In Jacksonville, Garry Smits reported Advance Digital, the parent company of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, is "paying five players for the Saints -- Drew Brees, Lance Moore, Tracy Porter, Pierre Thomas and Jonathan Vilma -- to send Twitter messages encouraging their followers to visit the newspaper’s Saints website." The players have "already tweeted praise for the website’s redesign, including a link to the site." Advance Digital VP/Content John Hassell said that "because the paper is up front about the fact that the players are getting paid, there is no conflict of interest." The tweets are "preceded by hashtag symbols to indicate the messages are advertisements." Hassell said, "There’s full transparency. There’s no suggestion that the act of paid endorsement by a player reflects on the coverage of The Times-Picayune" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 10/26).
TRACKING MOBILE ON MOBILE: In N.Y., Ken Belson reports the N.Y. Road Runners, "in conjunction with MapMyRun, have expanded their Mobile Spectator App" for the ING N.Y. Marathon on Nov. 6. Fans will be able to "download the app for free." For "premium content, which includes the ability to track up to 10 nonelite runners, they have to pay $2.99." Fans also can pay $2.99 to have text alerts "sent to their cellphones that let them know the whereabouts of up to three runners." NYRR VP Ken Winell said that carriers like Verizon "will be deploying more cellphone towers to ensure that spectators along the route get their alerts in a timely manner." Winell "expects about 100,000 people to download it this year, twice as many as in 2010." The NYRR "must pay Apple 30 percent of the sales of the application" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/27).TAKING A STAND: CABLEFAX DAILY noted DirecTV may be the first distributor "to stand up to a major programmer by saying it will take down their channels unless there is real progress on price, but its decision to fire the 1st public shot isn't winning any Web popularity contests." With subscribers facing the "loss of FX, Speed, Fox RSNs and many other cable nets in less than a week, most leaving comments on DirecTV's OurPromisetoYou.com site and Facebook page are taking aim at the DBS provider and threatening to cancel service." That is "not terribly surprising." By standing up and "being the one to threaten to suspend channels, DirecTV has put itself in the position of not being able to fall back on the popular" multichannel video programming distributor stance of, "we offered to continue [to] carry the channels under our existing terms while we negotiated, but the big, bad programmer said no" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 10/26).
GOING DUTCH: Stats LLC has struck a deal to embed its SportVu motion tracking technology into coaching software products produced by Inmotio, a Dutch outfit. Inmotion software measures tactical and physical performance of players, allowing for a logical fit with the SportVu products that measure player and ball motion in real time. "Stats believes that the analysis of our player tracking data next to video and through Inmotio's 3D imaging in real-time is a changer in [soccer]," said Roy Clements, managing director of Stats Europe. "We are eager to introduce Inmotio to new markets" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).