French cable operator Numericable has launched a new integrated set-top box and cable modem.Numericable’s One Box will be on sale from January 16. The operator said that it would deliver internet speeds of up to 200Mbps in certain districts of Paris as well as access to the operator’s digital TV services. The box will be available for a monthly subscription of €59.90, including access to 300 TV channels, the internet and unlimited calls to fixed and mobile numbers.The box features four tuners, a Blu-ray player, 802.11n Wi-Fi, a removable 40-500GB hard drive and two phone lines. It also includes access to social networking features such as Facebook on TV and a video-on-demand price comparison engine and intelligent content search.Numericable’s announcement was somewhat overshadowed by rival ISP Free’s launch of its 3G mobile phone service on the same day. The operator is providing a bundle of unlimited calls within France and 40 international destinations, texts and multimedia messages and internet access for €19.99, which it says is two and half times cheaper than the nearest rival. It is also offering a bundle of 60 minutes of calls and 60 texts for €2, which it says is four times cheaper than the nearest rival. These offers are available for €15.99 and no charge respectively to existing Freebox customers.
Almost half of all devices that receive TV services from the largest global pay TV service providers by 2015 will be PCs, smartphones, tablets and other multiscreen devices, according to the latest report from IHS Screen Digest.IHS predicts that the top 43 global pay TV operators will supply TV services to 310 million active multiscreen devices by 2015, compared with 322 million set-top boxes. Set-tops will account for 51% of receiving devices, down from 82% today, according to the report.The global set-top box base from multiscreen operators is expected to grow by 17% between 2011 and 2015, compared with 400% growth for multiscreen devices receiving pay TV services. However, multiscreen operators will account for only about a third of all set-tops installed globally by 2015, compared with about half of all set-tops today, meaning that globally, set-tops will still account for the majority of pay TV screens.
LoveFilm has sealed a UK programming deal with NBC Universal that gives the Amazon-owned streaming service a raft of the studio’s catalogue and current TV series.The agreement, with NBC Universal International TV, covers scripted shows including 30 Rock, Knight Rider, Warehouse 13 and the US version of The Office.LoveFilm said it covered hundreds of hours of NBC Universal programming and told DTVE sister publication TBI that it included 20 series in all.The company already has a content deal with Disney and UK-based distributors BBC Worldwide and ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
News Corp’s board has approved the company’s split into separate media and publishing businesses and has named the boards of the new media company, 21st Century Fox, and the new News Corp publishing business.The formal separation of the companies is expected to take place on June 28. News Corp’s board has approved the distribution of all shares of the new News Corp to the company’s stockholders in a ratio of one share of the new News Corporation for every four shares of News Corp.The board also authorized a US$500 million (€390 million) stock repurchase programme for the new News Corp following completion of the separation.The 21st Century Fox board will comprise Rupert Murdoch, James Breyer, Chase Carey, David DeVoe, Viet Dinh, Sir Roderick Eddington, James Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch and Álvaro Uribe as well as new additions Delphine Arnault, director of Christian Dior, Jacques Nasser, a non-executive advisory partner of One Equity Partners and Robert Silberman, the executive chairman of Strayer Education.The new News Corp board will comprise Rupert Murdoch, José Maria Aznar, Natalie Bancroft, Peter Barnes, Elaine Chao, Joel Klein, James Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch and new additions John Elkann, Ana Paula Pessoa, Masroor Siddiqui and Robert Thomson.
The majority of BBC staff are now based outside of London for the first time in the corporation’s history, with the shift to the regions occurring one year ahead of target. The BBC set a 12-year target in 2004 to have half its staff working in regional offices, with staff moves to Media City in Salford and Pacific Quay in Glasgow, as well as the closure of TV Centre and other London premises, designed to change the geographical bias of the BBC and make it more representative of the UK as a whole.Announcing the milestone, the BBC said that In 2007 London accounted for 58% of BBC staff, whereas now this figure has fallen to 49%.Of the non-London based staff, 17% of the corporation’s workforce is now in Salford. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland account for a further 18%, while 15% are spread throughout the rest of England.“We have sold off costly London buildings like Television Centre and moved more of our staff and programmes into the regions. It is all part of our plan to make the BBC ever more efficient and reflective of the country, with more than half our staff based outside London. The savings we are making mean more of the licence fee than ever is going on producing the best quality shows,” said Anne Bulford, the BBC’s managing director of finance and operations.
