Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Kentucky Derby (Churchill Downs)

Thursday, 8 February 2007; 9:13

Having just launched its new site yesterday [07 Feb. 07], let’s keep our eye on Kentucky Derby 133. The site looks very promising at this early stage and it seems video will be a primary component.

Home page:  Kentucky Derby
Home page:  Churchill Downs

Litespeed

Tuesday, 6 February 2007; 20:19

Few know it, but before Trek came along seven-times Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, rode a Litespeed titanium bicycle. In fact, he liked the company’s bikes so much that he paid for his own custom-built Litespeeds instead of riding the standard team issue bikes supplied for free by another manufacturer. For those few hardcore cyclists out there, let us have a look at this interview and what Litespeed is up to these days.

Home page:  Litespeed

Approximately $10,000 and it’s yours!

The North Face & The N.F. Endurance 50

Sunday, 14 January 2007; 21:56

Dean Karnazes would make Forrest Gump and the late Jim Fixx proud. After running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days (a.k.a. The North Face Endurance 50), he is now running another 3,000 miles across America to get back home. That indeed is endurance.

And, the same can be said for every North Face product I own. My North Face raincoat is now almost 30 years old–after a few lifetime warranty replacements. My North Face luggage is 25 years old and going strong. The same can be said for my North Face sleeping bag. Endurance and The North Face are one.

After you have watched Dean’s video. Then trot on over to The North Face TV. There you will find an abundance of multimedia advertising which also showcases the wonders of nature, the limits of human beings in nature, and some great gear to survive Mother Nature. (The video of the guy skiing just ahead of a huge avalanche is quite amazing. An avalanche right on your butt has to be a major incentive to remain upright and get to the bottom ASAP!)

Home page:  The North Face
Home page:  The North Face Endurance 50
Home page:  The North Face TV

 

Boa Technology’s Boa Lacing System

Wednesday, 20 December 2006; 12:22

Boa Technology’s Boa Lacing System is something my mom might have preferred. I understand she had one helluva time teaching me how to tie my shoes–and I still do it quite differently than anyone else. However, technology has all but rendered the art of tying shoe laces essentially moot–at least for kids. It seems many young children’s shoes now come with Velcro straps instead of shoe laces. However, Velcro isn’t right for most shoes. And, old-fashioned laces have their disadvantages, especially in some of the more demanding activities and sports.

Enter the Boa Lacing System. (The Distillery even likes the name.) Instead of tying shoe laces (which have not been fully eliminated–just yet), the Boa system depends on dials around which “cables” are wrapped in such a manner that users need only dial the lacing of their shoes either tighter or looser. And in fact, the Boa system has passed one of the most demanding of tests–the Tour de France. (Can you imagine a professional bicycle racer having to stop and tie his shoes as his competitors speed up the mountain?)

However, what about the Boa web site itself. As should often be expected these days, the site opens with a multimedia presentation. However, when it might serve the product’s purpose to continue as a richly informative information source about a new product with sights and sounds, it begins to come untied.

The How It Works portion of the site eschews any sort of multimedia presentation or information that might keep less than fully involved consumers interested in a new and untried product. That is an error in dire need of correction. On the other hand, Boa does not make the mistake typically seen at Flash-driven web sites–no images which the consumer can download and/or share with others. Kudos to Boa for that nice touch–even if not on purpose.

One caveat, however, from personal experience. The Boa system can break, and unlike good ol’fashioned shoe laces, a fix is not simply a drive to the drug store and replacing a lace. My personal experience has shown the dials can break, leaving the shoe’s wearer essentially with a shoe which cannot be properly tightened around the foot. In fact, some retailers even keep extra dials on hand. Given that, and although the web site addresses the issue by saying the product will not break, I’ll continue to tie my shoes in my own unique and effective way. YMMV.

Home page:  Boa Technology

SailingNews.tv

Tuesday, 17 October 2006; 11:12

SippinWhisky’s Distillery calls its readers’ attentions to SailingNews.tv. If you are stuck in your office or somewhere in the landlocked midwest United States, this is the next best thing to being on the water–or other–found to date. (Note: This site is French, but The Distillery will overlook that.)

