Where to watch the 2013 US Open live online

Father’s day is coming up, and that can only mean one thing. No, I’m not talking about the chance to get some new gadgets as gifts, even though that’s always nice as well, but about the US Open Golf Championship. The prestigious golf tournament is traditionally happening in the week before Father’s Day, with the finals going down on the day itself, and 2013 is no exception.

Unfortunately, parts the tournament will be happening throughout the week while many of us are at the office. Luckily, key moments will once again be live streamed. Here’s all you need to know about the US Open live stream:

Time and date: The US Open will officially start on June 10, but live streaming won’t be available until Thursday June 13, and continue every day until the finals on Sunday, June 16. Marquee Group live coverage will be available every day from 9am ET until 6pm ET.

Links and apps: Streams can be watched on the official US Open website, as well as through the tournament’s iPhone, iPad and Android apps.

Scores and tweets: Live streaming of the tournament is powered by IBM, which is promising a revamped video player, integration of curated tweets as well as the possibility to create personalized leaderboards.

Image courtesy of Flickr user  T. Cowart.

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Pro Baseball Clips Walk, but Don’t Run, to YouTube

Up till now, if you’ve found a highlight clip from a pro baseball game on YouTube, it probably wasn’t supposed to be there: Major League Baseball has been diligent about keeping its stuff off the world’s biggest video site. Now that is changing, with a pact to bring highlights and other goodies to YouTube. But it’s not happening fast: Highlights for current games won’t appear until two days after they’re completed.

MLB.com Boss Bob Bowman Is Still an Apple Man. But Samsung Is on Deck. (Video)

bob bowman mlb.com dive into mobileThe last time we asked MLB.com boss Bob Bowman for his take on mobile platforms, it went something like this: He loved Apple and Apple users, supported Android because he had to, and thought BlackBerry was still a viable market.

That was two years ago. What do things look like now?

Well, Bowman, who runs Major League Baseball Advanced Media, baseball’s digital business, is still a big Apple fan.

But he has acknowledged that his users are increasingly picking up Android devices — particularly the high-end Samsung units. And BlackBerry? Gone but not quite forgotten: “We hope BlackBerry comes back.”

Some details from Bowman’s chat with Walt Mossberg at D: Dive into Mobile today:

  • His user base, which used to split 80/20 in favor of iOS over Android, has now moved to 70/30. “The Samsung phone is quite a good Android phone,” Bowman said.
  • But the uptick in Android users, he said, doesn’t track with revenue. That still splits 80/20 in favor of iOS users. “Maybe even 85/15.”
  • Bowman figures this is because iOS users are still, on average, paying more for their phones than Android users, and that means they’re more willing to pay for content like his apps/subscription service, which starts at $20. (Note that other developers have told me that when you compare high-end Android buyers to iOS buyers, the differences in behavior patterns tend to go away.

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Where to watch the 2013 Masters Tournament live online

April Madness, anyone? Okay, we might have to work on our sports metaphors, but for golf fans, things are only just getting started with the 2013 Masters Tournament. It’s the first of the four annual major golf championships, and it’s going to unfold this week at the prestigious Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

Unfortunately, much of the action will happen while most of us are at the office. Luckily, key events will once again be live streamed online: CBSSports.com and Masters.com will stream more than 90 hours live from the competition, with action unfolding on a total of four live channels, and ESPN will stream parts of the Masters online as well.

Want to learn more about watching live sports online without paying for cable? Then check out our e-book Cut the Cord: All You Need to Know to Drop Cable.

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Play Ball! Free MLB Streams On Twitter, Facebook (And AllThingsD).

mlb streamMLB Advanced Media, pro baseball’s digital arm, continues to find interesting ways to promote its popular subscription service. Here’s the latest: Free streaming across Facebook, Twitter and the Web. Even here!

You can watch today’s spring training game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals for free just about anywhere you can point a browser, either on a desktop machine or an iPhone or Android. MLB.com is handing out embed codes so people like us can stream the game from our pages, and you can also check it out live on Facebook or Twitter.

Baseball has been playing with free Facebook streams for a couple years now; in the past, MLB.com boss Bob Bowman has said the idea has been “de minimus” as a conversion tool to his paid product, but he must think there’s some promotional benefit to doing stuff like this on a site with a billion users, because he keeps doing it.

