In a landmark deal, the NHL has announced a deal with GoPro that will place wearable cameras on players and referees during live-action on the ice. The deal is the first of its kind to his a major professional sports league, and it offers a new way to experience the action of hockey games up-close.

According to NHL.com, the cameras will make their debut at events taking place over the league's All-Star weekend.

"Game broadcasts will use the content to provide deeper layers of storytelling and to showcase the skating, stickhandling, goal scoring and net-minding skills of some of the biggest names in the NHL," the league said in a statement.

Players are under no obligation to wear the cameras.

GoPro's cameras have become very popular in the action sports world, capturing insane video of cliffdiving, parachuting and other extreme sports. Inventive applications of the camera continue to be found, with the cameras even being attached to eagles as they fly and hunt.

And in one of the stranger uses, Wayne Gretzky's wife, Janet, donned a GoPro on her head to take in the birth of her first grandchild.


Fair to say that the NHL's deal might be a little more TV-friendly. It figures to create a more intimate hockey experience than ever before, and it may prompt other major sports leagues to follow suit.

Tags:
GoPro, Hockey, NHL

When Danny Wax returned home to Los Angeles in 2013 after a three-year stint on what was then called the Nationwide Tour, he thought golf would be his greatest networking tool.

“My dream was to play professional golf,” Wax says. "I was able to accomplish that, and when I came home, I thought that I'd meet a lot of new, interesting people through the game I loved.

"But that wasn’t the reality. Millions of people play golf, and it's an incredible game for building relationships, but most of us play with the same group, over and over again, never expanding our network."

Wax's solution was to create Forelinx, a platform that allows its users to search for people in their industry, network within the site, and seamlessly book tee times at nearly 1,500 courses across the U.S.

The biggest problem in the golf industry, according to Wax, is the lack of technological innovation.

"A lot of companies are investing in wearables, which is great, but I think golf is missing something much simpler: Connectivity," Wax says.

He hopes that Forelinx, which released a beta version Jan. 1 after eight months of development, is the tool that will "unite" the golf community.

An interesting aspect of the site is that users actually sign up with their LinkedIn account, as opposed to creating an account with a standard form (address, email, etc).

By connecting through LinkedIn, the Forelinx team hopes its community will network through golf (expense accounts, beware) and that the game will organically create business or social relationships.

"Not having anyone to play with is a major deterrent for almost every golfer," Wax says. "By creating an online community of golfers and encouraging offline interaction we hope to see an increase in rounds played."

The initial revenue model is earning a percentage on the tee times booked through the site. Wax has plans for other revenue streams later on, but for now, connectivity is king.

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Golf

Lakers guard Jeremy Lin is known for his intense play on the court, and apparently that intensity carries over to his approach to the computer video game Defense of the Ancients, better known as Dota. Lin says he plays Dota 2 whenever he can in his spare time with his brothers and friends.

Much like basketball, Dota 2, a multiplayer online battle arena game, is played on a regulation court and requires extreme levels of communication and synergy with a five-man team to win each match.

"My favorite character? Depends," Lin said during the annual Lakers All-Access event Tuesday at Staples Center. "Am I trying to have fun? Or am I trying to win?"

Here are his answers to both questions and more about Dota 2:

And here's a clue that Lin isn't just hopping on the Dota bandwagon. He mentioned a character called "Leviathan," a name not used in Dota 2 but is in the original Dota, which came out in 2005.

Each game last 30-60 minutes and they're pretty much non-stop action, so Lin wasn't kidding when he said he has to carve out time to play.

Lin’s favorite role when trying to win is that of the Carry, or player who "attains the greatest offensive power as the game progresses and will eventually bear the responsibility for ultimate victory," according to one online definition

Developed and released as a free-to-play game in 2013 by the Valve Corporation, Dota 2 has risen to become one of the most played video games in the world with more than 10 million unique monthly users.

Perhaps one reason for its popularity is that the game is actually quite challenging. There are more than 100 characters in the game, each with a unique set of at least four abilities. It takes hundreds of playing hours and brain power to master the game and understand how each hero's strengths and weaknesses interacts with the others. But if anyone can do it, a Harvard graduate is probably up for the task.

Last year's Dota 2 world championships, called The International, set a world record with a total prize pool of nearly $11 million, funded mostly by fans.

As a peripheral victim of the cyber attack on Sony, Mark Cuban knows first-hand the negative effects brought on by information leaks.

But Cuban would argue he already saw the potential for such PR disasters well in advance. That's why the Dallas Mavericks owner steers clear of email when communicating with his players, coaches and other team staff.

