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🏈 😷 👓 Latest Tech in Sports? NFL Oakley’s Face Shield Concept. VR training for Soccer.

🏈 😷 👓 Latest Tech in Sports? NFL Oakley’s Face Shield Concept. VR training for Soccer.

Dear Friends and Members,

Last week Real Madrid won another Laliga title after winning 10 straight games since Laliga season resumed. The MLS, EPL, Bundesliga seasons continued as well. Leo Messi picked up a record Seventh Pichichi as LaLiga’s top scorer with 25 goals. Formula One also recorded its first positive coronavirus tests since returning to racing at the beginning of July. Of note, F1 has conducted almost 14,000 coronavirus tests since this cycle of events started and on Friday recorded two positives.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, Harena announced Rezzil’s VR pro training and analytics for U.S. youth soccer. Google invested in Reliance Jio, which announced ‘Jio Glass’, a Mixed Reality Headset for 3D interactions. The F1 Federation also teamed up with Zoom. In the wearable and connected fitness world, Fitbit announced three new features on the Fitbit Charge 4. The NFL, in association with Oakley, also revealed a face shield concept to prevent coronavirus spread. Lastly LPGA also partnered with WHOOP.

Later this week we also plan to announce a major initiative which is the next phase of the Upside newsletter and will bring our community of 2500 sports tech, health (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, EPL, Laliga, Olympic teams…startups, VCs) closer. We also have new services and initiatives coming so stay tuned!

If you have any questions about The Upside, need help with business development or fund raising, want to join our community of thousands of sports and tech execs (pro teams, leagues, athletes, investors..), or want to have access to our premium content, please check out Sports Tech Advisors and contact us at info@sportstechadvisors.co

📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

👓 Harena brings Rezzil’s VR pro training and analytics to U.S. youth soccer

👓 Reliance Jio Announces ‘Jio Glass’, A Mixed Reality Headset For 3D Interactions

👓 F1 takes Paddock Club virtual in Zoom hospitality tie-up

⌚ Three new features land on Fitbit Charge 4 in update

⌚ Oakley, NFL reveal face shield concept to prevent coronavirus spread

⌚ LPGA to partner with WHOOP, supply players, caddies and staff with straps

🎮 Esports’ integration into media and betting

💸 Latest Investment Trends

📊 Tech Stats of the Week

📸 Snapshots of the Week

Let’s jump right into the insights and upside for all of these top stories


🎮 AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News

👓 Harena brings Rezzil’s VR pro training and analytics to U.S. youth soccer | Via: VentureBeat

Professional soccer players have used the Rezzil virtual reality platform for mental and physical training off the field, including drills designed to improve their decision making and overall performance. Today, the U.K.-based company announced a partnership with esports company Harena Data to bring similar technologies to younger players in the United States, enabling kids to enjoy VR training and analytics — a good way to keep the young athletes moving even when they can’t face opponents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rezzil’s program includes a collection of short, measurable drills that let kids kick a virtual ball, gathering information from thousands of data points as they naturally interact with virtual scenarios, including extreme game pressure simulations or gentler practice sessions. The system then assesses the player’s cognitive abilities, wellness, and skill level, which coaches can use over time to create “mentally resilient players” in the same mold as pro athletes.

For Harena, which already works with U.S.-based youth soccer associations, the platform means further expansion beyond its base of GYO Score esports and gaming data analytics customers into a more physical — though in this case, also virtual — space. It’s a smaller shift for Rezzil, which bills itself as a platform used in nine countries at every level of soccer from grassroots and educational play to European League and World Cup winners. Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Nike, and Adidas are just a few of the major names that already use Rezzil. One hiccup: The system isn’t meant for use at home, and it requires both a PC-based Vive VR setup and external tracking cameras, which is to say that young players should expect to use it as part of their team training, not individually. Organizations interested in the Rezzil solution can contact Harena here.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that this is a good move by Rezzil and Harena. Rezzil is already a leading player in the VR training world for soccer as Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Nike, and Adidas are among Rezzil’s customers. We think there is great potential for VR training in soccer. Historically VR training systems have been used by NFL, NBA, NHL teams. To learn more about VR training systems or VR in sports in general please check out our VR sports market analysis here.

