Moving Beyond Baseball

I played baseball as a kid. It was fun because I was good at it, not necessarily because I loved the sport.

As I got older, basketball and soccer became my main games. They were fast paced and less interruptive. There was just way more movement than baseball.

I attended the Yankees game last night merely to reconfirm my bias: baseball is boring.

Fred Wilson wrote an article this week observing the increased interest in soccer. He credited the growth to video games although I pointed out that it was much more than that.

I also think the pace of baseball doesn’t match up well with the speed at which we move now. The Internet sets the expectation for instant entertainment and delivery; something baseball fails to offer.

The baseball stadium tries hard to keep fans interested during games. They show trivia on the board and display dancing fans in their seats. Music plays in between batters, innings, and outs so you don’t fall asleep.

Baseball is truly America’s past time. It no longer stimulates widespread interest because it doesn’t move the way Americans move today. Cheaters like Alex Rodriguez certainly don’t help the game either.

Maybe I’m an army of one but baseball really fails to meet the current speed of entertainment. Football is getting bad as well with an ad every possession.

I don’t think soccer is ever going to take over America because it’s still carrying baggage as a European sport. America didn’t create it. Basketball, on the other hand which is virtually the hand version of soccer, will remain popular.

Maybe it’s just me because I’m getting older and looking for new interests (cricket or rugby any good?) or baseball does indeed just suck.

VIDEO GAMES Gaming Faces Its Archenemy: Financial Reality

The video game industry is slowing.  I hate to say it but the warning signs were there all along.  

  1. Digital downloads (micropayments) turned the music industry back into a singles business.  There’s no way people are paying $16 for a CD again.  Similarly, no one wants to pay $60 for a video game anymore.  Nor do they want to use a sedentary platform.  For $6.99, you can download FIFA Soccer 13 on your iPhone and play wherever you go. 
  2. The last few years people have turned their attention to social networks.  People are spending less time playing video games and more time sharing pictures, links, liking and commenting.  The most successful video games the past 3 years were developed within Facebook.  Zynga soared with games like Farmville and Words With Friends. But today, people have lost interest in those games because Facebook stopped over-promoting them within the newsfeed. 

There will always be hardcore gamers but the casual gamer who used to be tied to the PlayStation and high priced games on CD will no longer pay more than $7 for a game on the tablet or Smartphone.  

Again, look at today’s music business.  The video game industry needs to test a legitimate streaming subscription model.  

Reversing Global Interests

The Internet introduces people to new stuff they wouldn’t have normally found or liked.

One case and point is soccer, often joked among Americans as a “Communist” sport. But soccer is now the second most popular sport for 12-24 year olds in the US. This didn’t happen naturally.

The combination of early addictive video games like FIFA and television broadcasts laid the groundwork. But now social media is spreading the game rapidly, converting more Americans into soccer fanatics every year.

New adoption for anything requires both education and awareness. Every American is connected to someone outside the United States. It’s impossible to ignore the banter of a trend in the Facebook and Twitter from people overseas. Soccer is one of those constant trends.

The reverse is also true. More Europeans are getting interested in American football and baseball.

Social media is knocking the walls down on a diversity of interests, turning niche interests into global communities. The same phenomena is happening in music, whereby Electronica is now mainstream in America.

Sharing similar interests can only be a good thing for world culture. We can make easier connections and understand each other better. The Internet has made people more open and less myopic.

courtenaybird: Did Twitter just predict Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate? Update: Twitter was right. It’s a Romney-Ryan ticket. We hinted that we’d been tracking Republican VP Candidates with the screenshot accompanying the announcement of our new dashboard earlier this week. As you can clearly see from the updated dashboard below, Ryan started to pull away from the potential VP pack three days ago in terms of unique reach on Twitter. Of the pool of likely candidates, Ryan’s seen the greatest increase in reach over the past month, gaining a 65% increase in reach in the past 30 days. In addition, he’s seen the largest gains in both the number of total tweets and unique people talking about him recently.  (via TweetReach Blog) As I learned at SXSW this year, if you aggregate the wins in p-2-p matchups for consoles (e.g. FIFA & Madden) those scores are predictive of the winner in real life. The average margin of victory is also accurate. Wisdom of the crowds is the future of gambling.
courtenaybird: Did Twitter just predict Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate? Update: Twitter was right. It’s a Romney-Ryan ticket. We hinted that we’d been tracking Republican VP Candidates with the screenshot accompanying the announcement of our new dashboard earlier this week. As you can clearly see from the updated dashboard below, Ryan started to pull away from the potential VP pack three days ago in terms of unique reach on Twitter. Of the pool of likely candidates, Ryan’s seen the greatest increase in reach over the past month, gaining a 65% increase in reach in the past 30 days. In addition, he’s seen the largest gains in both the number of total tweets and unique people talking about him recently.  (via TweetReach Blog) As I learned at SXSW this year, if you aggregate the wins in p-2-p matchups for consoles (e.g. FIFA & Madden) those scores are predictive of the winner in real life. The average margin of victory is also accurate. Wisdom of the crowds is the future of gambling.

FIFA Should Copy the NFL

FIFA just announced today that it’ll create a YouTube channel dedicated to 2010 South Africa highlights and user generated content to help it prepare for the 2014 Cup in Brazil.

Besides the obvious criticism that Seth Blatter is slow to make the world’s biggest game truly social, he should also take marketing cues from the NFL.

The NFL has the best marketing of any sport. It has it’s own TV network and posts awesome post game video recaps with player/coach sound bytes. These clips put the fan on the field and enhance player personality and profiles.

FIFA should copy everything the NFL does with its on the field recordings. I want to hear what Lionel Messi says after scoring a hat trick and the grief Rio Ferdinand goes through when taking the schooling.

FIFA also need to do a better job in using Twitter, highlighting player handles to promote the beautiful game. Twitter drives attention anywhere you wish, especially the TV.

I’ve been to the last two world cups and social media has been absent. If YouTube is just the start, FIFA has a long way to go.