Field of Dreams swings a TV reboot from The Good Place creator

The Kevin Costner classic gets another turn at the plate as Peacock greenlights a TV series written by Michael Schur.

Kevin Costner (left) in Field of Dreams.

Mike Schur seems like a safe pair of hands, although the material may be a little different from his usual speciality: As well as creating The Good Place, Schur co-created sitcoms Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The original Field of Dreams, meanwhile, was an emotional and fantasy-inflected story (with a bunch of funny lines). You can watch it on Peacock now if you need a reminder.

Based on the novel Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella, the Oscar-nominated Field of Dreams was written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson. Costner played a farmer who hears voices in his head telling him to plow his cornfield into a baseball diamond, attracting the spirits of baseball players involved in World Series match-fixing in the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal.

Costner emerged from the cornfield to deliver a spine-tingling intro to the 2021 Field of Dreams game, below.

MLB has promised a return to Iowa in 2022. Reports say the Cincinnati Reds will play the Chicago Cubs.

Sony-made MLB The Show 21 is coming to Xbox Game Pass at launch

Sony’s new Xbox game will be on Microsoft’s subscription service.

MLB The Show 21 is coming to Xbox Game Pass at launch.

Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s video game subscription service that offers access to over 100 games on its consoles and PCs. The base price is $10 per month for just the games access on either console or PC. Those who also want Xbox Live Gold for multiplayer gaming, EA Play for Electronic Arts games and the ability to play on phones and tablets through Cloud Gaming (plus access to both the console and PC versions of the service) can subscribe to Game Pass Ultimate for $15 per month.

The move is the latest in Microsoft’s efforts to build out its Game Pass library, particularly for sports gamers. Last month the company added 2K’s NBA 2K21 to its regular Game Pass offering, as well as EA Sports’ Madden 21 and NHL 21 to its Ultimate roster through the EA Play deal.

What makes Friday’s announcement surprising, however, is that unlike those titles, The Show 21 is made by Microsoft-rival Sony’s PlayStation Studios. With the ability to get it on Game Pass, the new game is more widely accessible on Xbox than it is on Sony’s own PlayStation 4 and PS5. The addition of Cloud Gaming support also means that, at least for now, the only way to play The Show 21 on the go appears to be on Xbox as Sony has long ceased making its own portable consoles, such as the PlayStation Portable and PS Vita.

As for what is behind this move, a statement from Sony places the spotlight on MLB.

“As part of the goal for this year’s game, MLB decided to bring the franchise to more players and baseball fans,” the company says. “This decision provides a unique opportunity to further establish MLB The Show as the premier brand for baseball video games.”

How 5G played a role in the Phoenix Suns’ historic NBA title run

The wireless technology gave the team an edge when it came to crunching the data on its players to find ways for them to improve.

Chris Paul and Devin Booker during the 2021 NBA playoffs.

The new tools helped general manager James Jones and the rest of the coaching staff better evaluate player performance and adapt in real time. Ryan Resh, the Suns’ head of data analytics, credits 5G with “pushing the NBA’s boundaries” regarding how the coaches train and teach their athletes.

The Suns’ use of 5G is an example of one of the many different applications of the wireless technology beyond higher speeds on your phone. The technology, rolling out across the globe, is expected to transform many industries, including sports. Professional and college teams are installing 5G in stadiums and arenas to improve the on-site experience, and apps are emerging that let fans view replays from different angles or feel like they’re a part of the action. Teams are exploring ways to use 5G to improve the performance of the athletes themselves by quickly collecting huge amounts of data — something that isn’t possible with 4G or Wi-Fi.

“5G is allowing us to … take those movements and those analyses and make them so real-time that the process just becomes iterative and seamlessly flows into the working procedure of our coaches and our players,” Resh said in an interview.

