TWI Teams Up with Kangaroo.TV

The Tiger Woods Channel could be coming to a golf tournament near you.

TWI Interactive, the company that created the yellow virtual first-down marker for football in another life, is partnering with Canadian company Kangaroo Capital to bring its Kangaroo.TV technology to a stadium or other sports venue near you.

About the size of a CD case, the interactive flip-top device with a four-inch video screen and neck strap can be used in sports venues to monitor TV coverage and enhance it with a variety of interactive functions providing additional audio, video and data. So far, it has been rented at Champ Car race tracks in North America, at about $35 bucks per race, to monitor the main TV feed, alternate feeds, audio between driver and pit crew, stats replays, and more.

It will begin being used in NASCAR venues in an agreement signed last month, but TWI is thinking much bigger. "When we first put the yellow line in football, it struck us as a must-have," says Bill Squadron, head of North America for TWI Interactive, who was with Sportvision when it pioneered that technology. Kangaroo.TV, he says, strikes a similar chord.

TWI, a division of sports management powerhouse IMG, has a client roster that includes Woods, Wimbledon, The U.S. Open Tennis Championship and the U.S. Soccer Federation. Squadron sees great possibilities for expanding the device to those clients. Kangaroo.TV works off a low-power TV signal, temporary licenses for which are not hard to secure from the FCC, he says.

Because the devices are only for in-stadium use, Squadron says, Kangaroo TV will be able to secure access to the main TV feed for events, either U.S. or international, through the sports league, governing body or stadium rather than the TV rightsholder. He even envisions a camera following woods around at tournaments to deliver Kangaroo.TV watchers their own personal Woods channel.

Squadron does not see the device as a direct competitor to TV, or even cell-phone TV, but more of a "value added" for fans, who will be able to tailor their sports experience through the device's various functions.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.