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Volume 24 No. 159
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SMT Conference: Connected Platforms Look To Continue To Add, Expand On Sports Offerings

Focusing on the synergy between sports and emerging entertainment technology, the ’13 Covington & Burling Sports Media & Technology conference brought together execs from the property, technology and legal fields for a panel entitled, “Disruptive Technologies: How Connected Platform Devices Are Changing The Fan Experience.” 

WE WANT MORE: A major focus of the panel was the new deal between Microsoft and the NFL around the company’s Xbox One launch. NFL VP/Emerging Products & Technology Noah Fischbach said that having league apps on Xbox One at the outset is “additive” for the league. Fischbach: “The fantasy experience is a great example. You’ll now be able to watch your Sunday afternoon game on CBS or Fox and have your fantasy experience right there. … You won’t need to go get a second device." He added, “For us, we think it’s going to be really interesting to see how much more people consume our content. … The Xbox One was built for this next generation and you can really do multiple things at once.”  

READY FOR LAUNCH: Xbox Entertainment Studios VP & Exec Producer David Jurenka, on which live sports will be on Xbox One at its launch: “We’ll have the NFL and ESPN at the launch. … But we’ve also had UFC pay-per-view events over the last few years, as well as partnerships with the leagues -- NBA, MLB and NHL with their out-of-market packages."

LOOKING FOR MORE SPORTS GROWTH: Roku VP/Business Development, Content & Services Scott Rosenberg, on having most of the major pro leagues on the platform, “It’s a nice growing vertical for us. We’ve got great relationships with the leagues. Sports is a complex business, but it’s one that we continue to lean into more and more as we add league or sports news apps to the experience and bring networks on.”

TECH ISSUES REMAIN: Rosenberg, on the need to improve network architecture, “We’ve broken service providers around live events because they didn’t anticipate demand. But that is mostly a failure to plan.” Jurenka: “That certainly happened to us during the first year of showing ‘Sunday Night Football.’”