Home page:  SailingNews.tv

SailingNews.tv course map graphic

Phoenix Suns (NBA)

Friday, 25 August 2006; 23:12

What do you know about basketball? Do you know what a pick-and-roll is? How about a match-up zone defense? Can you come close to understanding the intricacies of the triangle offense? No? Then is going to be tough going around here come basketball season — both college (Duke, of course) and professional.

When The Distillery gets bored, it turns to either basketball or cycling. But since The Tour is over, and seemingly tarnished by doping, the focus is on basketball. And specifically today, it’s on the Phoenix Suns and their back-to-back NBA’s Most Valuable Player, Steve Nash. If you doubt he is deserving, then have a look at these highlights. Even more, he’s the only point guard other than Magic Johnson to win the award more than once. That’s mighty fine company to be keeping.

However, it appears the Phoenix Suns and the NBA are spot-on with their marketing. Each team’s site is a satellite of NBA.com and filled with superb multimedia content. It’s enough to keep you busy for a while. And, the Phoenix Suns are linked to NBA TV Broadband, the Association’s TVoIP channel and player. (I will have to give my old college pal a call and congratulate him. He’s apparently doing a fine job as the Association’s vice president of marketing.)

But what about Phoenix Suns tickets? Are they as difficult to get your hands on as is even just one for a Duke game (men’s or women’s) at Cameron Indoor Stadium? I don’t think so, but you might call early just in case. Whatever you do, do not buy them from teamonetickets.com. I have personal experience with these people being far less than reputable. They cheat. And, I never trust a company that will not provide an e-mail address for its customers. So although endorsed by the Wall Street Journal (or a friend inside), the firm will not get The Distillery’s endorsement.

Home page: Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns' Steve Nash MVP photo graphic

Speed TV & NASCAR

Friday, 25 August 2006; 15:22

Do you live and breathe NASCAR? Do you like the internet? If the answer to both of those questions is “Yes,” then head on over to Speed.tv for your daily NASCAR fix. Not only will you find NASCAR videos, but also other racing videos, including motorcycle and F1 Grand Prix.

The site is superb for automotive racing fans. It is well-designed and includes message boards, chats, and fantasy racing. You will also find competitive online drag racing in the game, PINKS. In sum, Speed TV is the place to get all of your NASCAR news, commentary and video.

Home page: Speed TV (SpeedTV.com)
Video player: Speed TV

Mark Martin photo graphic

Liquid Logic Kayaks

Wednesday, 9 August 2006; 14:06

Let us begin at Liquid Logic Kayaks with a little thing that makes a big difference — mouse-overs that are voice-overs. (Run your cursor over the stream of kayaks.) Next, we see that Liquid Logic knows how to sell kayaking, and provides plenty of video and photos to show just how much fun it can be. For example, have a peek at Shane Benedict on the Chattooga River in the firm’s Pisgah model.

The Distillery’s favorite? Without question, it is the Sojourn 14, of which a closer look can be seen here. Next, point your browser to Liquid Logic’s Manta Ray kayak and the 5 videos found on that page. They even have a dealer locator map that isn’t static and makes noise. In all, an excellent effort for a bunch of guys and gals obviously looking to have as much fun as they can.

Home page: Liquid Logic Kayaks

Cross River Series kayak graphic

Earnhardts Tribute (Budweiser)

Wednesday, 2 August 2006; 10:44

Legal Advisement: The following commercial content is to be viewed only by individuals 21 years of age or older.

From dirt to pavement, B&W to high-def, mullets to… mullets, tradition rolls on. ~Budweiser

Budweiser is a tradition.* And although the demographics reading this are far from those indicative of typical Budweiser-drinking NASCAR fans, there is little doubt that the latter are also becoming American traditions. (Did I somewhere hear rumors about exporting NASCAR to Europe? Blasphemy, I say!) Also now a tradition is an Earnhardt not infrequently winning a NASCAR race. Dale, Jr. has stepped in after his father’s death, and Dale, Sr. picked up where his father, Ralph, left off. NASCAR is clearly a family tradition for the Earnhardts.

Thus the superb fit of Budweiser tradition with that of NASCAR tradition and three generations of Earnhardts. Enjoy this short video clip of the Earnhardts throughout NASCAR history graciously produced and provided by Budweiser.

Home page: Budweiser

* What is the best beer on the market? Please leave your opinions in the comments. Tomorrow I’ll tell you which beer has consistently finished in either first or second place several times during my own double-blind taste-testings. The answer is almost certain to surprise you. (This one is for you, M.M.)