Edge: The LonerAmazon Prime Instant Video has unveiled its autumn pilot season line-up, which includes a violent Western and a show about the Jazz Age’s original flapper.Namely, the Amazon Studios-produced pilots are Western Edge: The Loner, late-Sixties-set Good Girls Revolt, comedy Highston, FX Productions copro One Mississippi, political thriller Patriot, and Z, which looks into the life of Jazz Age icon Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald.Amazon will debut the pilots to susbcribers in the UK, US and Germany later this year, and in part use the subsequent feedback to decide which to take to series.Edge: The Loner, which Lethal Weapon’s Shane Black developed, is based on George G. Gilman’s book series of the same name, which Amazon says has been described as ‘the most violent Western in print”. Set in 1868, it will follow the titular character, Josiah ‘Edge’ Hedges, a Union officer-turned-cowboy.Black, Fred Dekker (Tales From the Crypt), Narry Josephson (Bones) and David Greenblatt (Battle Los Angeles) executive produce.Z is based on the life of Zelda Sayre, a Southern Belle who married writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. It will begin before she meets the Great Gatsby writer, documenting their subsequent life in the decadent jazz era and later mental health troubles. Christina Ricci plays Zelda, with Gavin Stenhouse playing her husband.Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin (both The Killing) are attached to write, with Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon of Killer Films and Ricci executive producing.Good Girls Revolt follows a group of young female researchers seeking fair treatment in a 1969 newsroom. Amazon Studios is coproducing with TriStar Television, with Dana Calvo creator andwriter. The show is based on landmark sexual discrimination cases chronicled in a Lynn Povich book.Calvo is also executive producer along with Lynda (Interstellar), Darlene Hunt (The Big C), Don Kurt (Justified) and Jeff Orkin (Dark Skies).Highston, meanwhile, follows a 19-year-old with a group a celebrity friends that only he can see. Bob Nelson (Nebraska) is writer, with Sacha Baron Cohen (Bruno, The Dictator), Todd Hoffman, (Love Stinks), Nelson and Todd Schulman (Bruno) executive producing.Dark comedy One Mississippi is loosely based on Tig Notaro’s life, and follows a woman’s struggle to deal with the unexpected death of her mother and her complex re-entry into her childhood town.Coproduced with FX Productions, Notaro is writing and executive producing with Juno’s Diablo Cody, with Louis CK (Louie), Blair Breard (Louie) and Dave Becky (Everybody Hates Chris) executive producing.Patriot is a political thriller about the life of intelligence officer John Tavner, whose assignment to prevent Iran going nuclear means he must forgo all safety nets and assume a ‘non-official cover’ of a mid-level employee at a Midwestern industrial piping farm.Steven Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) is writer and director, as well as an executive producer along with Gil Bellows (Temple Grandin), Glen Ficarra (Focus), Charlie Gogolak (Focus) and John Requa (Crazy Stupid Love).“Our latest pilot season brings together a diverse group of shows that we think customers will really enjoy,” said Roy Price, VP, Amazon Studios. “We have something for everyone in this season and I am excited to see which shows spark conversation amongst our customers and what they want to be made into series.”
The BBC has announced plans to move “beyond legacy MHEG technology” to industry-wide adoption of HbbTV 2.0.1.The UK public broadcaster said it plans to adopt HbbTV 2.0.1 in time for equipment manufacturers to build HbbTV into 2018 product cycles and will remove the MHEG requirement from the ‘BBC Interactive HTML application’ specification.It also said it will work with industry partners to align other specifications such as the DTG’s D-Book, the Freeview Play specification, and Trade Mark Licence framework managed by Digital UK and Freeview.“The BBC, working in collaboration with Freeview, DUK and the DTG, intends to accelerate the adoption of international standards around interactive TV in the UK market,” the BBC said in a statement.“Working in close consultation with manufacturers and other affected parties, a plan will be developed by the BBC, Freeview, Digital UK and the DTG by September 2016. It will then be shared publicly in relevant industry forums.” The BBC said the plan will include the development and sharing of test applications to allow manufacturers to ensure correct behaviour of new HbbTV-based services. It claimed this addresses feedback received from manufacturers while balancing the needs of audiences to “drive the industry forwards and provide a better environment for UK free-to-air services”.In a statement the DTG said it welcomes the BBC’s plan, with DTG CEO Richard Lindsay-Davies commenting that it is working on a plan with the BBC, Freeview, DUK and DTG Members to deliver a solution that “works for both the industry and consumers with their varied viewing preferences”.“We are all supportive of a well-managed migration from MHEG to HbbTV and as the only mechanism that has successfully universally deployed, interoperable, interactive television services, the D-Book continues to lead the way forward in helping the industry deliver television to viewers.”