Twitter is more interesting, simply because Twitter seems to be more and more interested in seeing what it can do as a video platform (for example: its upcoming music app, which will play music videos from Vevo).

Two years ago MLB.com streamed a minor-league all-star game on Twitter, but I believe this is the first time the league has used Twitter to show a game with real pros. My hunch is we’ll see more of this stuff in the near future.

Oh yes: And starting around 2 pm ET, you should be able to see the game below. Meanwhile, if you want to see Bowman live, head to our D: Dive into Mobile event next month in New York. Registration info here.

Conde Nast Owner Advance Hands Sporting News Over to U.K. Video Company

sporting_news_ncaaThe Sporting News used to be one of America’s oldest print publications, but last year it moved to a digital-only format. And now it’s owned by a British Web video company.

Sporting News owner Advance Publications — the same folks that own Conde Nast — has folded the title into a joint venture with Perform, a London-based digital video distributor. The idea is to create a bigger U.S. presence for Perform, which already distributes sports highlights clips to some U.S. newspapers and other publications.

Perform will own 65 percent of the joint venture, and has the right to buy out Advance’s stake for $65 million. Perform will kick in $1.2 million, and Advance, via its American City Business Journals unit, will chip in $4.2 million.

ComScore says SportingNews.com, which also acts as AOL’s sports hub, generated 6.7 million U.S. uniques in February, a number that has stayed fairly constant for the last year.

Blocked! March Madness Heads Farther Behind the Cable Pay Wall.

ncaa basketball block shot

Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com

Heads up, cord-cutters: If you want to watch March Madness next year, you’re going to have to pay up.

The last two rounds of next year’s college basketball tournament, including the championship game, are likely to be broadcast on one of Time Warner’s Turner network channels — TBS or TNT — instead of CBS, according to Sports Business Daily and the New York Times.

CBS and Turner share coverage of the tournament, and the switch for the final games was already scheduled for 2016. No one has explained why the two companies are moving the date up by two years, but it fits a pattern we’ve seen for several years: Big-time sports events migrating from free TV to pay TV.

In 2006, Monday Night Football moved from ABC to Disney’s ESPN. If you wanted to watch much of last summer’s Olympics, you needed a pay TV subscription that gave you access to NBC Universal’s cable channels. And as SBJ’s John Ourand notes, the BCS college championships, the NBA conference finals and some baseball playoff games have all moved over to cable, as well.

The free-to-pay move serves the interests of the TV Industrial Complex in several ways: The cable networks, flush with cash from subscriber fees, can afford to pay big bucks for the rights to what is must-see TV for many people. And because it’s must-see TV for many people, it helps raise the overall value of the cable networks (Rupert Murdoch used the same strategy to turn Fox into a legitimate broadcast operation two decades ago).

And moving big-time sports to pay TV helps pay TV, period. Nielsen figures there are five million cord-cutters, or cord-nevers, and that number would presumably be much bigger if you could get sports online without paying for TV.

Which is why I’ve been waiting for Google, or Apple, or Intel, or some other TV outsider to pony up for the rights to a slate of NFL games, or some other sports franchise that millions of people have to watch, no matter where they are. Hasn’t happened yet.

(Note that if Aereo, which distributes broadcast TV over the Web without paying programmers a penny, wins its court case, then expect just about every big broadcast show — not just sports, but everything — to move from broadcast to cable networks owned by the broadcasters. Big if, though.)

Meantime, if you’re serious about college hoops and you’re serious about not paying for TV, you might still have a legal option next year.

Last year, CBS and Turner offered a $4 package that let you watch the games live on Android and iOS devices, and that option has gone away this year. This time around, you can only stream the Turner games if you’re an “authenticated” pay TV subscriber, though you can still stream the CBS games to your PC without registration.

But Turner/CBS are offering app users a free four-hour “preview” this time around. So if you’re willing to do a little planning — and if the option is still available — you could save up your preview time for the championship game, and at least watch that one for free.

That sounds like a lot of work, right? That’s what the pay TV guys are hoping you think …

Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com