Tuesday, July 9, 2013

ESPN America HD is now Sport America HD

Due to the re-organisation of ESPN UK and the purchasing of broadcast rights across Europe and the Middle East, ESPN has decided to cancel its ESPN America programming after July 31st, 2013.

This open market, especially in the Deutsch speaking countries of Germany, Austria and Switzerland has become somewhat of a rights battleground between German cable channels Sport1, Sportdigital and the ProSieben.sat1 group. Sport1 had already some rights to rebroadcast NFL and NBA packages and was maneuvering to acquire some of Sportdigital's rights to Ligue 1 & 2, Series A, MLS and the Brasilian LigafĂștbol as well as regional German football championships.

In a surprise turn of events, Sport1 managed to snatch all the TV rights to Soccer in various leagues in Italy, Germany, Brasil as well as the American MLS in 2014 while Sportdigital, in an attempt to stay afloat has laid terms for the four main American sports; NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB and is looking to rebroadcast some sports under the jurisdiction of ESPN in the USA such as NCAA football, basketball and baseball.

From August 1st, Sportdigital will offer a sister channel Sport America in SD and where available will be pushing for HD bandwidth on the German speaking market's cable and sat providers.

The exact sport lineup and programming is still under discussion however the German media commission has granted a 10 year license for Sport America HD to operate in the region.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

At Bat is unable to reliably verify your location. Tap Help below for more information about blackout restrictions.

One of the greatest solutions to the problem of watching west coast and night MLB on European time has been the MLB At Bat app alongside a MLB.tv subscription and a tablet such as my 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab. I can cuddle in bed at 4am in the morning and check the score, watch an inning or two, or if it's a fairly interesting match-up or close game I can stick around until the end. If my eyes are too tired to watch I can also just turn on KNBR instead and listen to the game.

Everything was going fine until June 29th when I tuned in to watch the SF Giants vs. Reds game, the app requested to install the latest update. OK sure, why not?


I got the error message, "At Bat is unable to reliably verify your location. Tap Help below for more information about blackout restrictions."

What is this? As a small spell of panic made waves through my body, I quickly checked that my tab was allowing itself to detect location based on WI-FI and/or mobile networks. Correct, I haven't changed anything there. I even stepped out onto the balcony and acquired a GPS signal to double check. Yes I am still in Vienna, Austria... impervious to any blackout restrictions. I tried to access the video again and I still received the error message, "At Bat is unable to reliably verify your location. Tap Help below for more information about blackout restrictions."

What have I done? I tried rebooting the tab. Nope. I unistalled the app and re-installed it fresh from the store. Nope. Nada. Zilch. Nothing.

MLB.tv still works fine on my Galaxy S with the same version of Froyo 2.2 so it cannot be my location or Android OS.

After doing some searching on Google I found that the Google Play store review section is chalked full of disgruntled people looking for a forum to vent.

I also found some answers and a fix by MLB (albeit hidden on the internet).

In order to address the situation of “location spoofing” to circumvent blackout restrictions, a new release will be distributed prior to tonight’s games.
At Bat 2012 will now pop-up the following message if it cannot verify a handset’s location during the blackout check due to spoofing or incorrect settings.

“At Bat is unable to reliably verify your location. Tap Help below for more information about blackout restrictions.” 

The blackout check may take longer to return based on network connectivity, but if the user receives the above message, please do the following:
1.       Navigate to “Settings.”
2.       Navigate to “Applications>Development” or “Developer Options.”
3.       Uncheck the option to “Allow mock locations.”
4.       Restart their device.

The application should work successfully after making these changes.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Team USA arrives in Austria

A warm welcome goes out to the 2011 Senior National sqaud as they arrive in Austria for the IFAF World Championship of American Football. The team has spent the last 8 days at the U.S. National training camp at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Led by NCAA Division II College Football Hall of Fame Head Coach Mel Tjeerdsma (3 NCAA Division II National Championships at Northwest Missouri State), Team USA begin their World Cup campaign against Australia on Thursday, July 8th at 3pm CEST in the mountain town of Innsbruck, home of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics.

Unfortunately there is little television coverage for the USA with Eurosport 2 only broadcasting two games:
July 10 @ 10 pm / 22.00 (CEST): Germany vs USA (delayed 3hr)
July 12 @ 7 pm / 19.00 (CEST): USA vs Mexico (live)

Check here for possible unofficial streams of the IFAF World Championship:

Congrats to the following 46 man squad and good luck during the championship. I myself will see you at the final on the 16th of July in Vienna, Austria!