Samsung has launched what it described as its “smartest TV ever” ahead of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.The new QLED TV series – Q9, Q8, and Q7 – is designed to let users control “most connected TV devices” from a single source, with the Samsung Smart Remote.Viewers can also use their mobile device to select and start live TV programs and video-on-demand services using Samsung’s Smart View mobile app.“In 2017, Samsung is focused on the continued evolution of its much lauded Smart TV offering, giving people the simple, unified user experience they want for all their entertainment content,” said the company.Samsung claimed that the QLED TVs offer “dramatically improved colour performance” and are capable of reproducing “100% colour volume”.HyunSuk Kim unveils the new line“With the advent of QLED TV, we provide the most true-to-life picture on screen,” said HyunSuk Kim, president of the visual display business at Samsung Electronics.Other new design features include a single, transparent ‘invisible connection’ cable, through which all peripheral devices can be gathered and connected to the TV.The news comes after Samsung announced it would introduce new smart TV services at CES this week, including personalised Sports and Music offerings.
Liberty Latin America has completed its split-off from Liberty Global, establishing it as an independent publicly-traded company.Liberty Latin America president and CEO, Balan NairThe completion of the previously announced split-off establishes Liberty Latin America a ‘pure play’ independent telecoms company focused on Latin America and the Caribbean with 6.4 million homes passed, serving 5.3 million revenue generating units and 3.7 million mobile subscribers.Liberty Latin America’s businesses include: Cable & Wireless Communications (C&W), which operates in the Caribbean, Latin America and the Seychelles; VTR in Chile; and Liberty Cablevision in Puerto Rico.“The split-off of our Latin American and Caribbean operations from Liberty Global will ensure that this new company will have access to the capital and resources necessary to achieve superior financial and strategic growth,” said Liberty Global CEO and Liberty Latin America executive chairman, Mike Fries.“The launch of Liberty Latin America is an exciting moment for all shareholders and a clear confirmation of the opportunity for value creation in the Latin American and Caribbean region.”Liberty Latin America president and CEO Balan Nair said: “Today marks an important milestone for Liberty Latin America as we begin the path forward as an independent company focused squarely on the region.“I see tremendous opportunity to bring world-class technology, innovation and scale to our operations, expand our network coverage, and deploy exciting new service offerings to our residential and business customers.”With the split-off, Liberty Latin America Class A and Class C common shares are now trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbols “LILA” and “LILAK,” respectively, and the Class B common shares are quoted on the OTC Markets under the symbol “LILAB”.
US TV network NBC is to provide over 50 hours of live virtual reality coverage of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in partnership with Intel.NBC will use Intel’s True VR technology to deliver VR coverage of the games to authenticated users with Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Samsung Gear VR, and both Google Cardboard and Google Daydream, with compatible iOS or Android devices via the NBC Sports VR app.According to NBC, this will be the first time that Olympic VR programming will be available live in the US on siuch a wide range of devices and platforms.The 50 hours of live VR programming, which will be supplied to the broadcaster by Olympic Broadcasting Services, will include the opening and closing ceremonies as well as coverage of alpine skiing, curling, snowboarding, skeleton, figure skating, short track, ski jumping, ice hockey and big air.NBC will also provide VR replays of previously live-streamed events, one daily 360° degree video of a sport not available in VR the previous day and packaged highlights from the previous cay’s events.Intel’s True VR technology employs multiple camera pods at each event to create interactive 360° virtual reality environments. Viewers will be able to customise their experience by switching between multiple vantange points, hear natural sound captured at each camera location to provide a truly immersive experience, and enjoy real-time stats, leaderboards and post-event results.“The Olympics have long been an opportunity to showcase emerging media technology. With the help of Intel’s industry-leading virtual reality technology, NBC Olympics will deliver a transformative experience that will bring to Olympic fans an entirely new perspective on the speed, thrills, and excitement of an Olympic Winter Games,” said Gary Zenkel, president, NBC Olympics.“The Olympic Games is a unique opportunity to bring people from around the world together to build camaraderie and cheer for their favorite athletes. We are enabling a truly immersive experience, where fans get closer to the action than ever before allowing them feel like they are sitting in the stands for a front and center view of history being made,” said James Carwana, vice president and general manager of Intel Sports Group.
