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April 21, 2010

Big Ten Network

The last blog will be the following. I need you to answer the following questions and then blog about your experiences watching the BTN and BTN.com

1---Do you go to the Big Ten Network website?
• Yes
2---Do you view any videos on BTN website?
• Yes, I watched the BIG TEN NFL draft analysis. It was the first video on the home screen.
3---Do you like the BTN website?
• Yes, It was easy to navigate and very user friendly. I liked the layout a lot.
4---Do you watch any events on the BTN internet video stream?
• No, because it made me sign up.
5---Have you watched The Journey?
• No
6---Have you watched other feature shows?
• No
7---Besides games, what do you watch on the BTN? Please tell us everything you watch outside of games/events
• Nothing
8---If the BTN would be on a sports tier, would you pay for it?
• Yes
9---(If you have cable) Did you know that BTN had material OnDemand?
• No
10-If you knew BTN had material OnDemand, did you watch any BTN material OnDemand?
• No

Then I need you to write 400 words about what you like, dislike about the network and if you were CEO--what changes would you make?

The Big Ten network has quickly turned into a major player in the media industry. However this wasn’t always the case, at least in my mind. In the beginning, when the network was first on the air, their presentation and marketing of their product seemed to be lagging. I would always prefer for my game to be broadcasted by the likes of ESPN or ABC. However within the past year, the Big Ten network has really come to life. With coverage of more big time football and basketball games, as well as an in depth website, the big ten network is well on its way. The only changes that I could possibly suggest would be the coverage of more meaningful games. I believe the network has done well this in term of basketball, however the same cannot be said with football. The primetime Michigan games are still broadcasted by ABC and as long as that’s the case, the network will always remain number two. I would also caution the investment within the website. While the people are spending more hours on their computers, nothing beats a game on a big television. The majority of fans I know, would rather have company and watch the games with friends. In my mind, the market towards the computer crowd is not nearly as big, and never will be as big, as the television market. Now if this is simply an untapped market that will yield positive results, the decision is clear. However from a long-term perspective, I would still invest the majority of my resources trying to gain more of the television consumers. Finally, I commend the network with its in depth coverage of all big ten sports. While sports outside of football and basketball might not produce the same amount of revenue, more coverage shows they are true to their goal. To provide all big ten sports action to fans and families. This is a great part of the network and something national media networks aren’t capable of. While the Big Ten Network might not be the most prominent sports media network, they are clearly on the path to success.

Posted by abaumann at 09:19 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2010


1-Navigation (4) Easy to navigate once you know where to go.
2-Design (4) really clustered home page, but individual pages are great. Video link to game story is innovative. Live twitter update are incredible.
3-Quality of a game story; (5) Wolverines Dominate Buckeyes or Historic Home Victory. W. Tennin. Great description and detail
4-Quality of video; (5) Baseball UofM vs Purdue. I like the link to story from the video highlights.
5-Quality of blogs; (0) I spent 20 minutes and cant find one. Searched “blog” found Roni Hicks self-written biography.
6-Quality of a feature story; (3) LaMarre’s Stellar Return Yield Big Ten player of the week. It was a good description, maybe could have included highlights or pictures?
7-Quality of pod cast; (5) U-M Head coach Carol Hutchins talks Wolverine softball in this weekly pod cast. It was quick download, good audio quality. Like how its auto-linked with Itunes.
8-Rate the audio/vido player; (5) It was good quality, and I liked the link to the game story
9-Rate the M Zone: (4) There was really good content and information, but I didn’t like the lay out. It was a little Confusing and the tabs on the right are very similar to the ads on home page.

In a world of endless media outlets and continual coverage of collegiate athletics, it’s often easy to overlook individual university websites. However MGOBLUE.com is not a website to be overlooked. While it lacks the pizzazz a national site like ESPN may have, it makes up for it in detail and coverage. In my mind athletic websites should be graded on 2 things, Design and content. MGOBLUE has great design features throughout the depths of the site. While the home page may seem a little clustered with advertise, where it really impresses is in it’s individual sport pages. Users can easily look up their sport of interest, and within seconds have game stories, video highlights, and audio pod casts. These are just some of the features at MGOBLUE and is applicable to every varsity sport. The thoroughness of the site is quite impressive. Michigan has one of the biggest alumni bases with 460,000 people, not to mention all of the national presence that all follow Michigan sports. If you are a true die hard wolverine, you wont be able to find this detail and coverage on any other site. MGOBLUE is also keeping up with 21st century technology. Perhaps the best feature that may go un-noticed is the video highlights that link to the game story. This is a great feature that separates MGOBLUE from ESPN in terms of functionality. Many fans only who have watched the game already, only wish to watch the highlights to reminisce a victory. However for those who wish to read the game story, you still have that option within once click of the mouse. To many times on ESPN am I fighting to read the story and watch the highlights at the same time. The video starts playing automatically after a 10 second commercial and by that time I’m half way done with the story. Finally the highlights start playing and I reach a crossroads of confusion and frustration. MGOBLUE eliminates this by separating the two and ultimately separating themselves from the competition.