👓 Reliance Jio Announces ‘Jio Glass’, A Mixed Reality Headset For 3D Interactions | Via: Mashable

Reliance Industries Limited recently announced the Jio Glass – a mixed reality headset at its virtual Annual General Meet 2020 that will allow users to have an immersive virtual experience using 3D avatars. Jio glass comes with a cable that can be attached to your phone and be connected to the internet. It weighs 75 grams and Jio has paid special attention to the graphics, ensuring that users get highest class visual experience. For audio, there’s a special and personalized audio system on the Jio Glass without any accessories attached to it. The audio system supports all the standard audio formats. Jio Glass supports over 25 applications and is great for attending office meetings, education purposes, etc.

So, you could be sitting at home and join a meeting with your colleagues in your office using Jio glass. It lets you attend these meetings in three-dimension where the other person can be seen in the form of a 3D avatar. Jio Glass offers smooth collaboration across devices and platforms to ensure you stay connected no matter where you are. You can also share presentations that can be viewed and presented on a large virtual screen in a virtual environment. People can also join in the call through a 2D video call format. Official Reliance Jio account mentioned on Twitter, “Jio Glass is making teachers and students come together in 3D virtual rooms and conduct holographic classes through their Jio Mixed Reality cloud in real-time. With JioGlass, the traditional way of learning Geography will now be History”.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that this is a good move by Jio to jump into the MR glasses space. We find the form factor of the Jio glasses appealing. Google also announced this week that it will invest $4.5B into the Jio platform, which will help Jio scale, and deliver on its roadmap. That being said it remains to be seen if Jio has what it takes to take share away from Microsoft in the MR space. Jio is also an unknown brand in big markets like the US. It is also unclear what the retail price of the Jio glasses will be which will be a key element of success.

Picture: Jio

👓 F1 takes Paddock Club virtual in Zoom hospitality tie-up | Via: SportBusiness

Formula 1 has signed a new digital deal with Zoom Video Communications to enable the roll out of virtual Paddock Club experiences during the motor-racing championship’s Covid-19-affected 2020 season. Due to the ongoing pandemic, F1’s first eight races are without the traditional in-person hospitality offerings. Hospitality is a key component of the F1 experience and business model, with the Paddock Club providing $358m (€314.1m) of its $2bn in revenue for 2019, so the companies have partnered to create a bespoke virtual hospitality experience for guests.

At the second race of the 2020 season, last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, guests joined the Virtual Paddock Club, through Zoom, and were afforded a range of experiences, including live updates and insight from legends of the paddock. Additional experiences will also be created from this weekend’s Hungarian GP onwards, in line with International Automobile Federation (FIA) regulations. The US technology company will provide an exclusive experience throughout the eight-race European season, and in addition, F1 will look to work with Zoom to expand the Virtual Paddock Club offering to its global partners and teams. The deal has been brokered by CAA Sports, F1’s exclusive sales agency and is initially intended to run through the 2020 season. Paddock Club tickets cost $3,800 for two days at European races. The Financial Times newspaper reported that the six-figure Zoom deal will not replace lost Paddock Club revenues, with F1 having no immediate plans to charge for the virtual events. Ben Pincus, director of commercial partnerships at F1, said: “We understood the opportunity Zoom presented to us, which was about delivering a live sporting experience for guests despite the fact much of sport is currently behind closed doors.

“Zoom by its very nature is about enabling and connecting businesses remotely and this partnership, which has been developed virtually, is an example of just that. We hope this will be the first of many innovations we roll out in the coming months for our partners. (..) Over the past few months, through Project Pitlane and Virtual Grand Prix races, we have seen the ability to innovate is imperative as we collectively adapt to an environment that continues to evolve.”

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that this is a great move by both Zoom and the F1 Federation. It will enable the F1 Federation to enhance the fans experience, drive additional revenues. For Zoom it will help the video collaboration platform drive the popularity of its platform. Zoom has seen a huge growth in the past few months and has now 200M+ users globally. Overall this type of partnership is part of leagues’s overall strategy to keep fans stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can check out our analysis on technologies that can help teams and leagues during COVID-19 pandemic here.