Star Trek: DiscoveryStar Trek: Discovery, the CBS All Access show that is distributed internationally by Netflix, topped Parrot Analytics’ most recent look at trending digital originals in the Irish market.Star Trek: Discovery garnared an average of 313,215 in-demand expressions – Parrot’s measure of how well a show is doing – in Ireland for the week ending February 25.Parrot Analytics analyses the demand for recent popular digital titles across international markets, based on the application of artificial intelligence to expressions of demand across social media, fan sites, peer-to-peer protocols and file-sharing platforms.Netflix began airing the first season of Star Trek: Discovery in February, with a second season promised for next year.Interest in the show placed it well ahead of the number two programme in the Irish list, Amazon Video’s The Grand Tour, with 233,165 expressions.Other than The Grand Tour, Netflix shows dominated the Irish list, with Stranger Things, Altered Carbon and Black Mirror completing the top five.Other shows in the top 10 included The Crown, Orange is The New Black, Narcos and Dark, all Netflix shows. The only other non-Netflix title was number eight placed The Handmaid’s Tale from Hulu, which was aired by public broadcaster RTÉ in Ireland.
Graeme LynchAdvertising technology specialist SpotX has named Graeme Lynch as head of demand.Reporting into Ed Wale, MD of the UK and Spain, he will manage teams working with advertisers, media agencies, brands, demand-side platforms and all other buyers to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of their video advertising campaigns, according to the company.SpotX’s agency development and demand operation teams for the UK will report to Lynch with the responsibility to drive more revenue for the publishers, broadcasters, and app developers using SpotX in the UK. This will include advising buyers on approaches to programmatic video advertising, such as private marketplaces and curated marketplaces, as well as OTT television and mobile video advertising, according to SpotX.Lynch most recently worked at addressable TV specialist Sorenson Media where he developed the EU launch strategy, as well as managing relationships with agencies, broadcasters, and third-party data providers. He previously worked for companies including OMD, Fox Networks, Utarget.FOX, Specific Media and Adobe Ad Cloud, where he served as head of business development EMEA.Wale said: “Graeme Lynch brings many years of programmatic video advertising experience. An industry authority, he has a wealth of senior agency contacts and knowledge that he can tap into to drive more revenue for the media owners using the SpotX platform. As well as sales leadership, he has a strong technical understanding, from the specifics of addressable TV to cross-device planning and agency structures.”Lynch said, “Television and digital media are changing and SpotX is well-placed at the centre of this convergence. The SpotX team has years of programmatic video and digital TV advertising experience, which I saw first-hand at Adobe [formerly TubeMogul]. I look forward to working with the team to develop growth strategies for our clients, and SpotX.”
Social video ad spend in the US will grow 44% between 2019 and 2021 to reach US$14.89 billion, accounting for 30.4% of total video ad spend, according to eMarketer.The research firm estimates that Twitter’s US video ad revenues will pass US$1 billion in 2021, while Snapchat’s US video ad business will grow 19.9% year-over-year in 2021, reaching US$727.4 million.“Video has taken centre stage on social platforms that were once text- or photo-centric – including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, even Pinterest,” said eMarketer principal analyst Paul Verna.“Not only do younger users spend growing amounts of time watching video on these platforms, but they also share clips among their followers, potentially amplifying brand messages.”According to eMarketer research conducted in the fourth quarter of 2018, 60% of respondents said they use Facebook to watch digital video, while 35% used Instagram, 21% Twitter and 18% Snapchat to watch video.While YouTube is not included in eMarketer’s social network video ad spending forecast, 90% of respondents said they used the platform to watch video. The research sampled people aged 15 and over who watched digital video in the previous week.
