NBC Sports’ Rick Cordella: ‘Whatever is on your TV, should be on your other devices’

NEW YORK — The future’s finally here in digital sports media. Whatever live events sports fans enjoy on their TV will eventually be available on their smart phones, laptops and tablets.

That’s the prediction from Rick Cordella, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital for  NBC Sports Group. Speaking at the 7th Annual Ivy Sports Symposium at Columbia University last Friday, Cordella said the sports world’s finally embracing online and mobile.

“Whatever is on your TV screen, should be on your other devices. That’s where we are going. I don’t think it’s always been there,” Cordella said.

Not that its been easy. Pro leagues and networks have been reluctant for years to show games live online for fear it would cannibalize TV ratings. But things are changing fast.

This year’s Super Bowl was shown online and on mobile phones for the first time at NFL.com and NBCSports.com. The free Internet stream of Super Bowl XLVI drew 2.1 million viewers. NBC’s  been streaming NFL Sunday Night Football games for several seasons.

During this summer’s London Olympics, NBC live-streamed all 302 events across 32 sports. That didn’t satisfy TV viewers and critics who ripped NBC’s tape-delayed coverage of key events. But Cordella thought it helped drive the record 219.4 million viewers for NBC’s 17-day  coverage.

Cordella, a former player for the Providence basketball team, was the deal-maker who brought ProFootballTalk to NBC in 2009. The digital sports media world will also be divided, he predicted, between media companies like NBC/Comcast that have live game rights to NFL and other major leagues — and those that don’t.

But the broadcast networks are not the only game in town any more on sports rights. YouTube, owned by Google, is grabbing some online rights. But Cordella thinks live rights will remain with broadcasters — even if some highlights and athlete interview packages go to online channels.

Said Cordella: “Live is live. Live is going to go to the broadcasters. There’s no chance we would want someone, basically, to back door us on live rights.”

Tom Richardson, president of Convergence Sports & Media, has seen it all in the digital sports field. He’s worked for the NFL, NHL, AOL and Ziff-Davis. He predict the sports world of the future will embrace predictive analytics and be more interactive.

TV viewers will be able to get biometric data on their favorite football, baseball and soccer players. “It’s not going to be for everybody. The question is how its best conveyed and how is it best consumed?”

Tom Brady’s new TV spot for UGG Australia

Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos, Madison Avenue’s go-to NFL QB for ad campaigns, should be looking over his shoulder. Tom Brady of the New England Patriots keeps getting better and better in TV commercials. Here’s Brady in his new spot for UGG for Men created by M&C Saatchi, Los Angeles. It’s pretty good. Take a look.

ESPN’s Cris Carter: No sympathy for Gronkowski, Patriots

ESPN’s Cris Carter has zero sympathy for New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick losing star tight end Rob Gronkowski to a broken forearm Sunday. Gronk was hurt while blocking on  the final extra point of the Pats’ 59-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Naturally, everybody’s asking why Belichick had his top receiver playing special teams at the very end of a blowout win. Carter seemed to think it was karma for the Pats humiliating teams by running up the score.

“Their intent was to score, to humiliate, because that’s what they do,” he said on Tuesday’s Mike and Mike in the Morning TV/radio show.

Carter has a point. I wonder how long it will be before someone tries to cheap-shot Brady for running up the score. It’s an emotional game and things get out of hand. But we all know Belichick’s a hard case and he’ll do things his way.

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