Picture: Zoom


🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚ Three new features land on Fitbit Charge 4 in update | Via: Wearable

A new update for the Fitbit Charge 4 is rolling out that’s bringing a bunch of new features to the fitness tracker. The first major update to the Charge 4 sees a Smart Wake feature land, which wakes you at the optimal part of your sleep cycle, rather than at a specific time. It’s a feature we’ve seen on various devices for a long time. The idea is that you set the latest alarm possible, and your Fitbit will try and find a period of light sleep in the preceding 30 minutes to wake you. The idea is that you’ll wake more easily and without that feeling of morning grogginess. The idea has been around since the dawn of fitness trackers, and Fitbit’s nemesis Jawbone included it on its devices back in 2014. However, the accuracy of sleep tracking via heart rate, tracking of sleep stages make this far less reliant on guesswork – thus more likely to be effective. Fitbit sleep tracking is some of the best in the business, so this is a great way of leveraging it.

The Fitbit Charge 4 has also received dynamic GPS in the latest update, which means the ability to use Connected GPS from a smartphone as well as the built-in GPS on the device itself. This is an interesting addition because the Charge 3 only used Connected GPS. The main benefit to users is more control over battery life, and Connected GPS is much kinder to the longevity of the fitness tracker itself. That’s going to be good news for users, because we found that GPS tracking on Charge 4 would only last a couple of hours. However, accuracy of Connected GPS can be hit and miss. The final new feature offers more control over the screen wake time. You can now have the screen stay illuminated for longer, which can be useful for workouts if you want the screen to me more easily glanceable. The update is rolling out now, so if you have a Fitbit Charge 4 it should be with you soon.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that these are good incremental features for the Fitbit Charge 4. It will help enhance the user experience. But will it help Fitbit drive its market share? It is unlikely. What Fitbit needs to do is to focus on adding new biosensing capabilities (e.g. hydration, BP monitoring..) to be able to take share away from Apple in the wearable fitness space.

⌚ Oakley, NFL reveal face shield concept to prevent coronavirus spread | Via: CBS Sport

In the name of health and safety, NFL players could be sporting a whole new look in 2020. The Oakley Mouth Shield — a product designed by Oakley in collaboration with doctors and engineers from the NFL and NFL Players Association to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus on the field of play — is expected to be distributed to all 32 teams over the next week, when it will receive a test drive on a much larger scale than it has gotten to date. Safety protocol negotiations are ongoing between the league and players. Currently, there is no mandate to wear a face shield, but the NFL’s medical experts are advocating for the use of the protective equipment.

“That’s certainly what we’re going to encourage,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer. “And we hope that we’re going to land on a product design that’s something that everyone would want to wear, because they’ll see the value and want that additional protection without any detriment to performance.”

The Oakley Mouth Shield is expected to be distributed to all 32 teams over the next week, when it will receive a test drive on a much larger scale than it has gotten to date.NFL The Oakley Prizm Lens Technology used by skiers, military personnel and, most recently, NFL players for enhanced color and contrast in their visors is featured in the new design. Plastic sheets extend down and attach to the face guard. There are airways and openings on the mouth shield but none that allow the direct transmission of droplets, according to the chair of the NFL’s engineering committee, Dr. Jeff Crandall. The mouth shield has already been distributed to the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers — two teams close to Oakley’s home base — per NFLPA medical director Dr. Thom Mayer, and has also been sent to various player representatives and equipment managers for feedback. Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon debate how players will react to the NFL’s new face shields used to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“We’ve only had it on a few players — we have 2,500 players in the league — but I was surprised that … claustrophobia has not been an issue yet,” he said. “I think it will be when we [have more players testing them].”

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe this is a good move by both the NFL and Oakley. NFL is one of the most physical sports where there are lots of contacts during games. Will that be enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when NFL games resume? It remains to be seen but the NFL is trying to find solutions which is good news. Oakley is well positioned there to help the NFL build a great product that help address this need.

Picture: NFL

⌚ LPGA to partner with WHOOP, supply players, caddies and staff with straps | Via: golf.com

The LPGA Tour is set to make its grand return to golf on July 31 at the Inverness Club. Similar to the PGA Tour’s return, there are a lot of questions surrounding the LPGA’s restart, including how it plans to keep players, caddies and staff safe and maintain the “bubble.” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan addressed some of these concerns during a press conference on Wednesday.