Old Budweiser bottle graphic Know When To Say When graphic

Microcasting: New TVoIP Channels

Tuesday, 1 August 2006; 13:02

Welcome to the 21st century. A decade or so ago, the cable industry proudly announced that one day consumers would have a choice of 400 channels. Cable firms were as short-sighted then as they are now. The Distillery laughed when the cable industry promised the future as they saw it. Instead, The Distillery saw thousands and thousands of channels, some even “starring” narcissistic individuals, but all focused on increasingly narrow target or niche markets.

One might look at it another way. Remember when ESPN first aired and its sports content included lumberjacking and other decidedly obscure “sports?” In a sense, ESPN was more ahead of its time than it knew. What those early programs lacked in numbers of viewers, they more than made up for their few viewers with their [implicit] predictions of a future where broadcasting (e.g., Monday Night Football) gives way to narrowcasting (e.g., “season ticket” all-games packages), and then to microcasting where only very small niche markets exist (e.g., field hockey TVoIP), and can be profitable even with far smaller scales and scopes given the internet’s often contrarian economics.

Country Channel TV graphic
CountryChannel.tv
Index: Country Channel TV

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Real Estate TV graphic
RealEstate.tv
Index: Real Estate TV

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FaithGlobe.tv graphic
FaithGlobe.tv
Index: FaithGlobe.com

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European Affairs Channel graphic
The European Affairs Channel (a.k.a. EUX.TV)
Index: EuropeanAffairs.tv

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TeacherNet graphic
Teachers’ TV
Index: TeacherNet.gov.uk

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FieldHockey.TV graphic
Field Hockey TV

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Intl. Hockey Fed. graphic
WorldHockey Television
Index: International Hockey Federation

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Golf Bug TV graphic
GolfBug.tv
Index: Golf Bug TV Blog

2006 PGA Championship

Wednesday, 26 July 2006; 14:02

The Tiger has roared once again. Most recently it was at the British Open, but can he be the biggest, baddest cat again? Might he be driven into the rough or will he iron flat the PGA Championship, too? (He used his driver only once during the 2006 British Open.) Given his ability to avoid the bunkers at last year’s Open, will he need the free Blast Out of Bunkers advice offered at the PGA Championship web site?

If not that, he has a collection of golfing instructional videos from which to chose at PGA.com’s Improve Your Game. And should he find himself playing on another “Tiger-proofed” course, he can always listen to audio descriptions of each hole, like this one for Hole No. 1.

If in need of a bit of inspiration, he can view Jack’s Insights on the PGA.com home page. Should he break a club or two in frustration, he can enter the contest for a set of Titleist Pro Titanium clubs, as can you. And should Mr Woods not make the cut, he can always fall back on Island Mini Golf from TBS.com.

Overall, it appears the PGA is shooting far below par when it comes to its internet offerings. And in this case, it’s just like golf. “Far below par” is to be a winner. A great first round, PGA. You have The Distillery’s seal of approval.

Home page: 2006 PGA Championship
Home page: PGA

Golfing green graphic

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14

Monday, 24 July 2006; 18:03

Zero to sixty in less than 3 seconds? A top speed approaching 200 mph? One hundred, seventy-five horses strapped to only 560 pounds? It sounds insane, doesn’t it? Well, I want one! Those are some of the white-knuckle specs for Kawasaki’s new Ninja ZX-14 motorcycle.

Unfortunately, the ZX-14’s mini-site by Kawasaki does not convey the sense of seemingly unbridled power and speed of the street-legal beast it is advertising. That is not to say the site isn’t very nicely done, but it lacks the raw emotion that even the mere numbers outlining the motorcycle’s specifications generate. In other words, after hearing and reading about the ZX-14 beforehand, the online promotion is a disappointment.

In fact, a glance through Kawasaki’s primary web site for its motorcycles reveals videos for other motorcycles that are far better at making one want to run out and buy a Ninja than those for its new flagship model. Maybe the bike will sell itself. Maybe it’s designed for a very small market that needs no selling. Maybe it will fly out of showroom as quickly as it gets you down the road. (And, maybe you should buy a coffin to go along with that magnificent speed demon.)
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 graphic