MediaFile

Curt Schilling’s video game finally gets on base

Curt Schilling, the former pitcher and two-time World Series champ is more nervous about his new video game than he ever was about baseball.

He told a New York crowd at an event put on by Electronic Arts on Tuesday that he slept like a baby before World Series games in 2007 — but didn’t catch a wink on Monday night ahead of the release of his company’s first video game.

Schilling’s personal fortune is on the line with “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning,” a fantasy-action game that hit stores Tuesday. Schilling told Reuters last July he had invested between $30 million to $35 million of his own money into the 400-person company he founded that made the game.

“‘This is opening day of career 2.0,” he told the crowd . And it’s an opening day that’s seven years in the making–Schilling founded the company called 38 Studios (after his jersey number) in 2006.

Schilling has been a video fanboy for years. Peter Moore, EA’s chief operating officer said he first spoke with him in 2005. Schilling called Moore, who then worked at Microsoft, to see if he could get his hands on an advance copy of the Xbox 360.

GlobalMedia-Baseball exec frustrated, but shies off lecturing Jobs

iphone1One of Major League Baseball’s top executives may not think Apple’s iTunes app store is particularly user friendly, but he’s not about to offer advice to the hottest technology executive on the planet.
    
Robert Bowman, the head of MLB Advanced Media, the league’s Internet and digital business, loves apps. He wants his sport’s games and other content to be on every wireless device out there and think apps will begin to shape how websites are designed. 
    
“We actually think it’s going to invade the website. We think people like apps,” he said at the Reuters Global Media Summit. “They’re easy to understand. They’re compartmentalized. It’s a quick way to get information.”
    
That said, the Apple and Google app stores leave a lot to be desired, Bowman said.
    
“The app stores are not well laid out. The app stores are very hard to figure out. Even Apple … they do a great job, but they’re hard to understand. The Android app store is very hard to understand, so it’s hard for people to find the content.”
 
But, when asked what he would do to improve Apple’s app store, Bowman demurred.
    
“I don’t think I’m going to get very far giving Steve Jobs advice,” he said of Apple’s renowned CEO. “He’s done pretty damn well not listening to me for the first 57 years of his life and so I’m just going to continue to let him not listen to me.”
    
Bowman acknowledged that the Android app store leaves him “a little bit more frustrated.”
    
However, the baseball executive is not alone is finding the app stores frustrating.
    
Despite charging $14.99 a pop, baseball has sold nearly 600,000 apps this year between the Apple and Android platforms, he said.
    
Bowman also dismissed questions about the future of set-top boxes or big TVs, saying both are not going anywhere.
    
“I don’t think there’s any history of media dying,” he said. “I still listen to radio in my car.
 
“The big TVs aren’t going to go anywhere. It’s like the automobile,” Bowman added. “We’re a country that likes big TVs. 

(Reuters photo)

from Shop Talk:

Check Out Line: Play on Fenway Park grass … in your yard

scotts1

Check out where Scotts is staking out new turf.

ScottsMiracle-Gro, the No. 1 U.S. lawn-care company, is taking a swing at winning over baseball fans with its latest sponsorship deal, which allows customers to buy the same grass seed and fertilizer used to grow the lush, green fields at the ballparks of such teams as the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox.

Scotts has signed a multiyear, multimillion-dollar deal with Major League Baseball that includes licensed products, baseball-themed advertising and partnerships with eight of the teams. A source close to the deal who asked not to be identified said Scotts' annual commitments are in the high seven figures, with overall spending on baseball in the eight figures.

"It's a powerful feeling when you walk through the concourse and see that emerald green field in front of you," Scotts brand manager John Price said of entering a ballpark.

from Left field:

As American as baseball, hot dogs and … cancer

hotdog1A non-profit organization is linking cancer to hot dogs outside one of the most iconic U.S. sports parks.

The Cancer Project is reminding fans of the Chicago Cubs baseball team of the connection between consumption of hot dogs and the occurrence of colorectal cancer with a billboard outside Chicago's storied Wrigley Field.

The 48-foot-wide billboard (pictured above) -- featuring an image of hot dogs jammed into a cigarette pack labeled "Unlucky Strike" --  is scheduled to debut on Monday at the intersection of W. Addison and N. Halsted, just east of Wrigley Field.

Sirius unveils iPhone App: reviews not so good (updated)

Sirius XM Radio has launched its long-awaited App for the iPhone to mixed reviews. That’s not surprising, really, since the legion of Sirius subscribers has never been sheepish about the pay radio service.

Many users like it, so they can get unique programming in a slick iPhone App. Now they can take Martha Stewart Radio, Road Dog Trucking and the Praise Channel with them anywhere. But you can’t listen to exclusive stuff like Howard Stern’s programming, or Major League Baseball games or the Nascar channel. Ouch.

