the second quarter and added intrigue" to what would be the Celtics' 51st loss of the season. Rondo "gutted through the pregame standup (the toughest part of the broadcast, he'd later admit) and leaned on Gorman's cues while tip-toeing through the first quarter." But he was "much more natural in the second frame, breaking down plays and offering insight on personnel from both teams." Rondo, who was "resting on the second night of a back-to-back, spent the second half of the game on the Boston bench in coach mode," while Celtics radio analyst Cedric Maxwell finished out the broadcast. Rondo said of his debut, "Mike made it easy for me. Obviously, there's room for improvement. But, for the first time out, I think I did a pretty good job." Forsberg notes Rondo "shined in the second quarter while breaking down one of Boston's offensive sets, detailing the weaving nature of the play and how coach Brad Stevens anticipated how Chicago would 'tag on the cut' and leave a weakside shooter open." Rondo was "guarded at times, likely told by Boston brass to avoid saying too much, and his dry wit didn't shine through as much as it could have." But he "kept you glued to the broadcast" (ESPNBOSTON.com, 4/1).
LEARNING CURVE: In Boston, Gary Dzen noted for "virtually the entire first quarter, it was as if Rondo didn't know he could speak without being prompted by Gorman." That led to Gorman "conducting what was essentially an interview" with Rondo. But as the game went on, Rondo "improved." He offered "honest takes on several plays, just like your buddy would sitting next to you in a bar" (BOSTON.com, 3/31). Gorman said of working with Rondo, "I'd like to do it again, because I thought he did some really good things." In Boston, Mark Murphy notes Rondo "may like to make another appearance too, but apparently has to run the idea through a lot of channels." Rondo said, "Talk to my agent, Danny (Ainge), my GM, my lawyers, coaching staff, but it's a possibility. If the broadcast wants me back on, then we'll see" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/1).
CBS Sports will bring back its digital coverage of The Masters next week with the addition of a second featured group on Augusta National’s back nine. The feature joins live streaming channels of Amen Corner, holes 15 and 16, a first featured group and the “Masters On the Range” daily live show with analysis and player interviews also airing on CBS Sports Network. The creation of the fifth digital channel contributes to more than 125 total planned hours of live online coverage, up from about 90 a year ago and the most in tournament history. All content will be free at CBSSports.com and Masters.com, and supported by a set of as-yet-undisclosed advertisers.
PAYOUTS: The DraftKings app offers two standout features: Local Play and Global Player Swap. With Local Play, the app detects fellow DraftKings players in the same room and invites them to join a contest. Bluetooth or WiFi must be enabled and users must all have the app open with Local Play selected. Global Player Swap allows users to substitute a new player in up to 50 contest lineups. This conveniently saves users the time of adding new players manually in the event of an injury or a healthy scratch. In addition to these two features, filter functionality during lineup creation makes choosing a team very quick and painless. A refer-a-friend promotion can be shared to iPhone contacts, e-mail contacts, Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Push notifications -- like the one I received yesterday for MLB Opening Day contests -- keep users coming back for more.
BUSTS: Users can claim that they are of age by simply swiping the age verification button during registration. What would prevent a young person with a credit card and a cell phone from getting access to an account? There is not much of a barrier to entry here. Meanwhile, for daily fantasy beginners, it is easy to join a contest, but the app does not explain the rules of play very well. Acronyms like FPPG and OPRK are used throughout the experience, but there is no legend. Furthermore, players are awarded frequent player points for completing certain actions, but there is no way of knowing how many would be received and for what.
BOTTOM LINE: Over the course of the week, I played in six contests, spent $3.25, won $0 and earned 13 frequent player points. I am still waiting to see what I get for the frequent player points, and my performance so far has been disappointing, but I plan to keep playing. While the app comes with some ethical questions and an expert-centric approach, it delivers daily fantasy to mobile very smoothly, and invites social competition. I would not be surprised to see a significant spike in the DraftKings registered user-base as a result of this well-crafted app.
Amie Sheridan (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a freelance writer in Philadelphia.
See Sheridan's previous App Review submissions for THE DAILY:
- NCAA March Madness Live For iPhone Brimming With User Engagement
- MLS Matchday For iPhone Covers Game Action Well, Lacks Fan Engagement
- WWE Network Impresses With Deep Video Archive, Live Programming
- Pac-12 Now For iPhone Offers Strong Video Features, Falls Short Elsewhere
- NASCAR Raceview Mobile For iPhone Wins With Live Race Features