Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

‘Mind – The – Hashtag’ as Tube typography changes

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

London Underground has updated the Johnston typeface. The world is ending.

Still, they’re there if you know where to look: the diamond dotting the lowercase ‘i’ and ‘j’ isn’t nearly as high in Johnston and Johnston100 as it is in New Johnston, while the top half of the lowercase ‘g’ has been stretched out to be less perfectly geometric, like it was back in the early 20th Century. The end result, Monotype hopes, is a typeface that is closer to Johnston’s original intent, feeling more personal and less utilitarian than it did before.

John Brownlee reports for Co.Design.

When did Coldplay realise they were the ultimate support act?

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

I wonder if Coldplay were… “in on it” and realised they were the cover story and opening act for the Beyonce Political Rally? There must have been a moment they went from ‘we’re doing the whole show’ to becoming the warm-up act that nobody ever mentions in the gig review.

That’s the story I’d love to hear about the half-time show at Superbowl 50.

Reprinting the delights of singing for your Superbowl

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

Popbitch looked at the most dangerous moment in the American music calendar this week… singing the National Anthem at the Superbowl. With Superbowl 50 taking place this weekend in Santa Clara (…I can read a map and it’s miles away from San Francisco) the moment is coming around once more, and Lady Gaga has picked up the poison-filled chalice:

Lady Gaga has performed for millions of people all around the planet, but never all at once. This Sunday’s Super Bowl will be one of the biggest audiences she has ever played for – and even a huge star like Gaga will no doubt be feeling the pressure.

So in order to help her out, we’ve done a bit of research on her behalf. We’ve looked back into the history of Super Bowl performances over the last 25 years to see how The Star Spangled Banner has been attempted, and if there is anything she can learn from those artists who have gone before her.

Sure, it’s a reprint with a light edit from a few years ago, but then what’s changed since Sam wrote ‘Why the Eurovision Song Contest and the Superbowl Are Practically Family‘ for ESC Insight (except now it’s posted on Medium’s ESC channel…)


What was the first practical use of AR?

Monday, February 1st, 2016

There’s a strong argument that the first piece of AR in live television was the yellow ‘must reach here’ line in American Football. With four goes to move the ball at least ten years, the yellow line on the screen showed where the ball had to reach… even if the camera was moving, and of course it couldn’t obscure the players.

A digital line, on the ground, and everyone able to stand on top of it. Sports Illustrated looks at the line:

Everything started with a simple yellow line. On September 27, 1998, Sportvision debuted its yellow first down marker on the ESPN broadcast of the Week 4 game between the Ravens and Bengals. For the first time fans watching at home could see the exact moment the ball crossed the plane.

Sixteen years later, Sportvision can now weave almost anything into a football broadcast, from down and distance arrows to virtual video screens; it can even reveal the yard lines completely obscured by snow during winter games.

There’s going to be a lot more graphics on the AR field this weekend at the Superbowl, but it’s still Sportsvision leading the AR charge!

Renaming train stations in London

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

CityMetric’s Johnn Elledge argues why the stations that will (eventually) be used by Crossrail are all using the wrong names. Like any good argument he not only spots the problem, but proposes a solution…. rename them all with slightly more logical arguments:

Whitechapel is fine. We have no complaints about Whitechapel.

Although since we’re here it seems a good moment to note the mildly ridiculous fact that, at Whitechapel, the London Underground runs overground, and you have to walk down some stairs to reach the London Overground. Which runs underground.

It’s like they’re doing it deliberately.

The full naming controversy can be found here.

When Washington Beat The Giants

Monday, October 6th, 2014

You might recall I mentioned digitising media archives last week? Here’s a great example of why preservation is vitally important, as the Library of Congress discovers footage of a baseball game from 1924 – the only clip in existence of  the Washington Senators beating the Giants in an extra-innigs victory in the postseaon.