While sports teams have been using analytics to improve player performance nearly as long as sports have existed, 5G is emerging as a new way to make that analysis even more effective. The key is the technology’s high speed and low latency. Cameras and sensors can collect data and provide insight in real time, letting coaches instruct their players on the fly or detect injuries before they become bigger problems. For the Suns, the intersection between 5G and athletics made its mark this NBA season.

“The 5G lab keeps the Suns on the cutting edge,” Jones said in a statement. “That cohesion provides our staff with unparalleled opportunities to efficiently unlock each athlete’s fullest potential.”

The need for real-time data is becoming more and more important in sports. Prior to the rollout of 5G and installation of sensors and cameras in arenas, players were used to waiting until the next day to review film highlighting in-game mistakes. While players and coaches still review film after games, the 5G lab offers data within milliseconds — something that once took several minutes to calculate.

“Coaching has been around for thousands of years, where coaches go out there and with their gut, they watch things,” Brian Mecum, vice president of device technology for Verizon, said in an interview. “Well, how about if we trust data, and how about if we flip it and trust what science is telling us by what it can measure?”

While Verizon is building 5G in more than 60 stadiums and arenas, its partnership with the Phoenix Suns is different. No other team working with Verizon uses 5G to help with real-time analytics.

5G helps the Suns coaching staff quickly gather and crunch data from three different tools. With a technology called Noah, the players are able to get real-time feedback, live and automated in-game data, and in-depth post-practice and game analytics. For instance, the practice center’s hoop is equipped with sensors that allow Noah to track the arch consistency, the depth and the left and right trajectory of the ball. Coaches will be able to compare subpar performance against a player’s peak, letting them know instantly what places or situations on a court have the best odds for sinking a shot.

“It gets down to centimeter accuracy, and it also has the ability to look at things in three dimensions [along] the X, the Y and the Z axis,” Verizon’s Mecum said. A player may not be able to tell in real time why their shots aren’t going in without the in-depth arc and angle analysis Noah provides.

“This team took and learned that sometimes players were spending too much time shooting, for example, they were taking too many shots and that was affecting the effectiveness of their shots,” Mecum said.

Adding Noah to the Sun’s practice facility has shown real results for the team. One younger player had a tough time consistently sinking his shots. With Noah and the tracking sensors installed in the rafters above the hoop, the coaching staff was able to show the player where his jump shots typically landed and where his performance was the weakest.

“That was enlightening to him because it allowed him to accept that his mechanics may not be as consistent as he wants them to be, which is not something that you really feel, in real time,” Resh said. “His work did eventually pay off in the playoffs, and he was our best three-point shooter.”

Another analytics source used by the Suns is called ShotTracker. Players and coaches are able to use a sensor-based system that generates shooting analytics stats to teams — and fans — thanks to a sensor placed on the ball. Players must also wear a small tracking device, and there are sensors in the rafters above the rim to pinpoint the location of the shot. Specifically, more than 100 sensors communicate to the coaches in real time what players are doing (or not). This allows both players and coaches to go back and review how many shots were taken and exactly where they were shot.

The final piece of the Suns’ technology expansion relates to lateral movement off the court. With the help of Simi’s motion capture cameras, coaches are able to track players’ abilities both before and after injuries. A returning player may feel they are back to normal, but coaches are able to see in real time if the player is healed or not by comparing the post-injury performance to the player’s baseline. The Suns are using Simi in the weight room to track static movements — but have hopes to one day use Simi to predict how players move on the court.

In the practice facilities, the Suns’ are also using Bertec’s 3D force plates in combination with Simi’s cameras. The Bertec plates, which players stand on, are able to track a player’s gait, jump and balance while Simi captures the movement in real time. Simi shows the coaches, the movement, while the Bertec plates provide data about pressure and other characteristics.

“While Wi-Fi can accomplish that, what 5G does is it makes it so fast [and] the latency is so low, that as soon as a player is done jumping, [the data is] there in front of them,” Resh said

Latency is the response or lag time between sending a signal and receiving one back, and 5G’s shorter latency is how it makes a difference in sports analytics.