Enter WHOOP, which now has a deal with the LPGA, Symetra Tour and Ladies European Tour. The tours will procure 1,000 WHOOP straps for players, caddies and staff. The partnership is similar to that of the PGA Tour. PGA Tour players, namely Nick Watney, have seen success in using WHOOP data to help determine if they have been compromised by coronavirus. Watney, the first player to test positive on the PGA Tour, used his low overnight respiratory rate and recovery data as an indication he should get tested. Following Watney’s positive test, the Tour officially partnered with WHOOP to supply bands to all its players and caddies.

Following the PGA Tour’s announcement regarding its partnership with WHOOP, several LPGA players were vocal on social media about getting a similar system in place for their return.  During the Wednesday call, Whan also said the LPGA Tour is hoping to host fans and pro-ams starting with the second tournament on the schedule. This partnership with WHOOP could help make that hope a reality, especially with daily data that can aid in early detection of coronavirus cases.  Whan also detailed the LPGA’s plans for a safe return, with protocols mirroring those already rolled out on the PGA Tour. The LPGA’s final decision on fans and pro-ams is expected to come next week.

⬆️ The Upside:  We think this is a good move by the LGPA to help detect early signs of COVID-19. The Whoop band can detect and measure sleep quality and HRV which are key metrics when trying to detect COVID-19 at early stage. LGPA is not the first league or Player association to partner with Whoop. Whoop already teamed up with the NFLPA and teams (Duke..) and many NBA, MLB players have used the Whoop band to monitor their health.


🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 Esports’ integration into media and betting | Via: InsiderSport

Esports has become a hot topic ever since it rose to prominence in mainstream media. The topic has branched through every industry in the business sector and at CasinoBeats’ Malta Digital event, which highlights the countries growing opportunities in the world of iGaming, the popularity of esports and its sustained impact was raised again. During CasinoBeats’ ‘Malta: The esports opportunity’ panel, Eirik Kristiansen, the CEO of esportsbook Pixelbet, highlighted the growth of competitive gaming in recent years.

“Norway hasn’t really been at the forefront of the esports evolution especially with a neighbouring country like Sweden which is quite far ahead,” stated Kristiansen. “But in the recent couple of years we have seen a clear uptick there. (..) Esports is sort of becoming a part of different nations, they take pride in the young athletes that take part in different types of esports. Everything between FPS (first person shooter) to mobile, it doesn’t really matter. Finally you can see the countries embrace their athletes as well. (..) Now esports is a real contender and it’s respected all around the world.”

Due to esports’ upsurge in popularity, given the recent postponement and cancellation of sporting events, betting sites and broadcasters specifically turned to competitive gaming to fill its catalogue. This has led to a large increase in esport betting, particularly for sports centric titles such as FIFA and NBA2K.  Speaking about how the global health pandemic has affected esports betting, Stepan Shu, Head of Esports, Parimatch said: “We are discovering a lot of interest in esport games that are very similar to their sports. I even try to tell everybody right now that I’m trying to separate endemic esports, like Dota 2, CS:GO and League of Legends, and simulation. A lot of folks are very interested in FIFA, NBA2K and other stuff like this.”

“People at the age of 24 and under, they will switch into esports much more efficiently than older guys. They understand what esports are and for them so for them it’s not a problem just to switch and try to make bets for esports. Everything is growing, I cannot say it’s something unique but of course people are pushed into lockdown, they see a lot of stuff on Twitch and they made a bit more bets than before. So, we have increased in volume more than 20 per cent.”  

⬆️ The Upside: This should not come as a surprise to see esport betting on the rise due to COVID-19. Fans cannot attend esports arena to watch esport tournament and sports betting is another way for fans to take advantage of the growing popularity of the world of esport. In fact, in a recent study, gaming research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming estimated that the esports gambling market would reach $13 billion by 2020.


💸 Sports Tech & Health Investment (Fund raising, M&As) Trends — July 2020


📊 Key Tech & Biz Sports Stats of The Week

$40M: Without fall sports, Iowa State Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard estimates the department would incur approximately $40 million in unfunded expenses, including staff salaries and scholarships. The athletic department’s annual budget is $86 million, and the school as a whole is facing $73 million in revenue losses and costs related to COVID-19 thus far.

$10.4M: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are preparing its stadium for football fans after receiving $10.4 million in federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The funds could be used for more than 40 modifications “in order to open to the public,” if approved by the Hillsborough County Commissioner.