With the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passing a recommendation to bomb Syria, including McCain’s amendment to directly support the rebels, we are moving toward a new rise in the war spending trajectory. For a historical perspective, below you see a chart I developed in 2007. It calculates the inflation-adjusted costs of the Vietnam War and estimates that the war with Iraq would cost over $1 trillion or 37% more than the Vietnam War. Expenditures in Vietnam led to a self-reinforcing cycle of higher interest rates and inflation during the 1970s—leading in no small part to Nixon’s decision to remove the $35 per ounce gold exchange rate for the dollar, and to interest rates eventually rising to almost 20%. This article is about why I think interest rates are heading higher, viewed through the context of the politics of the US government’s next war. While I’d prefer to convince the world to change its course toward a more peaceful future, given the futility of trying to do so, I’ll use my time with you today presenting data, analysis, and a few opinions about the economic consequences of the march toward war that US policy is now set upon. The chart below combines defense, veterans benefits, homeland security, the State Department, and defense-related interest payments, to create a more comprehensive picture of our military spending. The chart shows the dollars spent each year; no correction is made for inflation or the relative growth of our economy and population. Such re-jiggering would make World War II and earlier wars appear more dramatic. The key point is that the US is spending a huge amount of money on its international security. With each war, or rumor of war, that came along, military spending increased. Following Iraq, we added another war in Libya and extended the war in Afghanistan far longer than planned. The combined costs, by my calculations, have now reached around $3.4 trillion. My method is simple: I add up the military spending that exceeds the 2002 level for all the years since then. If we hadn’t been facing significant international conflicts, I believe the military spending baseline of $507 billion in 2002 would have remained fairly static. The $3.4 trillion is just the increase over that baseline to date. Using the modest projections from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), my estimate is that by 2018, all future increases combined could easily add up to another $2.5 trillion. It could be much more, and it might even be less, but the most reasonable expectation is that the current crop of politicians will spend at least at that level. Those who want war seem to be able to get war. That is my basic assumption. Along the way, Congress is supposed to deal with its self-imposed ceiling on federal debt, now set at $16.73 trillion. In fact, the operations of government have already exceeded that level, but the federal government is adept at playing Enron-like games. Current Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew says he can hold off hitting the ceiling until mid-October, when the government would hypothetically shut down without Congress’ authorization for a raise. For the record, Newt Gingrich actually forced such a shutdown to happen under the Clinton presidency, which resulted in the government being forced to actually take tangible measures to cut spending at the time. The chart below shows the amount of current outstanding government debt as reported by the Treasury. The flat line at the right of the chart is the suppression of debt financing the government is now undertaking in the attempt to avoid a shutdown. Being completely distracted by the situation in Syria, Congress is not addressing the fiscal issues, and time is running out. The last time this crisis became important was in 2011, when the stock market dropped, our government debt rating was downgraded by S&P, and Congress legislated the sequester on spending that only slowed but certainly didn’t reverse the government’s accumulation of debt. Of course, this debt crisis will be resolved, as it has been in the past, by raising the ceiling. The focus on war probably means that the immigration bill won’t reach final approval, that efforts to derail Obamacare won’t reach political mass, and we already know that gun control has pretty much seen its day and gone away. But war spending and government deficits are here to stay. The attitude of our leaders is clear: they don’t care what the people think, they will be moving ahead with more spending on wars, continuing to worsen the deficit, ultimately leading to further debasement of the currency. That means higher prices, leading to inflation, and higher interest rates. On that last point, as you can see in the chart here, the rate on the benchmark 10-Year Treasury is now just two basis points below 3% and moving higher as I write: There is, of course, much more to this discussion than time and space allow for here. In the next edition of The Casey Report, I’ll go into details on what’s coming and the specific actions you can take to successfully invest in an environment of rising interest rates. As it is standard policy at Casey Research to offer risk-free 3-month trials with money-back guarantee for all our publications, you can sign up to read my deeper research in the next edition of The Casey Report by clicking here.
TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) 15,569.92 15,187.71 12,845.06 Oil 93.29 97.38 108.37 Rock & Stock Stats Last Gold 1,268.80 1,284.60 1,372.60 One Year Ago Dear Reader, We want to know what you think. In his article below, Jeff Clark outlines several reasons to be bullish or bearish on precious metals. You know what we think, but we’re interested in your take—and your intentions. If you’re game, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and in 25 words or fewer, tell us your position and reasoning. For example: BOLD: Wall Street is due for a fall, and gold will rise in response. HOLD: Phony government numbers have fooled the public into thinking all is well, so gold may not rise for some time. FOLD: Obama saved us all, and you guys don’t know what you’re talking about. I only subscribe because I think Jeff Clark is cute. We may quote some of the more interesting remarks (light editing for grammar/spelling only), but will include only a first name and last initial to respect your privacy. Note that we recognize various points of view, which is why we have some bets on metals other than gold and silver—our platinum-palladium miner has worked out quite well this year, for instance—and we’ve taken out a new “gold insurance policy” via puts on GLD, in case the market turns against us for a while. The latter is already in the black, as of last week. Remember also that Doug Casey always says that smart speculators don’t put all their eggs in one basket, which is why these dispatches focus on metals and mining on Mondays and other market sectors on other days. Our colleagues in other Casey departments have some great opportunities shaping up. The right tech specs, for example, could hedge your mineral exploration specs. Some of our tech picks have already yielded triple-digit returns this year. As it happens, we’re offering subscribers our best bargain on a subscription package deal, but only for a limited time. When you upgrade your subscription to a Casey OnePass, you get ALL of our monthly newsletters for $1,749 per year. That’s over $2,000 off. Special discounts for Alert subscribers apply. Check it out, diversify, and don’t miss out. Sincerely, Louis James Senior Metals Investment Strategist Casey Research Gold Producers (GDX) 25.07 26.10 27.53 Silver 19.20 19.83 23.21 Silver Stocks (SIL) 12.75 13.70 15.09 Copper 3.16 3.20 3.24 Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ) 39.30 41.33 46.07 One Month Ago TSX Venture 994.89 993.87 947.78
By WVUA 23 Student Reporter Elizabeth ElkinExcitement filled the air outside Bryant-Denny Stadium as fans eagerly waited to get to watch the spring 2018 A-Day game on Saturday. Fans of all ages traveled from across the country to attend.“I’m very excited,” said UA student Tajma Henderson. “This is my first a-day, and hopefully we can see the rookies win today. Old ones have more experience, so maybe we can see the new ones win something today.”Henderson is a sophomore from Chicago, Illinois. She said football here is very different from football back home.“I haven’t really been much of a football fan, and so just to see these big crowds or something, that’s shocking to me,” She said. “I didn’t know that it was such a big sport for everybody here. It’s just good to be a part of that culture.”Tuscaloosa native Kathy Sharp brings her grandson to football games every chance she gets. Sharp attended UA in the 1970s and has been to every A-Day for the last 10 years. She said one thing keeps her coming back every year.“Love for Bama,” she said. “Roll tide.”
Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo returns to the playoffs in Toronto on Saturday afternoon. Except in Greece, where it’ll already be very early Sunday morning.They won’t mind staying up late in Athens to watch.Same goes for plenty of other places around the world at this time of year. All eight of the NBA first-round playoff series that start this weekend have international players involved, meaning the game’s global reach will be on full display once again.And as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said at the All-Star break, the league expects the international players to keep coming.“I grew up in Athens not having much,” Antetokounmpo said earlier this season. “And being in the situation and to keep pushing, keep pushing, it’s a great feeling because all the hard work I did in my life, it paid off.”Now the playoff stage again awaits Antetokounmpo, and plenty of other international players. By the NBA’s count, there’s 54 — including some with dual citizenship like Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving — from 28 different countries set to appear in these playoffs.Here’s some of the top international storylines for the postseason:___VAMOS, GASOLWe know a Spanish big man is headed to the second round.San Antonio’s Pau Gasol and Memphis’ Marc Gasol were on opposite sides in the 2015 All-Star Game, have gone head-to-head a slew of regular-season times — and now the brothers will face off in the playoffs for the first time.The Spurs and Grizzlies are a first-round series in the Western Conference.Once they actually take the floor, the Gasols will become the sixth set of brothers to meet in the postseason, joining the Mikans (George and Ed, 1949, 1950 and 1953), the Kings (Bernard and Albert, 1983), the Persons (Chuck and Wesley, 1996), the Grants (Horace and Harvey, 1999), and the Wrights (Dorell and Delon, 2016).___SIX SPURSSan Antonio has six international players on its roster this season.That’s down a few from recent years.The Spurs had nine international players when they won their most recent NBA title in 2014. Some remain, like Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills and Tony Parker. Davis Bertans, Joel Anthony and Pau Gasol are now in the silver and black as well.While the six Spurs are a lot, it’s not the most in these playoffs. Utah and Toronto each have seven international players on their playoff rosters.