If you’re an active user of SI.com, you’ll be seeing a lot of 120 Sports on the site. What is 120 Sports? It’s a product created for the digital generation of sports fans, a cutting-edge video sports network featuring live programming as well as statistics, fantasy information and social media — all in real time. Think of it as a digital-only sports program moving at the speed of Twitter.
Below, we offer a user guide to 120 Sports:
What’s the concept of 120 Sports?
It’s an all-digital sports network created exclusively for mobile and online users. The concept is to bring original sports programming in two-minute segments (120 seconds) to sports fans on their devices. Programming will feature sports news and highlights from a variety of sports including Major League Baseball, the NBA, the PGA Tour and college sports. The site’s charter is to integrate video, data and real-time social conversation. Like a traditional sports channel, 120 Sports will focus on preview elements prior to games and as the sports night progresses, they’ll morph to highlights, live-look ins and recaps and storylines. The platform is designed to mimic sports conversation.
Where can I see 120 Sports?
The programming is cleared for all digital devices, including mobile, tablet, web and connected devices. You can download the 120 Sports app starting today. It will be available on Google Play on July 14. The product will debut as a free native application for mobile and tablet devices (as well as at 120Sports.com) and other distribution outlets such as SI.com. A premium content offering will be introduced next year.
When can I see 120 Sports?
At launch, 120 Sports will be live, every day of the year. The studio programming will air in eight-hour daily shifts (6 p.m.-2:00 a.m. ET). An expansion to a morning block is planned sometime in the next couple of months. If a game goes late on the West Coast, 120 Sports will stay live until that game is over.
What does 120 look like?
The screen (regardless of device) is split in multiple parts including hubs for video, data cards and social media elements, with an eye toward fluidity. The site moves quickly by design. (You’ll be able to swipe back and forth to see all the videos that have been created during each night.) There is also a “Rundown” feature (similar to a SportsCenter roundup) on the left side of the your screen so you can see what segments are coming up. The site and app has plenty of personalization. For instance, you can select and search topics you want to follow individually and they’ll be stored for you.
Does 120 Sports cost anything to use, or do I need a cable subscription to see it?
No. 120 Sports is ad-supported programming. It requires no subscription or authentication.
Who built the platform?
120 Sports was built by MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), which is one of the partners in the venture.
“This is digital-first so we built it for the mobile phone to the tablet to the laptop to the desktop,” said Bob Bowman, President & CEO of MLBAM. “[The cell phone is] the device everyone looks at 100 times a day.”
What kind of role will social media play on 120 Sports?
Jason Coyle, the president of 120 Sports, said that social media will be a driving force of 120 Sports’ programming. If people are discussing issues in the social media space, 120 Sports will have live segments on those topics.
“We’ll be faster than live television,” Coyle said.
What is Sports Illustrated’s role in 120 Sports?
Time Inc. (parent company of Sports Illustrated) is one of the partners of 120 Sports along with the Chicago-based digital media company Silver Chalice, which is led by Bulls and White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. The NHL, NBA, MLB.com, NASCAR, PGA Tour and a number of college conferences via Campus Insiders (a joint venture between IMG College and Silver Chalice) are also partners.
Where is the 120 Sports studio based?
The network will air programming from a facility at Harpo Studios, the Chicago-based studio formerly owned by Oprah Winfrey.
What can you tell us about the studio programing?
120 Sports will have live, original studio programming every evening, with video segments available on demand throughout the day. The studio show will feature sports news, highlights and live look-ins, all integrated with real-time social conversation. There will be four-person on-air teams who rotate every two hours on-screen. Some of the analysts will be based in Chicago; others will appear across the country (via Skype and other means). Executives at 120 Sports said they have a dozen people who could potentially appear on-screen each night. The total 120 Sports staff is 130 people.
Who are the hosts of 120 Sports?
There are 12 fulltime hosts and co-hosts and a dozen sport analysts who will appear regularly. (Note: On-air staff is not allowed to wear suits.) The most well-known names are former ESPN SportsCenter anchor Michael Kim (a lead host) and former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker (who is working as an NBA analyst). Former NFL players Bryant McFadden and Ovie Mughelli are also part of the staff. The update reporters include Alex Schlereth, the daughter of ESPN NFL analyst Mark Schlereth.
What kind of highlights will we see?
You’ll see same-night highlights from the league partners associated with 120 Sports. The network also has the ability for live look-ins during games.
Does 120 Sports have NFL video rights?
They do not have video rights for the NFL, though Coyle said they have had conversations with the league.
Who does 120 Sports consider its competition?
Everyone and no one.
“Obviously, the primary usage will be from people who are 'cord-cutters' or 'cord-nevers' who are displaced from their television experience and will use 120 Sports to stay on top of the news,” Coyle said. “If on the other hand they are using us a companion device, then there really are no competitors because there is nothing out there like this.”
Coyle said 120 Sports will promote where live games are airing on cable or over-the-air television as a service to viewers.
Who will oversee the production?
Silver Chalice, an equity investor in 120 Sports, will oversee production and business operations. Silver Chalice and Sports Illustrated's national sales organizations will lead all sales and marketing, while Sports Illustrated and Time Inc. will also provide operational and business development support.
What kind of editorial independence will 120 Sports have?
“If we are really going to go where we want to go, we need editorial independence,” Coyle said. “If it just looks like a series of press releases, fans are going to know that. We need to earn that trust in the way we cover things. “But we will not be in the TMZ business. We are not out to hatchet anyone.”