Oh the irony…

When The Blogging Flag Drops…

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Veteran F1 reporter Joe Saward talks about the issues around blogging, wire services, quotas for stories, attendance (or otherwise), in the world of online F1 coverage:

In part this is due to people called news aggregators. These are the bottom feeders of F1 who pick up stories wherever they can, in whatever language. They have no means of checking the information they gather and so they package up the stories in bite-sized chunks and pump them out to dozens of lazy websites that run the same stuff. This has two effects: the first is that they have deals for x number of news items a day and so if they cannot find enough stuff, they stretch the facts, or run non-stop “he said-she said” stories, with nothing but claims and denials; the second is that an awful lot of websites have exactly the same stories and all of it is pretty lightweight because no one writing it is actually involved in the sport and thus they have no idea about their subject matter – and no contacts to even ask. This is the downside of so-called citizen journalism.

Saward is an old-school reporter, travelling to each Grand Prix, and has a subscription magazine for his online followers alongside his blog, and his thoughts reflect that older approach. There needs to be some progress in reporting, but the microcosm of F1 feels like a reflection of the larger questions around journalism today.

(Truth and Consequences [in F1]).

Twenty Years Without Roland Ratzenberger

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

At this time of year, I remember one of the best pieces that Jim Hughes posted on my former Formula 1 blog Fun-1. It was a tongue in cheek look at the F1 world, with the occasional serious moment.

Such as this one. Which still resonates this time every year:

Today is the tenth anniversary of Ayrton Senna’s death at Imola. So what has happened in Formula 1? Are the cars safer, slower, is the driving cleaner? Yes, No and definitely not – Michael’s outrageous punting off of JPM at Imola is graphic evidence of how low F1 driver standards have sunk in the past decade.

I watched both accidents at Imola ten years ago (I also watched Berger’s accident at Tamburello a few years previously), Ayrton’s didn’t affect me. Maybe I was still in shock, but I never liked the guy. Sure he was exquisitely fast, but his general attitude to racing – if in doubt punt your rivals off – was abhorrent to me, imagine your grief if Michael was killed today? Rightly or wrongly that’s  pretty much how I felt about Ayrton.

Roland Ratzenberger was a different matter; he was one of the good guys. I’d seen him race at Le Mans a few times, and he was no muppet paying for a seat. I believe he was Toyota’s first non-Japanese works driver, which in those days said a lot, even if Toyota’s current approach to employing drivers is somewhat surreal. Just wanting Schumi lite never mind being willing to pay him millions is rather odd…

Watching a driver (or any human being) being given heart massage  on live television is not an everyday sight, and it’s not one I want to see again. But that’s what I saw after Roland’s accident and it was very moving and disturbing. Later in 1994 I went to Le Mans and one of the SARD Toyotas had four drivers’ names painted next to the door, but only three drivers at the circuit; Eddie Irvine, Jeff Krosnoff and Mauro Martini. This is the car that Roland was supposed to have been driving.

90 minutes from the end of the race it was leading, when it slowed and stopped just past me on the pit straight with a broken gear linkage. Krosnoff got out of the car, went around the back and manually selected third gear. He then set off on a slow lap of the 9 mile circuit before pitting for the linkage to be replaced. The car lost 13 minutes and dropped back to third place, 15 seconds behind the second placed car. Irvine cut this lead at a rate of three seconds per lap, and I’ve never seen so many people willing a car to go faster. Irvine took second place on the penultimate lap, but the lead car was a lap ahead, and “Roland’s” team had to settle for second place.

Roland, Ayrton, rest in peace.

How do you photograph American Football in a blizzard?

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

A nice slice of ‘this is what my job is like’ from Kyle Grantham, as he talks about the challenges of sports photography in this weekend’s blizzard conditions. For the record I want to see more sport played in 8 inch snowdrifts, it’s far more entertaining….

Content farms, old school journalism, and Formula One

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Joe Saward, a decidedly old school journalist who has strong views on the modern web and sports reporting

The secret of the F1 media is that it is like a pond. If you drop a stone in the middle, the waves will radiate outwards. The middle is made up the relatively small group of reporters, most of them English. The vast majority of F1 websites have no access at all to the F1 paddock and they are simply part of the ripples on the F1 pond, taking the story from the centre and spreading it.

I should flag up at this point that one of Saward’s income streams is a subscription based PDF magazine/newsletter that he publishes a few hours after each F1 Grand Prix, and his blog is his shop window. When people talk about weird and wonderful methods of blogging, sometimes the old-fashioned methods, such as Saward’s, are far more appealing… and profitable.