"When you send a text or email (you) lose ownership of the message but not responsibility," Cuban explains to For the Win. "Any email or text you have ever sent -- even the most innocent or benign -- could be forwarded, posted on social media, or shown to someone out of context."

Cuban has been exposed in the Sony leak of blasting an offer to appear on upcoming episodes of "Shark Tank" due to what he considered a low-ball on compensation.

"no chance... this is beyond an insult," Cuban wrote.

But the billionaire has no problem with that email being exposed, saying that leaks come with the risk of online communication. Security liabilities were also the impetus for Cuban's recently released app, Cyber Dust, which offers a secure platform for communication.

With Cyber Dust, messages are deleted soon after they are read. They can't be stored or copied down. If someone tries to take a screen-capture of the content, the sender is notified.

Cuban says he had already switched to using Cyber Dust more frequently before the Sony hack occurred, which saved him from potentially more damaging press.

But the Mavericks owner also has a preference for direct, face-to-face communication. Says Cuban: "You can be blunt, honest and direct."

Clippit, an app that creates video clips up to 30 seconds long from live television, was designed to make it easier for sports fans to share favorite moments on social media.

With Clippit, fans can share a video just seconds after the event was broadcast on TV. There is an option to attach a caption and then share it on Twitter, Facebook or within the Clippit community.

Ronald Yaros, an associate professor in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at University of Maryland, said Clippit is an "invaluable" tool for sports fans because of its efficiency. It eliminates the middle step of needing a link to view the video.

The ability to clip videos seconds after a play happens and to spread news from user-to-user allows more serious sports fans to influence more casual fans.

"If you're a marginal sports fan, you’re probably not going to care what the NFL or the MLB does or sends you or prints anywhere," Clippit CEO Jim Long said. "But when a friend sends you something from the NFL or the MLB, now you're much more likely to look at it."

Yaros praised Clippit, available on Apple iOS and Android, for providing higher definition videos compared to user-generated videos usually found on social media sites.

In a world where people upload recordings of live TV taken with the camera on their smartphones, Long said video quality is low and attribution to media companies is almost nonexistent.

Clippit solved both of those problems, allowing users to share high-quality clips, while affiliating the video with the media company that provided the content.

Click the photo below to watch a Monday Night Football highlight on ESPN from Clippit:

Long said the founders of Clippit wanted to “come up with a service that provides a better tool for users to express themselves than what they have with just a shaky phone and a DVR."

Aside from negotiating with certain media companies, whose names he did not disclose, Long said any other copyright issues are covered under fair use. The reproduction of content in 30-second clips is legal for users to circulate among friends because of how short the video is compared to the length of the entire show.

While Long expects fans to share videos of touchdowns and other big plays, he believes odd events will be more widely clipped by users. Long said Clippit users widely shared and commented on the Oakland Raiders nearly blowing their first win of the 2014 season against the Kansas City Chiefs.

After starting the season 0-10, the Raiders closed in on their first win Nov. 20 with a fourth-quarter sack on Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith. Raiders linebacker Sio Moore celebrated his sack, which occurred third down, by sprinting downfield. Moore was 13 yards before the line of scrimmage when Smith tried to get the ball snapped on fourth down. It would have been an offsides penalty on the Raiders, but fortunately for them, Justin Tuck had called a timeout before the Chiefs could get a play off.

"That’s the kind of event that’s really cool to clip," Long said. "The touchdowns, the interceptions, they’ll be fun, but the odd stuff that happens, where you might not necessarily find that right away on the NFL site."

According to Yaros, most news organizations list 26 seconds as the average time that videos will engage viewers but emphasized that the video alone cannot engage users fully.

"If you can tell me what I’m about to view on the video, it will definitely perhaps engage me, maybe get me to click that video to watch it," Yaros said. “We do still have to entice the viewer to engage with the video."

Clippit practically markets itself because users share content with other users constantly spreading news and the use of the app as a social tool.

Reiterating Clippit's relationship with sports, Long gave an example how the spread of information via video from user-to-user can help market the app and the media content shared: "By fans talking to non-fans you have a much better probability of converting them into fans."

After building a user base, the next steps are expanding Clippit into newer markets and monetizing the app. Exactly how the expansion will affect sports fans, the sports market, and the spread of sports coverage is being kept under wraps.

"It's a little tricky to monetize short clips," Long said. "So that will be one of our secret sauces. How do we monetize this user ability, share that revenue with media companies, and do it all in a way that keeps consumers happy?"

Tags:
Apps, TV
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