Posted by abaumann at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2010

CBS Coverage of the Final Four

In a tournament where luck can beat skill, the NCAA has been winning the lottery. For the past two seasons Myles Brand, the president of the NCAA, has got be feeling pretty good about the results. Last year Michigan State played a virtual home game in Detroit, brining in more fans to Ford Field than the Lions saw all season. Butler was quick to follow suit by punching their ticket to Lucas Oil stadium, just a few short miles from their campus. Seven years ago, the NCAA made an aggressive decision by having the final four held in a football stadium for the first time ever. Everyone knew the NCAA Basketball Tournament was a big event, but no one could have predicted how successful the past two years have been. In fact last year’s final four in Detroit easily shattered the previous attendance record with 72,456 onlookers. This year seemed to be right on pace. Butler has an enormous following, with the MSU contingency not far behind. The atmosphere at the game was electric and CBS did an incredible job brining that energy to America’s family rooms. The coverage of this year’s final four from a video perspective was revolutionary. Over-the-court cameras provided unique perspectives and an new perspective of the game. What may be even more impressive was CBS’s ability to stay within themselves. To often do broadcasts over use a new camera angle. The first time we may be impressed, but then it quickly becomes annoying and aggravating. Nothing will replace the traditional panoramic view of the court, but by integrating above court cameras sparingly, the overall experience was tremendously improved. Another feature CBS used was microphones on the hoop. There’s not a fan in the world that doesn’t love the “swish” the net makes when their favorite player hits a big shot. The rim microphones allowed fans to feel like they were in the front row for every shot taken. CBS also capitalized on the atmosphere of the crowd. By integrating clips of fans reactions, one couldn’t help but be on the edge of their couch at home. CBS has been the face of March Madness and with their current broadcasting quality, one only hopes they remain that face.

Posted by abaumann at 01:03 PM | Comments (0)

General Mills may have Wheaties, but the Final Four belongs to Kellogg.

While the first semi-final of the NCAA Final Four was not as exciting as games played two weeks earlier, Clark Kellogg proved his ability as a color commentator. With Nantz failing to capture the magic of the moment, Kellogg was quick to provide insight and background to offset poor plays on the court. Nantz had to work with what he saw, but Kellogg was able to bring in side stories and commentary that enhanced the viewers’ experience. The best comments of the night came between plays and before free throws. Kellogg reminded us all that a national championship was at stake and these two teams deserved to be contenders. It’s easy to have a short memory in this tournament. With five days in-between rounds, Kellogg talked about players as if he had coached them himself. He was quick to jump in and demonstrated tremendous chemistry with his partner. While the game was choppy and sluggish, Kellogg found a way to smooth over times in-between plays. Being a former player, he had instant credibility. While Nantz described the play, Kellogg analyzed it. As a viewer, this dynamic helped keep me engaged, but better yet, Kellogg actually got viewers excited to see who would win. For any sporting event, announcers can make or break a fan’s experience. Fans at home want to feel as if they are in attendance and Kellogg did just this.

Posted by abaumann at 01:03 PM | Comments (0)

Sleeper teams or sleeping fans?

The first semi-final game of the final four was far less than perfect, but again, so were the announcers. As I tuned in to watch Michigan State battle Butler for a chance at the NCAA championship, I quickly realized that the play on the court would have to grab my attention more than Jim Nantz’s play-by-play. While my eyes were watching the green uniforms of MSU, my ears kept leading me to believe I was about to watch Tiger win yet another Masters green jacket. Nantz has certainly proved himself as a capable announcer in the sports world, but this is the “Final Four.” This is when no-name schools get a chance to beat the traditional powers. This is a weekend that has culminated from upsets and buzzer beaters. This is a weekend where players can be remembered forever and the announcers can put their voices in the history books. While Nantz was insightful, his delivery was methodical. He was on point with his calls, but it could have been so much more. I can only imagine what an energetic Gus Johnson would have done in a situation where Butler has a chance to make it to the finals in front of 20,000 plus hometown fans. Instead, Nantz failed to capture the magic of the moment and let the play speak for him. The problem with that strategy was that the game was sloppy and slow. An MSU turnover would often result in a Butler brick.

In the end, the game needed an announcer to make up for the play on the court and the conservative Nantz was not about to provide a shinning moment. One can only hope that the decibel level will pick up on the 18th green this upcoming Sunday.

Posted by abaumann at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)