10M: Sony will make 10 million Playstation 5 units this year, doubling the initial projections for its new console due for release this fall. The boost in production comes as a result of the added demand for the next-generation console during the COVID-19 pandemic and an overall rise of interest in video games.

40K: ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ helped StockX sell 40,000 pairs of “Flint” Air Jordan 13 sneakers in June, the latest success for the sneaker, collectible, and apparel marketplace. StockX reported “double-digit gains” in search interest following coronavirus pandemic-related lockdowns in March according to its mid-year report despite average consumer brand interest dropping 9%, according to Cowen Equity Research. In total, StockX has now surpassed $2.5 billion in lifetime gross merchandise value.

10K: OverActive Media is planning an esports arena in Toronto that would have up to 10,000 seats. The arena would be built at Exhibition Place, near BMO Field, and be home to OverActive’s Toronto-based Overwatch and Call of Duty teams.

50x: Samsung said in a whitepaper that 6G, the still-in-development successor to the 5G connectivity standard, could be ready to be deployed as early as 2028. The company predicts that 6G could offer 50x the data transfer rates of 5G, supporting applications like mobile holograms and better virtual reality.

40%: Sports betting is showing signs of an uptick as live sports return. New Jersey’s sports betting handle jumped 40% in June compared to May. The state’s $165 million handle in June was also triple that of April’s $54.6 million, when sports across the globe had all but stopped.

11: 11 titles in 209 games as Real Madrid manager. It’s what Zinedine Zidane does

7: Leo Messi picked up a record Seventh Pichichi as LaLiga’s top scorer with 25 goals.

2: 2 years ago, France won the Soccer World Cup in Russia in 2018.


📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

Hala Madrid. Real Madrid are Kings of Spain once again.

👓 MLS & NBA Players Report to Orlando,FL. Google Buys North for $180M. Lululemon Acquires Mirror for $500M.

👓 MLS & NBA Players Report to Orlando,FL. Google Buys North for $180M. Lululemon Acquires Mirror for $500M.

Dear Friends and Members,

We hope that those of you located in the US spent a great 4th of July weekend. Last week MLS and NBA teams reported to Orlando FL to get ready to resume their respective competitions in July. The reality there is that players and coaches staff are being isolated and have to respect the social distancing protocol. It is the new norm in the world of COVID-19 we are living in but that is necessary to make sure that players and coaching staff are safe. Some players (e.g. MLS) have already tested positive to COVID-19 which is a reminder that even with all the proper measures there is always a risk.

In fact, since MLS training started in early June, +26 people connected to the MLS, including 18 players, have already tested positive to COVID-19. 668 MLS players have been tested for COVID-19, with a 2.7% positive test rate. The NBA, on the other end, recorded a 5.3% positive test rate when it announced its latest COVID-19 test results last Friday. Of the 302 NBA players tested, 16 tested positives. Lastly, the NHL has tested 250 players at club training facilities more than 1,450 times in total, with 15 players returning positive results.

On the social justice front, the Washington Redskins (NFL) and Indians (MLB) are looking into potential change their respective names. In addition, when the NBA resumes the season in Orlando, players will reportedly be allowed to replace their last names with statements on social justice. Most Formula 1 drivers also joined a ‘take a knee’ protest ahead of the start of the Austrian Grand Prix. The 20-strong field all wore black T-shirts, most with the messages ‘end racism’ across the front, while Lewis Hamilton‘s sported the ‘black lives matter’ slogan.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, Google bought AR glasses startup North for a reported $180M while Facebook revealed holographic optics for thin and light VR headsets. In the wearable and connected fitness world, Polar unveiled a new smartwatch, Garmin acquired algorithm startup FirstBeat and some new details on the Samsung Watch 3 got leaked. Lululemon also acquired connected fitness startup Mirror for $500M. In the world of esport, Everton announced ‘eFriendly’ initiative with Inter Miami CF.