1 Nate Kmic RB, Mount Union (Ohio)*
2 Ricardo Lenhart WR, Otterbein
3 Greg Betterson WR, Delta State (Miss.)
5 Matt Bassuener QB Georgetown
6 Lane Olson LB, Wisconsin-Whitewater
7 Cody Hawkins QB, Colorado*
8 Korey Williams WR, Northwest Missouri State
10 Myles Burnsides DB, Northwest Missouri State
11 Micah Brown QB/WR, Saint Mary's University (Canada)
12 DeWayne Lewis CB, Southern Utah
13 Ben McLaughlin QB, Louisiana College
17 Greg Berkshire K/P, Ashland (Ohio)
18 Tommy Connors S, Southeastern Louisiana
20 Taylor Malm WR, Northwestern (Iowa)
21 Jordan Lake S, Baylor
22 Stephen Virgil CB, Virginia Tech
23 Daniel Tromello DB, Occidental
24 Osayi Osunde LB, Villanova*
25 Da'Shawn Thomas RB, Univ. of Western Ontario
27 Jeff Franklin CB, Central State (Ohio)
29 Diezeas Calbert CB, Northwest Missouri State
30 Maurice Banks DB, Georgetown
32 Henry Harris RB, Southeast Missouri State
33 Joe Sturdivant S, Southern Methodist University
37 Jason Haller RB/WR, Occidental College
40 Richie Brockel FB, Northwestern
42 Demetrius Eaton LB, Northwestern*
43 Terrernce Jackson LB, Indiana-Pennsylvania
44 Zach Watkins LB, Washburn (Kansas)*
51 Gerard Bryant DL, St. Lawerence (New York)
54 Brandon Jordan OL, Missouri S&T
60 Cameron Zipp OL, Southern Mississippi
55 Daniel Catalano DE, Northern Michigan
56 John Jacobs LB, Saginaw Valley State (Michigan)
58 Brandon Jordan OL, Missouri S&T
65 Josh Koeppel OL, Iowa
70 Luke Summers OL, Mount Union (Ohio)
72 Frank Knights OL, Southeast Missouri State
77 Dane Wardenburg OL, Northwest Missouri State
78 Darius Henderson OL, Central Missouri State
88 Mike Peterson TE, Northwest Missouri State*
91 Charles Bay DE, Dartmouth
93 Wacey Coleman DL, Black Hills State
92 Johnny Dingle DL, West Virginia
98 Tyler Roach DL, Northwest Missouri State
99 Daniel Calvin DT, Kansas State

*Team Captains

Mel Tjeerdsma (Head Coach)
Larry Kehres (Offensive Coordinator)
Lou Tepper (Defensive Coordinator)
Derrick Williams (Defensive Backs)
Matt Webb (Defensive Line)
Erik Raeburn (Offensive Line)
Mickey Joseph (Running Backs)
Dave Weikel (Team Trainer)
Steve Bernstein (Defensive Backs)
Adam Austin (Receivers)
Jordan Brown (Ops/Tight Ends)

The IFAF World Championship of American Football takes place in Austria July 8th-16th.

Tickets can be bought on oeticket.com.

The schedule and other information can be found at the official website: http://www.americanfootball2011.com

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The World Championship of American Football 2011 - Vienna, Austria

We've all heard about the World Cup. Some of us have even seen it long enough to realize it's only some over-hyped soccer matches between a few countries corrupt enough to field a team. Well there is another lesser known World Cup that takes place every 4 years as well which might be slightly more interesting to the North American market; The American Football World Cup or the World Championship of American Football as it is called by its 2011 host nation Austria.

Previously held only 3 times with Japan taking home the championship in 1999 and 2003, and the United States winning the cup in 2007, 2011 sees a line up of 8 nations in a two group round-robin tournament. Starting July 8th in Innsbruck, Austria with the kick-off match between the USA and Australia, the following week will see a salvo of grid iron competition between Germany, Mexico, Austria, France, Japan, Canada, Australia and the USA before culminating in the World Championship Final at Ernst-Happel-Stadion in the Austrian capital of Vienna on the 16th of July, 2011.

Ernst-Happel-Stadium, Vienna, Austria.

The schedule and other information can be found at the official website: http://www.americanfootball2011.com/

A few of us Americans living in Vienna are organizing some tailgating festivities before the final game on July 16th to add some authenticity in the stadium parking lot. All nationalities are welcome and encouraged. You can support us by joining our event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=129572713790291

For more details please contact: luvbeers@facebook.com

Go Team USA!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Indy 500 on European TV

Just a heads up this weekend on May 29th across Europe at 5:00/6:00pm UK/CET is the 100th Anniversary of the 500 Mile Race live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sky Sports 4 (UK) also in HD.

It should be a good Sunday race double header as at 14:00 the world famous Monaco Grand Prix kicks off for the 69th time in Monte Carlo followed by the Brickyard Classic at 18:00. Reserve your pub seat as the best place to watch both will be Irish pubs across the EU.

Watch Scott Dixon claim revenge on Alex Tagliani for just edging him out during qualifying in Indianapolis last weekend. Meanwhile folks on the F1 side of the pond will be watching in anticipation for someone who can stop Sebastian Vettel with a 2011 runaway crown for Red Bull Racing.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

5 things to do in Europe during the NFL lockout:

NFL fan? Like to go down to the pub on a Sunday evening and enjoy watching some football with your American (or British, Spanish, Austrian, etc) buddies? Yeah, me too. I also enjoy watching the games at home on the big screen, courtesy of ESPN America. Or on the PC, with the NFL season pass (something I had gotten along without quite nicely until the Chiefs up and became respectable last season, forcing me to go along for the ride). How did they choose to build upon that success? They locked the damn players out. And now that a judge has put the lockout back in place (after a brief, ultimately unresolved ruling temporarily ended it). Great call, NFL!