___FINALS REPRESENTATIONIf an international player appears in this year’s NBA Finals — almost guaranteed to happen — it would be the 24th consecutive year that at least one player who doesn’t hail from the United States got in the title series.There’s seven active players in these playoffs with at least one All-Star appearance that the NBA define as being international: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Marc and Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Al Horford, Kyrie Irving and Tony Parker.___VIVA LA FRANCEUtah’s Rudy Gobert and San Antonio’s Tony Parker are two of the six French-born players in this postseason, and they’ll be asked to carry big roles.Parker enters these playoffs 115 shy of 4,000 postseason points in his career. He’d be the second international player to reach that milestone — after only his longtime and now former San Antonio teammate Tim Duncan (5,172).Parker is also the NBA’s all-time international playoff assist leader. And he’s third in playoff steals by an international player, behind No. 2 Hakeem Olajuwon — and yet another Spur, No. 1 Manu Ginobili.Gobert is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate for the Jazz, and now gets to make his playoff debut.___THERE ARE OTHERS, TOONot all the best international players are in the playoffs.And that speaks to the depth of the foreign influence on the league today.Among players born outside the U.S., five of the top eight scorers this season didn’t reach the postseason. Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving was first, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo was third and Memphis’ Marc Gasol was sixth on that list — but No. 2 Andrew Wiggins of Minnesota, No. 4 Goran Dragic of Miami, No. 5 Joel Embiid of Philadelphia, No. 7 Danilo Gallinari of Denver and No. 8 Kristaps Porzingis of New York will all be watching the playoffs from afar.TweetPinShare0 Shares
TweetPinShare0 Shares CHICAGO (AP) — As consolation prizes go, it wasn’t much. But it’s all the MLS All-Stars have.“I believe the league showed a good face against one of the best teams in the world,” coach Veljko Paunovic said after his MLS squad lost a penalty shootout to Royal Madrid. “I’m going to repeat that over and over.“Five years from now, I think it would be great to face Real Madrid again,” he added, “and see where we are then.”After a 1-1 tie to end regulation, the visitors finally shook free from their determined hosts, 4-2, in penalty kicks before a sold-out Soldier Field crowd. The decisive kick was delivered by Marcelo, a starter who came on in the second half and sent his spot kick low right and past diving goalkeeper Stefan Frei.“People enjoyed it, which is the most important thing,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane said afterward.Then again, Zidane had the luxury of trotting out a second wave of starters early in the second half, nearly all of whom were better than any of the front-liners the MLS started the game with.Real made all four of its tries in the penalty round. Both Dom Dwyer and Giovani Do Santos, the first two shooters sent out by MLS, were stopped by Real goalkeeper Luca Zidane, the coach’s son, and the crossbar, respectively.Madrid took a 1-0 lead just inside the hour mark, after a clever through pass from Real’s Dani Ceballos that split the MLS defense and sent Borja Mayoral in alone against Frei. Mayoral’s right-footed shot barely beat a sliding tackle from MLS defender Dax McCarty before eluding Frei’s dive to his left.The All-Stars drew level in the 89th minute on a sequence that resembled a pinball game. McCarty headed a corner from Diego Valeri that bounced low off the right post and then hit teammate Kellyn Acosta. Dwyer, who’s made a splash during his brief tenure with the U.S. national team, came through the crowd in front of the net and his header from close-in tied the game.“It was a great atmosphere. It shows how much the game’s grown here in this country,” Dwyer said. “Obviously, Real Madrid’s going to attract a lot of fans, but it’s really grown here.”The match came at the end of Real Madrid’s summer tour and as expected, Zidane reached deep into his bench to begin the game. Without Cristiano Ronaldo, who did not make the tour, only four other players who started in the team’s Champions League final win — defender Sergio Ramos, midfielders Toni Kroos and Isco, and goalkeeper Keylor Navas — were in the starting lineup.Of those four, only Isco returned for the second half. But he left just past the hour mark as the second wave of Madrid starters — Marcelo was joined by Gareth Bale, Casemiro and Karim Benzema — trotted onto the pitch.MLS coach Veljko Paunovic responded with 10 new players after halftime, but that side was no more effective than the starters until Dwyer equalized.“The last minutes were tough for us,” he said.So was the early going.Madrid had nearly all of the good first-half chances and Mayoral missed the best one in the 27th minute with a curling drive from the top of the box that was wide of the right post. Ramos missed the most entertaining chance when he raced into the box alone and tried to chip goalkeeper Tim Howard just before halftime. The cheeky attempt flew over the crossbar.MLS defender Greg Garza suffered a separated shoulder just two minutes into the game when he was tackled by Isco near midfield and fell hard on his right side. He was replaced by veteran DaMarcus Beasley five minutes later.The All-Stars best chance in the opening half featured a deft pass from Kaka deep in the box that set David Villa up from point-blank range. But Madrid’s defense converged to smother the attempt.“We had to adjust our plan because of the injury to Garza,” Paunovic said.The match marked the 13th consecutive year the MLS team faced a top international side and dropped their record to 7-6, with two of the losses coming on penalties.
