Nancy Kerrigan Eyes Rink-Side Return via IPTV

nancy kerrigan.pngWe heard this week from iSuppli Corp. that the IPTV market is on track to see subscriber growth of more than 50 percent this year - from 21.3 million in 2008 to 33.3 million in 2009.
That's not surprising, given the mobility that IPTV services deliver and the ever-increasing strength of wireless networks that deliver video to more and more portable screens, in the form of smartphones, netbooks and other devices. When fourth-generation or "4G" wireless networks see deployment in earnest over the next few years, the rate of adoption for IPTV services surely will get another boost.
And that's great news for tech-savvy sports fans who demand live feeds of their favorite teams and real-time news updates. Imagine what it would be like to be a New York Yankees fan and iPhone user this afternoon, if Derek Jeter were poised to break Lou Gehrig's all-time hits record for the franchise and the captain came to bat during a day game? (He's not - the Yanks take the field versus Baltimore tomorrow at the new stadium tomorrow night.)
Much was made of the technological feat in Beijing last summer that saw Olympic Games organizers work with the IT world to deliver more sports to more screens in real-time than ever before. NBC's coverage of the Olympics in past years has been criticized - and rightly so, in my mind - for its limited area of interest to ultra-popular sports and sports figures from the United States alone. The options for people interested in viewing early-round volleyball or water polo matches, or even qualifying-round Michael Phelps performances, were limited - but IPTV services delivered around-the-clock, accommodating hungry enthusiasts as well as time differences.
So it's comforting to hear that the 2010 Winter Olympic games in Vancouver already are getting some attention from online content providers.
This week, we hear from STATS LLC and StarGames LLC that Nancy Kerrigan, a two-time medalist whose most famous TV moments show her crying out in pain, will provide video reports from the Maple Leaf Nation.
"Ms. Kerrigan's videos will bring home the atmosphere to viewers as she shares experiences from throughout the Olympic village," the companies say. "Concepts will cover a wide variety of topics, from 'woman on the street' reporting to lighthearted interviews with athletes as well as a unique feature called 'Lifestyle of Vancouver.' "
Though Tonya Harding is infinitely more compelling as a personality and ongoing tragedy, the ultra-clean Kerrigan, who has extraordinarily visible white teeth, should serve her new role well. She'll provide analysis and oversee previews on competition days and interview skaters after they've won - those often awkward, breathless moments when the tutu-bearers are draped in flowers.
STATS LLC, a sports technology, information and content provider will license this premium content package to select online and mobile clients. sports marketing, management and entertainment company that represents Kerrigan (as well as Ivan Lendl, who, it must be said, has a less friendly TV face).
Here's what Kerrigan had to say about her new role: "I am delighted to be working with STATS at the upcoming Olympic Games. Vancouver is an awesome location and I look forward to capturing the excitement of the Games by going behind the scenes. At the same time, the figure skating looks like it should produce fantastic competition in all four disciplines making it once again one of the premier attractions at the Olympics."
Here's what Greg Kirkorsky, STATS' vice president of sales, had to say: "STATS is very pleased to be working with StarGames and Nancy Kerrigan to provide this very unique content for the 2010 Winter Games. This is a premium offering that satisfies an enormous demand for Olympic coverage. Nancy's unique insider perspective will attract large audiences throughout the games."
For me, and I imagine this is true for many of us "big sports"-focused U.S. fans, the Olympics marks the only time that I watch certain sports, and figure skating falls in that category. Kerrigan is as good a face for the sport as we have, so my hat's off to STATS and StarGames for developing the concept. By 2010, millions more Olympics enthusiasts likely will have access to the service.
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This page contains a single entry by Michael Dinan published on September 10, 2009 10:22 AM.

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