I’m too big of a fan to pretend that a lockout, even a lost season, would keep me from watching the games ever again. I’ll be back. But, in the interim, how to fill that void? (I figure, better to prepare now and be pleasantly surprised if they come to a settlement)…

1 – NCAA football. Yeah, it seems obvious, and likely if you’re an American football fan living here in Europe, you’re already plugged into the NCAA games as well. Still, if you’re a pro-first guy like me (though I lean the opposite way when it comes to basketball), sometimes it’s easy to forget how great a college game can be. Set those DVRs and watch ‘em on Sunday evening to complete the NFL illusion!

2 – Flag football (Or touch, tackle, whatever floats your boat). You heard me. Get up off the couch/bar stool and take advantage of the fall weather. A couple of beers, couple of friends, a park, a pigskin ball and you’re ready to go! Just try not to tear anything while you’re out there…
3 – Football. And by that, I mean soccer, naturally. If you’re not already enmeshed in the local (Europe) game, now’s the time to add it to your repertoire. Find a bar showing some Premier League or Bundesliga action and learn to love again… (see our blogs on getting into soccer if you need further assistance).

4 – Pub quiz. Most any Irish pub worth its salt will have a weekly pub quiz. Round up a team and put your brain to work on something that doesn’t involve calculating down and distance! Get those competitive juices flowing in a whole new direction.

5 – Take a language course. Yeah, it’s no fun, and it’s in no way sports related. But you never seem to find the time. Well, now there’s a gap in your schedule, so take advantage and get out for a weekly French/Spanish/Dutch/German/Polish course (preferably not all at the same time).

If those all fail you, there’s always the old standby: beer. Admit it, it’s why you moved to Europe in the first place. Or maybe that’s just me…

Monday, April 11, 2011

Viewing in Europe - live vs. delayed

It’s the ever-present dilemma of the US sports fan living in Europe. Do I make the effort to watch the event live, often destroying sleep patterns and sanity in the process, or do I make the “tape-delayed”/TIVOed sacrifice and try to maintain radio silence long enough to maintain some portion of the live sports thrill? Of course, we’re fantastically spoiled today. To even have access to American sports in Europe, live or otherwise, is a relatively recent phenomenon for most. The internet has made it possible to have it all, with satellite and cable options close behind (or even ahead, in terms of video quality). Ten, twenty years ago, expats living in most European locations would have been hard pressed to catch more than the Super Bowl to get their American sports fix. Still, why apologize for where we’re at now? Things are great, and they’ll likely get even better. But with the North American time differences, the choice will remain…

For some sporting events, it’s easy. NFL regular season games start at 7pm on Sundays (CET). In some ways, that presents a much better option than continually sacrificing family outings in favor of pigskin viewing, as was often the case back in the states. Same goes for college ball on Saturdays. Baseball-wise, there are often good games available on the weekend, Sunday for sure, at similar times. Both of these are less palatable if you are, like my buddy luvbeers, a west coast sports fan, as you’re still going to be starting around 10pm CET at the earliest. Still, it’s doable. The early rounds of the just-ended NCAA basketball tournament were also quite easy to follow. NASCAR races are often run “early” on a Sunday, major golf and tennis tournaments have the same hectic, catch-some and miss-some schedules to deal with that they would if we all lived back home still.

Beyond that, though, it gets a bit tougher. Questions arise. Priorities kick in. Do I stay up to watch regular season MLB games? Probably not. Those keep for the next day just fine. NBA? NHL? The same, for me at least. But then come the playoffs, and the tradeoff gets more difficult. Divisional series, ALCS, World Series… which are worth losing sleep over? What if your local team is in the thick of things? What about the NBA’s “second season”. It’s just not as much fun to watch it the next day, even if you’re able to avoid the score from all of the available sources long enough to watch a game “pure.” Still, there has to be a tradeoff.

Me, I watch a good deal of the “easy” events. And if one of my teams somehow manages to get involved in the thick of things, post-season wise, I will move things around to watch it live (let’s not talk about the Jayhawks right now, though. The wounds are too fresh). Then it becomes about the matchups, and what’s going on in the real world. Rooting for the Giants last season, I ended up watching nearly every minute of the World Series as it unfolded. Made for a tough week, but well worth it. Saw several of their earlier round games as well. On the NBA front, I watched a smattering of games live, and about three games during the Finals. The rest were on delay. I was up to watch all of the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl. That was a no-brainer in my world. I stayed up late for several NCAA bowl games during January and most of the NCAA basketball games during the tournament (though I sure could’ve skipped that god-awful final!). The NHL was strictly a “watch it the next day if at all” proposition for me, as I wasn’t too involved in the later-stage matchups.

What’s your take? What keeps you up at nights in the world of American sports? What would you just as soon sleep through…?