How to reply to John Inverdale’s Tennis commentary

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Marion Bartoli, Women’s Singles Champion, Wimbledon 2013:

“Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No, sorry,” she said. “But have I dreamt about winning Wimbledon? Yes, absolutely.”


Some thoughts on podcasting and what engages me

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Last week I had the opportunity to experience podcasting from the other side, as a listener looking in to a world and being guided by experts on the other side of my headphones, and it remind me just how powerful podcasting can be when it finds the right environment.

The event was the 24 Heures du Mans, and my guides were the team at Radio Le Mans. In the build up to the event they previewed the four classes of cars that were racing, reported daily on the practices around the circuit, covered the scrutineering, the damp fizzle that was qualifying, and when it was time for the race they switched to live streaming for every minute of the event.

Yes, I can enjoy Le Mans without them, but having excited experts, fans, and reporters talking to me every day made for a much more engaged and exciting event. For me, this is where podcasting works. It’s social, it’s engaging, and it gets multiple expert voices (and switch on lay fans) in discussion.

It’s also given me a big checklist of things that I need to be careful of when the Edinburgh Fringe podcasts start coming out nearer the end of July and into the daily shows during August… making sure the introduction to the podcast is strong and acts as an index to what is coming up in the rest of the show; remembering the different levels of knowledge listeners will have; and that while all the guests and news will vary, the host is the constant that will keep people coming back for the next show.

And while the Eurovision Song Contest podcasts go on a much slower schedule now (two fifteen minute episodes per month for June through September, compared to a daily 30 minute show leading up to the Contest in May), the principles are the same.

When people ask me about the differences between audio podcasts and videos, the safe and quick answer is ‘time’ – video online needs to be much shorter, and audio can offer more time to get involved. But if you want to expand on that, an audio podcast offers a chance for more education, more entertainment, and more information. While there are moments when short podcasts are ideal, the podcasts that work well for me are the news magazine style of shows, rather than the breaking news bulletins.

Part of my #back2blog community series of blog posts.

Language, words, and meanings, within MLB and Eurovision

Monday, May 27th, 2013

There’s a nice article on the evolving English language between US English and UK English on BBC News today. The medium is Football (okay, and straight away I need to say ‘Soccer’ for US readers), and the language used by the commentators to describe different facets of the game, and how the US sports broadcasters have their own vocabulary which has no influence from the UK commentators.

It’s something I’ve seen directly around the Eurovision Song Contest. I have a bundle of spreadsheets I use to track country performance in the Contest, with variables such as SPA (Semi Final Placing Average), GPA (Grand Final Points Average), and QR (qualification ratio). There are rather a lot more, but this will be enough to make my point.

For example, pre 2013 Contest, Georgia was QR .800, SPA 7.20, GPA 106.5. That’s great for me when commentating, and its clear that Georgia under-performed this year (with a 2013 SP of 10, and a 2013 GP of 50), but if I hand the spreadsheet over to almost anyone in the Eurovision Press Room, they need a crib sheet to get the names and then a good few minutes of explanation as to the impact.

Show these to an American reporter though, especially one versed in sports such as Major League Baseball, where these look remarkably like batting statistics, and they get it instantly.

We might be one language in word, but in  meaning the continents are very far apart.

I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain

Friday, May 24th, 2013

SniffPetrol nails it in their Monaco GP preview:

One of the most infamous ex-F1 drivers to live in the area is Taki Inoue who is regularly spotted attempting to cross Casino Square only to get hit by a passing car causing him to roll over its bonnet in an amusing way.

Geoff Marshall to the Tube is just like myself to Eurovision

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Delightful interview with Geoff ‘Do I  know the London Underground?’ Marshall on Norton Folgate:

Geoff Marshall knows the Tube better than anyone else you’re likely to meet. He was world record holder of the Tube Challenge (visit all stations on all Tube lines in the fastest possible time) for two years. He’s currently planning his next attempt at the Challenge which will take place in May. I sat down with him and Elephantine Dark blogger Edmund Hardy for a chat and a beer.

My one claim to Tube running fame is that I beat Geoff in at ‘Zone One‘ challenge many years ago (in 2004… yikes!). I’m beginning to think that was beginners luck…