“You want to reduce the delay as much as you can to give [people] real-time experiences,” said Technalysis Research analyst Bob O’Donnell. “Every little bit helps.”

3G networks had latencies in the hundreds of milliseconds, which is an appreciable fraction of a second. 4G networks, which enabled smartphones and all of the apps we use today, started with latencies of about 100 milliseconds and now are down to a range of about 30 milliseconds to 70 milliseconds. 5G aims to get to 1 millisecond, but it’s currently at about 20 milliseconds to 30 milliseconds, which is faster than the human eye blinks, Verizon’s Mecum said.

Fans are able to view a game from multiple camera angles.

An essential piece of the Suns’ practice facilities and arena is their use of millimeter wave 5G. MmWave is a band of radio airwaves that provides super-high speeds but can only travel short distances and gets blocked by objects like windows and trees. For sporting venues, though, those downsides aren’t an issue. Teams can easily install towers where needed in stadiums and arenas. MmWave’s ability to handle a huge number of devices on one network, at the same time, is ideal for fans during a game.

With the Suns’ stadium app, fans are able to receive feedback similar to what the coaches see while watching the game. The app is available to users with or without 5G phones. Seven different camera angles let fans view replays and real-time stats on the players. The app is available both in the stadium and at home. “You can go back and look at replays, and you’re in control instead of waiting for the jumbotron,” Mecum said.

Suns’ players and coaches are also able to get real-time feedback that lets them make live adjustments. The speeds needed to interpret this data captured during the Suns’ practice is only available over 5G, the coaching staff says. Neither Wi-Fi nor 4G can produce the results as quickly.

For now, the Suns are only using real-time analysis over 5G in the team’s practice facility. The NBA has strict guidelines surrounding what data collection is available in-game and doesn’t allow the kind of analysis the Suns perform in the practice facility.

The Suns aren’t the only ones interested in the numbers. Sports analytics bridges the gap between team stats and interpretation. When teams crunch data, the goal is almost always to figure out where performance fell short. After establishing areas in need of improvement, teams can optimize practice time using the data found from analytics. It’s a big business — the global sports analytics market size is expected to grow from $1.9 billion in 2019 to $5.2 billion by 2024, according to a report from MarketsandMarkets.

“When you are a professional athlete, standing on your feet just moving around a basketball court is actually considered work,” Resh said. “When you don’t have a ton of time to practice, you have to make your practices as efficient as possible.”

As the intersection between sports and analytics continues to grow, there is a need for 5G and real-time data, said Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin. Many sporting venues are incorporating 5G and mmWave to receive feedback as quickly as possible.

Perhaps the best-known example of sports analytics was captured in the 2011 film Moneyball. The movie, based on the Oakland Athletics baseball team, explained how analysis and statistics alone could lead to victories.

Brad Pitt played then-A’s general manager Billy Beane, who put together a winning team utilizing analytics and minimal funding. He studied sabermetrics, “the objective knowledge about baseball,” to rebuild the team on a low budget. Through studying these analytics, he led his team to a 20-game winning streak, the longest one in franchise history.

While the Suns can use 5G to track performance in the practice arena, the coaches aren’t able to do such analysis in the arena. Instead, Second Spectrum exclusively partners with the NBA, as well as soccer’s Premier League and Major League Soccer, to provide in-game player tracking.

After an initial response, Second Spectrum didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Players, coaches and fans can use Second Spectrum to access years of game history and find game playbacks within seconds. The company uses machine learning and computer vision to form a tracking system. It’s able to collect 3D data live from cameras within the arenas and then generate reports showing player location, player stats and the type of play in progress.

Even though the Suns didn’t come out on top this season, the conversation around what 5G has provided is just beginning.

“That real-time feedback is what we found to be the best method of teaching and learning for our players and for our coaches,” Resh said.

CNET’s Shara Tibken contributed to this report.