It’s true that only a handful of channels are excluded (for rights reasons) versus the 120 channels one can listen to. But many Sirius XM subscribers are drawn to the service primarily for Stern, Baseball and the NFL, and they are not pleased. Of 421 user reviews on the iTunes App Store, 261 rate it 1 (out-of-5) stars, and its average is 2 stars. By contrast, online radio app Pandora scores an average 3.5 stars (from a much larger survey sample).

Sports league bigwigs have some advice for newspapers

For what it’s worth…

Commissioners from the top four U.S. sports leagues — National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League — had a few things to say about the state of the newspaper business during a panel discussion today.

The subject came up when Sam Walker, The Wall Street Journal’s sports editor, asked the commissioners about the troubles faced by the Boston Globe, which covers one of the most sports-crazed cities you can name.

“I think our industries have been good for one another. We’ve helped the paper business, but clearly the paper business has helped us,” offered the NFL’s Roger Goodell.

Disney turns to baseball to pitch guinea pig spy film

Walt Disney is turning to baseball to hype a 3-D movie about secret-agent guinea pigs.Walt Disney Pictures has signed a deal with Major League Baseball for undisclosed terms under which the entertainment giant will give away 1 million tickets to the movie “G-Force,” scheduled to open nationwide on July 24, if a grand slam home run is hit at the sport’s All-Star game on July 14.”G-Force” is a comedy adventure about a covert government program in which guinea pigs are trained to work in espionage. “Armed with the latest high-tech spy equipment, these highly trained guinea pigs discover the fate of the world is in their paws,” says Disney.Under the program, a grand slam at baseball’s mid-summer classic means a free ticket for the first million people to register at Disney.com between April 22 and July 14, as well as the more than 46,000 fans attending the game in St. Louis.If no grand slam is hit, no free tickets. In 79 previous MLB All-Star games, the only grand slam was hit in 1983. (Thank you, Fred Lynn).Most U.S. sports have been hurt by consumer and corporate spending cutbacks in the recession. Major League Baseball officials expect attendance to fall as much as 10 percent this season, but that still translates to more than 70 million people at the games. And companies are still drawn to the sport as recent marketing deals have shown.The last movie to use the MLB All-Star game to promote its debut was Disney’s “Angels in the Outfield” in 1994.”G-Force” also will be part of the All-Star voting, appearing on more than 20 million ballots distributed at the 30 MLB ballparks, more than 100 minor league parks, and through in-stadium messages and announcements.The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced movie stars the voices of Sam Rockwell, Tracy Morgan, Penelope Cruz, Nicolas Cage, Jon Favreau and Steve Buscemi.Hey, it may be guinea pigs, but check out Bruckheimer’s track record. His credits include such hits as “Flashdance,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Top Gun” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” in theaters, as well as “CSI” and “The Amazing Race” on TV.Baseball is careful about how it ties into movies, however.You will see no “G-Force” logos on any bases. In 2004, baseball officials scrapped plans to promote the “Spider-Man 2″ movie on its bases after a major public outcry.

(Photo courtesy of Disney.go.com)

Baseball makes its pitch in new ad campaign

Ah spring. Opening day. Stolen bases. Hot dogs. Rain delays. Fresh baseball commercials flashing across your TV set.

Major League Baseball has just taken the wraps off its new 2009 campaign, “The is Beyond Baseball,” supported by 20 TV spots running through the World Series.The spots will run on ESPN, Fox, TBS, MLB Network and MLB.com.

The idea, developed by McCann Erickson, is that baseball is more than just a game; it’s part of the fabric of our culture. In trying to get that message across, the spots will play up the stories behind star players like Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants and Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies.

from Left field:

Will Major League Baseball strike out?

jeter1Pity Major League Baseball.

The U.S. sports league will be the first to face the recession from the beginning of its season, and team officials are bracing for a decline in attendance of as much as 10 percent.

Two-thirds of the 30 MLB teams have frozen or cut their ticket prices and many have made similar moves on their concessions and souvenirs, team officials said. Combine that with the cutbacks in spending on suites and blocks of tickets by companies and the sport's revenue also could slip.

Baseball officials are especially worried about teams in California and the Midwest.

from Summit Notebook:

Mattresses and pillows, a diversified portfolio

With financial markets in turmoil and the U.S. economy in recession, we asked top entertainment and sports executives at the Reuters Media Summit for some investment advice.

Our question: "If we gave you $50,000, where would you invest?" One rule: They couldn't pick their own company. But then we thought $50,000 was too little for well heeled executives, so we switched it to $50 million. But that seemed excessive. After all, we're talking about personal investments -- so we settled on giving them a cool $1 million.

Here's what they said:

"In a pillow ... You might look at the energy sector, you might see what happens with gold. I've got cousins who work in the banking industry. When I asked them, they told me put it in my pillow. That is your answer."
-- Havas's MPG Chief Operating Officer Steve Lanzano