SBJ/20091108/Technology in Sports

Tech Talk

SportsBusiness Journal asked leaders from across the sports industry the following two questions:

What’s the most prized piece of technology in relation to sports that you own?

What’s at the top of your tech list for things you want but don’t yet have?

Following are their responses, edited for length and clarity, compiled by staff writer Theresa Manahan.

Joe Inzerillo
Senior vice president, multimedia and distribution
MLB Advanced Media
HAVE: Live games on my iPhone 3GS inside of [] At Bat 2009 application.
WANT: New Intel Mac Mini, so that I can run Boxee and watch my MLB.TV on my 52-inch Sharp.
Kelly Perdew
HAVE: Dell Latitude E4200. Lightweight, very powerful, Verizon cell card embedded. No matter where I’m traveling, I can access any scores, our RotoHog fantasy applications and live video. And, of course, it is on right beside me while I’m watching games on NFL Sundays on our 50-inch plasma with surround sound. … Love tracking real-time fantasy scores and talking smack.
WANT: I don’t yet have an electronic reader, but am looking forward to getting one so that I can receive all my favorites sports and business periodicals and read them at my leisure on one device instead of carrying around a bunch of paper. I typically buy-in on the second wave of new technologies after my technologically gifted friends have worked out all the kinks.
Lee Bushkell
Vice president and general manager
HAVE: I’d have to say my DVR, because it allows me to watch TV more conveniently and efficiently. I have one of the original TiVo boxes upstairs (10 years old!) and a Comcast DVR downstairs for HDTV recording. The result is I watch a lot more TV than I did before since I can watch it on my own schedule.

WANT: Without question, an iPhone. I’m still on BlackBerry. Our IT staff is about to make our e-mail system iPhone compatible.
Jim Bankoff
Chairman and CEO
SB Nation
HAVE: Red Zone Channel, for keeping up on fantasy and key game-day developments without all the flipping.
WANT: Kindle 2, for subscription of team blogs, books and other content.
Bryan Bennett
Vice president of marketing, general manager of fantasy sports
HAVE: It’s my laptop, ESPN360 and my 42-inch Toshiba plasma TV. I say those in combination because I’m a die-hard University of Texas fan and don’t always get the Longhorns as my local ABC game here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I used to just head to my local sports bar, but I now have a 3-month-old son, which makes that challenging. But with ESPN360, I’m able to watch all ESPN/ABC college football games without having to leave my house. And the international soccer coverage isn’t bad either.

WANT: Definitely the iPhone 3GS. I’ve always been a devout BlackBerry user because I prefer the keyboard to that of the iPhone, but the 3GS is just too good to pass up. Unfortunately, I’m also a Verizon customer with no interest of moving to AT&T. So for now, all I can do is plug away with the BlackBerry and hope Apple can get out of its AT&T deal at some point. I currently use ESPN’s mobile site to check scores remotely from my BlackBerry, but being able to access the full Web site at broadband speeds is a huge selling point.
John Martin
Managing director, business development and strategic planning
NASCAR Media Group
HAVE: My 40-inch Samsung LCD HDTV for all sports viewing. The clarity of the picture has really intensified the live-event atmosphere of certain sports. While I believe all sports have benefited, the picture quality has really improved golf telecasts by bringing you closer to the action on the greens; hockey telecasts, since you can follow the puck a little more; and, of course, NASCAR racing, because the speed and vibrant colors of the cars jump off the screen at you. Maybe I’m old school, but a nice TV (in my living room) is the most prized piece of technology I own.

WANT: I would like to try out the ButtKicker product and see how much it enhances my TV viewing experience. The proliferation of applications on the iPhone has also piqued my interest.
Perry Cooper
Senior vice president, direct/digital marketing and fan analytics
HAVE: The most prized piece of technology that I own, in relation to sports, is my television remote control. With the broadcasting of sports becoming so pervasive, and with literally dozens of games and programs to choose from at any given time (Saturday nights during NHL season can feature as many as 15 games), my remote control is virtually indispensable.
WANT: Mobile phones that project digital video. One of those would be on the top of my list.
Hank Adams
HAVE: The iPhone [] At Bat application. The new multiple video feeds look great on my phone, and combined with all the data in that app, it makes At Bat a must-have companion to watching MLB playoffs.
WANT: IPTV. It will be very powerful to be able to completely customize my viewing experience: keep track of my favorite driver in NASCAR, my fantasy team in football, have customized score feeds, see all the additional effects I want to see in MLB games, etc. TBS had some innovative things in the MLB playoffs with Pitch f/x in the “wings” of their HD feed. I look forward to being able to create my own content there and interact with it.
Alex Withers
Managing director, digital media
U.S. Golf Association
HAVE: Owning sports technology as a fan is tough, because most of the best stuff is software driven, not hardware. However, clearly my HDTV has made watching baseball and football even more fun. I am going to say the best piece of sports technology that I still enjoy and can’t imagine life without is the yellow first down overlay line in football. Can you believe we ever used to guess roughly where they needed to get the ball?
WANT: I really want DirecTV Supercast Mobile. Watching any NFL game on my iPhone would be awesome. The last 12 months have seen huge innovation in mobile streaming, from Tiger [Woods] live at Bethpage via our iPhone app to great new smart-phone rollouts like the Pre, BlackBerry with Qik, and the rapidly expanding Android suite. It’s only going to get better.
Chris Wagner
Executive vice president and co-founder
HAVE: I am a multi-device fanatic. I use my HD Samsung for the big-picture, lean-back experience but always have my laptop next to me so that I can chat and interact during the game. It’s great when the game is offered both on TV and on my computer. Imagine when we can do both on the same device.
WANT: I want the ability to create my own game highlights and comments and share them with my sports buddies. Sports mashups all in HD. Wow.Pretty cool.
David Geller
Director of fantasy products
HAVE: My iPhone and the Yahoo! fantasy football application for tracking all my leagues whenever I want, wherever I am. Runner-up is the MLB TV package on DirecTV with TiVo so I can watch all of the Chicago White Sox games and check in on all of my fantasy players.
WANT: HD flat screen.
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