BALTIMORE (AP) — Buck Showalter has been fired as manager of the Orioles, who made three playoff appearances under his guidance but this year staggered through the worst season since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954.Showalter confirmed the dismissal Wednesday in a text message to The Associated Press.A three-time AL Manager of the Year, Showalter ranks second on the Orioles’ career list with 669 victories, trailing Earl Weaver. He took over in August 2010 and orchestrated the resurgence of a team that suffered through 14 straight losing seasons.Once hailed for making baseball in Baltimore relevant again, the 62-year-old Showalter is out of a job after a season in which the Orioles finished 47-115, 61 games behind Boston in the AL East. His contract expired at the end of October, and the Orioles opted against a renewal as they continue a major rebuild that began in late July, when they traded stars Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman for minor league prospects.Those deals were made by Dan Duquette, the executive vice president of baseball operations, whose future with the organization is up in the air.Showalter earned AL Manager of the Year honors in 2014 after taking the Orioles to the AL East title and a berth in the Championship Series. He was also named Manager of Year with the Yankees in 1994 and Texas in 2004. His career record is 1,551-1,517, including 669-684 with Baltimore.FILE – In this Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, file photo, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter walks in the dugout during the eighth inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader against the Houston Astros in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)“I just think ever since he came here, the franchise just gained a little more accountability, gained an edge for some time,” Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said before the final game of the season. “It’s the end of an era. A great manager, a great tenure. I don’t know if he’s going to coach or manage again, but he’s got grandchildren. Go golf. Relax and go sit on the golf course.”With his future in doubt, Showalter appeared undaunted during the final series of the regular season.“You know how good they’ve been to me? I’m not ever going to forget that, regardless of what happens,” he said.Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was asked before his team’s playoff game against the Yankees on Wednesday night whether Showalter was victimized by the trend toward analytics.“I don’t think Buck was a guy that ignored analytics,” Melvin said. “I think it was probably a combination of how they did this year and maybe some relationships.”After the Orioles brought Showalter out of retirement, he offered renewed hope by fashioning a 34-23 finish in 2010 for a team that was 32-73 upon his arrival.Baltimore ended a 14-year playoff drought in 2012, advancing to the AL Division Series following a victory over Texas in the wild-card game. Playoff appearances in 2014 and 2016 followed.Last year, however, the Orioles fell to 75-87 after losing 19 of their final 23 games. Baltimore hoped the addition of starters Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner would enable the team to be a contender this year, but a horrid start quickly dispelled that notion.FILE – In this Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, file photo, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter, right, embraces shortstop Jonathan Villar after a baseball game against the Houston Astros in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)The Orioles’ deficit in the AL East reached double digits by April 18 and they were 8-27 on May 8. By the end of July, Baltimore fully entered rebuilding mode, leaving Showalter with the dubious distinction of overseeing a team that finished with the poorest record in the majors and one that surpassed the 1939 St. Louis Browns for most losses in franchise history.Showalter never offered an excuse. He just grinded forward, working to prepare the team for 2019 even though he knew he might not be around to follow through.At the outset of a season-ending series against Houston, Showalter was asked if he was thinking these might be his final days in the Baltimore dugout.“We all have some private thoughts and emotions about that, but I don’t think it serves the organization well for me to be worried about that right now,” he said. “We’ve got some things to do these last four games that need to get done.”Showalter has a reputation as a no-nonsense manager, but his players appreciated his baseball knowledge and skill at handling a team. He made a point of talking to each of them on a regular basis, almost always offering encouragement.“He gave me a chance,” said catcher Caleb Joseph, who played six-plus years in the minors before arriving in Baltimore. “He believed in me in 2014, ran me out there and gave me a chance to be part of a championship team. He’s really vouched for me ever since. I owe a lot to Buck and his loyalty. He’s been a main figure here for a long time.”Sensing the end was near for the only big league manager he had every played for, first baseman Trey Mancini said: “It’s been an absolute honor to play for Buck. He’s been incredible.”—By DAVID GINSBURG , AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shares
AMSTERDAM — Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has suggested he may look for a new challenge if he can lead his team to the Champions League title this season.Tottenham is 1-0 down to Ajax heading into the second leg of the semifinals in Amsterdam on Wednesday.Asked whether he thought winning the Champions League would have been possible when he joined Spurs five years ago, Pochettino said: “Winning the Champions League? It should be fantastic, no? Close the five-year chapter and go home.”Pochettino was then asked if he was joking, and he replied: “It’s not a joke, why? To win the Champions League with Tottenham in these circumstances this season, maybe I need to think about maybe doing something different in the future.”TweetPinShare0 Shares