Big Ten: Pressure time

first_imgAs November rolls in the pressure is on.With just three weeks remaining in the Big Ten season, the conference frontrunners –particularly No. 15 Michigan — feel the weight of the trap games ahead, as the rest of the conference feels the heat of trying to move up in the standings or gain a bowl game bid with that elusive sixth win.The situation at hand is a game between in-state rivals: Michigan versus Michigan State. “I think that pressure is something that young people in college football deal with every single week, whether you’re an undefeated football team right now playing, whether you’re looking for your sixth win or whether you’re trying to move in that direction such as Michigan is,” Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said during Tuesday’s Big Ten Teleconference.Michigan State has the No. 3 scoring offense, third-leading rusher in Javon Ringer and top receiver in Devin Thomas. Despite all this, the Spartans are losers of two straight and sit at 1-4 in the Big Ten and 5-4 overall.“What we have to do is make sure our players stay together and we come out and continue to work throughout the week and be emotionally prepared Saturday,” Dantonio said.The problem for Michigan State has been its inability to come through in close games. As frustrating as it may be, Dantonio wants to make sure that his players don’t beat themselves.“We need to build up our young people, not tear them down, and we’ll continue to do that, and I think we’ll learn from these things,” Dantonio said. “And ultimately when we start to win these games, we’ll begin to believe that when it comes down to crunch time we’ll win it.”After missing the past two weeks and a combined five games this season due to injury, quarterback Chad Henne and running back Mike Hart are practicing again this week. Still, Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr won’t know until later in the week whether his two offensive stars will be available Saturday.In order to remain neck-and-neck in the battle with Ohio State for the Big Ten title, Michigan will likely need those two players healthy.Northwestern failed in its quest last week to secure a bowl bid, losing 35-17 against Purdue. After finishing 4-8, 2-6 Big Ten last season, the Wildcats are 5-4, 2-3 this season. Running back Tyrell Sutton returned last week for Northwestern. The Wildcats will need Sutton to play to his potential as they make a push for their first Bowl game in two years. “It was just great to get him back out there,” Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “He just adds some more fuel to our fire.”Northwestern will face an Iowa team which pulled off an overtime win over Michigan State last week to also remain in the hunt for a bowl berth with a 4-5 record.For three straight weeks, Indiana has tried and failed to win a sixth game. Given that the program hasn’t appeared in a bowl game since 1993, and it dedicated the season to the late Terry Hoeppner, people may think that the Hoosiers and quarterback Kellen Lewis are playing a little anxious right now. But that’s just not the case.“Just because we’ve gotten beat in the last couple of weeks, I don’t think it changed our kids,” Indiana head coach Bill Lynch said. “I think the reality of it is we’ve played three pretty good football teams and we didn’t play well enough to win.”So unlike Michigan State or some of the other teams on the brink, Indiana isn’t getting bogged down.“I don’t think it has been a case where our kids feel pressured in anyway,” Lynch added.Indiana will go out of conference this weekend to face Ball State.Adding more conference gamesA thought has come up in the conference of removing two nonconference games out of the regular season schedule and adding two more Big Ten games. This would allow each team to face the entire conference.“I think there’s the advantage that the Big Ten Championship would be determined on the field and it would impact your home schedule, and that’s really the reason for the 12th game anyway — trying to get an additional home game to generate revenue,” Carr said.While it certainly would help the top teams separate themselves from the middle of the pack, it would also affect BCS standings as each team would face a higher chance of picking up a loss along the way, so the odds are that the notion won’t come to fruitionlast_img read more

InCrowd’s John O’Connor: Delivering betting-based engagement for fans and sports brands

first_img Since the end of the domestic football season, InCrowd has been working with Sky Sports to raise anticipation levels for the FIFA World Cup in Russia.  The fan marketing platform provider forged a successful partnership with the “multimedia colossus” to develop ‘Road to Moscow’, an interactive pre-tournament predictor game which saw 9% of those who played backing England to lift the World Cup.We caught up with John O’Connor, the company’s head of business development and sports betting, to discuss the future of mobile first-platforms, and why games like Sky Sports ‘Road to Moscow’ are a significant step in the right direction for InCrowd.SBC: John, can you give us a quick rundown of what InCrowd do?JOC: InCrowd has built its own proprietary native mobile app platform. The initial focus was football but we are now active in cricket, rugby union, rugby league and motor sport. InCrowd help rights holders understand their customer from both a transactional and behavioural viewpoint, and then use this information to deliver timely and relevant messages that drive engagement and enhance propensity to spend against the brand.     SBC: How can InCrowd apply its experience in app development and data analysis to lead the way in regard to mobile-first technology within the betting industry?JOC: Driving incremental revenue is a business fundamental for InCrowd. Having successfully launched mobile ticketing with our partner clubs, betting was an obvious “next product” to put in front of the audience we have developed.   ‘Road To Moscow’ is a key milestone for InCrowd and a statement of intention. After an initial focus on generating engagement and transactional revenues for rights holders and sports brands, ‘Road To Moscow’ sees us working with a multimedia colossus and with a tier one betting partner offering the transactional outlet.SBC: What sets ‘Road To Moscow’ apart from the games we are already seeing in the industry?JOC: The launch of ‘Road To Moscow’ is a step change from the free-to-play (FTP) games have been positioned as the universal panacea in the gaming industry, but there is a science to deployment – UX is vital, games must be intuitive and easy to play, engaging and entertaining with the ability to develop opinion and conversation. The post prediction environment is crucial, and the betting transaction is just one of the engagement options. Unilateral solutions won’t deliver but ‘Road To Moscow’ does on all of the above.SBC: What is the next step for InCrowd, based on the success of ‘Road To Moscow’?JOC: ‘Road to Moscow’ generated over 2.6 million predictions in three weeks. It’s a prime example of something that really works and engages users. InCrowd want to work with betting brands to help them deliver against sponsorship spend. We view betting as a similar opportunity to selling a ticket or a piece of merchandise. The engagement plays may be FTP games, but it could also be polls, voting on MOTM and goal/try/shot of the season. The Our League app, developed by InCrowd in partnership with the RFL, enables Sky Sports viewers of Super League to vote on MOTM via app/TV dual illumination – this provides engagement for the broadcast audience and provides another customer channel for the title sponsor Betfred.SBC: And what does the future look like for InCrowd?JOC: InCrowd will be looking to work with new sports, in new territories and with new brands over the next two years. Increasing ticketing and betting revenue will remain a focus for the sports in which we are already active.  InCrowd has always been focused on generating valuable fan data, but moving forward there is an increased focus on the visualisation and accessibility of this data for our partners. We are building sophisticated insights platforms with real time data that will become vital tools for stakeholders in sport to solve a number of commercial ambitions. It’s all about understanding sports fans, fan types and their behaviours to tailor the right messages and campaigns to the right people at the right time, and crucially with digital platforms that allow communication to take place on a segmented and personalised level. StumbleUpon Submit Share Betfred counters Oppenheimer bid in race to rescue Phumelela August 26, 2020 Related Articles Premier League looks to broadcast every behind-closed-door fixture August 28, 2020 Share EFL announces that all non-Sky Sports fixtures will be available to stream August 27, 2020last_img read more