Correction, 11:19 a.m. PT: This story initially misstated the Phoenix Suns’ history with the NBA Finals. The team has made it three times, in 1976, 1993 and 2021, losing each time four games to two.

Baseball NFTs are coming from Topps

These trading cards don’t come with any bubble gum.

Baseball cards are going digital.

Each token will use the WAX blockchain to keep a record of the ownership of each card, which can also be sold or traded on a global marketplace. Those who want to start collecting will need to open a free WAX Cloud Wallet.

For those unfamiliar, NFTs are unique digital tokens tied with certain digital assets such as a highlight video, a tweet or a picture. What takes a bit of open-mindedness is understanding that the token acts as a certificate of authenticity for the digital asset, but it doesn’t mean that picture or video is yours as you won’t own the intellectual rights. However, NFTs can be worth big bucks, such as the first-ever tweet going for $2.9 million, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski trading cards going for $1.8 million and even one guy making $85 selling his farts.

How to rewatch the opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics

Missed the opening ceremony? Here’s how to rewatch…

The Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony takes place at Japan’s new Olympic Stadium.

NBC rebroadcast the event at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. PT) Friday, but that’s been and gone. Thankfully, NBC’s Peacock streaming service also has a page for the opening ceremony, noting it will be streamable the day after it airs.

In addition the Opening Ceremony and the replay will also stream in 4K HDR on two services, FuboTV and YouTube TV. See below for details.

Read more: Tokyo Olympics: Watch in 4K HDR with FuboTV, YouTube TV or broadcast

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue plan includes NBC, but only in 11 major markets. Unless you live in one of those markets, you won’t be able to stream NBC live. Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area. Read our YouTube TV review.

To watch in 4K HDR you’ll need to subscribe to be signed up for the company’s new 4K option that costs an extra $20 per month on top of the $65 regular monthly rate — although there’s a 30-day free trial that’s long enough to last through the entire Olympics. The 4K feed isn’t available in every market however; here’s the full list.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code. Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and includes the five NBC channels. Click here to see which local channels you get. Read our FuboTV review.

Unlike YouTube TV, Fubo’s 4K coverage of the Olympics doesn’t cost anything extra. Unfortunately it’s only available in five markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth and Boston.

AT&T TV’s basic, $70-a-month package includes NBC. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live. Read our AT&T TV Now review.

Peacock offers three tiers: a limited free plan and two Premium plans. The ad-supported Premium plan costs $5 a month, and the ad-free Premium plan costs $10 a month. Peacock won’t show the Opening Ceremonies live but you’ll be able to watch the replay on either of the Premium plans. Read our Peacock review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials (except Peacock, which just has a free tier), and all allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

In the UK the BBC and Eurosport have the rights to the Tokyo Olympics. It was broadcast live on BBC One and available to stream on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website. Now it’s over, you’ll be able to catch up on iPlayer.

Much like in the UK, the Tokyo Olympics is available to watch on free-to-air TV. The opening ceremony will be available to rewatch via the 7plus streaming service.

Want to watch the Olympics via a streaming service from another country, or in another language? Try a VPN to change your IP address. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

UFC 260 Miocic vs. Ngannou: Start time, how to watch or stream online, full fight card

UFC 260 is just about to start. Here’s everything you need to know…

UFC 260 will be the second time Stipe Miocic has faced off against Francis Ngannou.

Sadly the co-main event, a compelling contest between featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski and jiu jitsu savant Brian Ortega has been cancelled after Volkanovski tested positive for COVID-19.

Here’s everything you need to know.

This year the UFC entered into a new partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 260, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 260 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 260 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

Based on previous UFC times, this is the schedule we expect…

Given how volatile and fluid previous fight cards have been in the COVID-19 era, expect this one to chop and change. Here’s where we’re at right now…

Champions League: How to watch or stream online

Barcelona attempt to get one back against a seemingly unstoppable PSG.

Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are leading the next generation of world beaters as Ronaldo and Messi inch towards retirement.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Your best bet is signing up with Paramount Plus.

