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Comcast’s X1 Blends Sports with Interactivity

Looking to engage more deeply with stat-hungry baseball fans, Comcast has begun to roll out a data-driven, integrated interactive feature for its X1 platform that analyzes and illustrates pitcher-hitter and team-to-team matchups, tracks fantasy points, computes win probabilities, and shows which portion of the ballpark individual batters tend to put the ball into play.

That “Baseball Extras” capability, offered before, during and after live Major League Baseball games in partnership with a Philadelphia startup called OneTwoSee (subscription required), is going live this week as an enhancement to the Xfinity Sports App for X1, Comcast’s IP-capable video platform.

Going forward, Comcast’s plan is to offer similar interactive features for other sports, including NFL and NCAA football games, NASCAR races, pro and college basketball, NHL hockey, and professional soccer from several leagues, including Major League Soccer, the English Premier League, and some Spanish leagues.

The platform is being made to support “all major sports,” Preston Smalley, Comcast’s executive director, product, explained during a recent demo of the Extras product.  

Comcast is entering this new interactive game by licensing that data from several third parties. But to create the graphical renderings and illustrations that will accompany that data, Comcast is feeding that data a platform from OneTwoSee, a Philadelphia-based startup. The app itself is “native” to the X1 guide, meaning it comes in over Comcast’s managed IP network, not via a public Internet connection.

Baseball Extras will be offered pre-game, during the game and post-game. Before the game, viewers can pull up player and team stats and a stat-rich graphical preview. During the game, the system will show the aforementioned match-up scenarios, present fantasy information, and employ algorithms to determine a game’s general excitement-level using a rating of 1 to 10 (Thuuz Sports, an outfit that counts Dish Network among its partners, offers a platform for mobile devices and set-tops that relies on an excitement scale of 1 to 100). The Baseball Extras app will also offer a full post-game analysis.

Update: Comcast is providing its excitement-level rating in the "Extras" app for X1 based on an integration with Thuuz's algorithms, acccording to a Thuuz official, who notes that Thuuz is also a Comcast customer. 

The commercial introduction of Baseball Extras followed some earlier work Comcast and OneTwoSee did on X1 around some of the NFL’s post-season games, including the Super Bowl.

A deeper look at Sports Extras and Comcast’s partnership with OneTwoSee will be featured in the July 6 issue of Multichannel News.