All the details on Paramount Plus’ online coverage of Champions League matches can be found here. Paramount Plus doesn’t just have access to this match in particular, but all Champions League matches. You’ll also be able to watch all matches in the Europa League, the second-tier European competition.

Univision has the rights to the US Spanish broadcast of the Champions League, however. You can find out more here.

If you want to watch Champions League football in the UK, our recommendation is sign up with BT Sport.

BT Sport is streaming all the Champions League matches, but it also gives you access to a bunch of other good stuff, like UFC, so it’s worth getting.

Much like the English Premier League, Optus Sport is showing all the Champions League matches in Australia.

If you care about watching soccer at all, the Optus Sport deal is a good one. Especially if you follow the EPL which, being the most high profile league on the planet, most soccer fans do.

Disclaimer: I subscribe to the service and love it. Easy access to all matches on my smart TV and works nicely with a mobile app.

T-Mobile’s free MLB.TV offer is now available ahead of 2021 Opening Day

The carrier’s wireless customers will get free baseball as the long-running promotion continues.

Read more: MLB 2021: How to watch the Dodgers, Mets, Yankees and more baseball without cable

From there you will log into or create an MLB.com account that will link to the free MLB.TV offer and allow you to watch baseball on the MLB app on phones, tablets, computers, game consoles and smart TVs.

T-Mobile has offered the MLB promotion for years. Last year, alongside a pandemic-shortened baseball season, it also included a free one-year subscription to sports publication The Athletic.

Those interested in the free MLB.TV offer will need to sign up for the perk before it expires at 1:59 a.m. PT (4:59 a.m. ET) on Tuesday, April 6.

Carl Nassib is first active NFL player to come out as gay: What to know

Nassib, who plays with the Las Vegas Raiders, donates $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit focused on LGBTQ+ suicide prevention.

“I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” Carl Nassib said.

“I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary, but until then I’m going to do my best to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate.”

Nassib also donated $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a US nonprofit that focuses on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ+ youth. June is Pride Month.

Although Nassib is the first active NFL player to come out, Michael Sam, another defensive end, came out as gay in 2014. He was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2014 but ultimately didn’t make the final roster after playing in the pre-season.

Other NFL players, like David Kopay and Roy Simmons, came out as gay after retiring from the NFL. Simmons said he never came out during his playing career for fear of destroying his career. “The NFL has a reputation,” he once said, “and it’s not even a verbal thing — it’s just known.”

Carl Nassib is a defensive end who currently plays for the NFL team the Las Vegas Raiders. He is a five-season veteran of the NFL, having previously played for the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He played for Penn State Nittany Lions in College and was extremely successful, becoming a consensus All American and winning the Hendricks Award for the nation’s top defensive end in 2015. He also received the Lombardi Award as the best college football lineman or linebacker.

In March 2020, Nassib signed a three-year, $25 million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he was “proud” of Nassib for “sharing his truth.”

“Representation matters,” he said. “We share his hope that someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season.”

The Raiders also showed their support. “Proud of you Carl,” the team tweeted.

While some social media reaction has sadly been focused on Nassib’s coming out not being an important issue, most have universally supported the athlete.

“I am just one person,” said Nassib. “I am a lanky walk-on who is living his dream. Thank you everyone for your support.”

Sling TV’s new Barstool Sports Channel arrives just in time for kickoff

The channel will incorporate existing programming from the franchise as well as an exclusive college football show.

The channel will incorporate shows such as Barstool College Football Show, The Pro Football Football Show and the Sling-exclusive The Brandon Walker College Football Show, which “will debut tonight at 6 p.m. ET, and will be live each Monday-Thursday at 6,” Walker said in a blog post.

This week the Locast service, which also offered free, over-the-air to Sling TV subscribers, suspended its service following a court case. As a budget live TV streaming provider Sling TV offers only limited access to broadcast TV.

Read more: How to watch, stream the NFL in 2021 without cable