If you have any questions about The Upside, need help with business development or fund raising, want to join our community of thousands of sports and tech execs (pro teams, leagues, athletes, investors..), or want to have access to our premium content, please check out Sports Tech Advisors and contact us at info@sportstechadvisors.co

📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

👓 Google Buys Smart-Glasses Maker North For A Reported $180M

👓Facebook reveals holographic optics for thin and light VR headsets

⌚ Polar Unite is a bargain sports watch – with one major omission

⌚ Here’s our first look at the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 smartwatch

⌚ Lululemon set to acquire home fitness startup Mirror for $500M

⌚ Why Garmin buying Firstbeat is big news for sports watches

🎮 Everton announces ‘eFriendly’ initiative with Inter Miami CF

💸 Latest Investment Trends

📊 Tech Stats of the Week

📸 Snapshots of the Week

Let’s jump right into the insights and upside for all of these top stories


🎮 AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News

👓 Google Buys Smart-Glasses Maker North For A Reported $180M | Via: PYMNTS.COM

Google’s parent, Alphabet Inc., confirmed on Tuesday (June 30) that it has purchased North, the Canadian startup best known for Focals, its $600 smart glasses. Terms were not disclosed, but The Globe and Mail reported the deal was worth about $180 million.

“North’s technical expertise will help as we continue to invest in our hardware efforts and ambient computing future,” Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of devices and services, wrote on the company’s blog.

He said Google is building toward a future where all devices just work together and technology fades into the background. “We call this ambient computing,” Osterloh wrote. For North’s employees, it won’t be much of an inconvenience. They’ll join the Google team in Canada’s Twin Cities, Kitchener-Waterloo, North’s hometown, Osterloh wrote. North Co-founders Stephen Lake, Matthew Bailey and Aaron Grant said the acquisition is a good fit and, importantly, they’re staying in Kitchener-Waterloo.

“Over the last while, it became clear that aligning with Google would significantly advance our shared vision,” they wrote on North’s blog. “We are looking forward to remaining in the region with Google.”

Despite dropping the price of its Focals to $600 last year from the original $1,000, North had reportedly sold very few pairs, The Globe and Mail reported. A source told them it was unlikely that the company sold more than 1,000 pairs since its launch in late 2018. Focals is an augmented reality (AR) device that supports notifications from Android devices. Compared to Google Glass, North’s smart glasses let Android users access any actions in their phone’s notification center, such as answering emails, retweeting and getting play-by-play sports updates. When Google Glass launched in 2013, the expensive device was glitchy, had a short battery life and was described by some as “dorky looking.” Google Glass was later abandoned by Google. But the report noted that just because something didn’t work six years ago doesn’t mean it can never succeed. North is convinced that its smart specs deserve a second run at greatness.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that this is a good move by Google. It is also a indication that Google will be focusing its effort on the AR consumer space again. They could leverage North’s patent and engineering team to offer sunglasses types AR glasses in the future similar to the North glasses. For North it should not come as a surprise to see the company being bought out as North laid off 40% of its staff a few months ago. Google is a good match as it has solid financial resources and can bring North’s consumer AR glasses to the masses.

Picture: North’s Focal AR glasses

👓 Facebook reveals holographic optics for thin and light VR headsets | Via: VentureBeat

Today’s virtual reality headsets are universally big — closer to goggles than glasses, and even then, larger and heavier than modern ski goggles. While Facebook has shown prototypes of bigger and more complex Oculus VR headsets, it’s made no secret of its interest in creating lightweight models that can be worn all day. Now it’s revealing a holographic optical architecture designed for thinner, lighter VR headsets, which it expects will appear in future “high performance AR/VR” devices. Discussed in a Siggraph 2020 research paper titled “Holographic Optics for Thin and Lightweight Virtual Reality,” the system uses flat films to create a VR display only slightly thicker than today’s typical smartphones. Facebook’s “pancake optics” design combines several thin layers of holographic film with a laser projection system and directional backlights, delivering either flat imagery or volumetric holograms depending on the sophistication of the design. Depending on how many color, lighting, and alignment-enhancing components a prototype contains, the thickness of the optical system can range from 11mm to just under 9mm.

There’s one major caveat: The technology isn’t ready for near-term deployment. As of now, Facebook’s researchers have three prototypes, including a full-color display that’s mounted on a test bench rather than wearable, and two wearable prototypes that deliver green-on-black imagery in either moving or static form. All of the prototypes use laser LCD illumination systems, and the three-laser full color prototype exhibits shimmering speckles, requiring a despeckler that’s fine for static images but leaves color noise when displaying dynamic content. In addition to developing a more performant custom despeckler, the researchers say that they could deliver a wearable full-color prototype by adding either a holographic backlight or lens, but need more engineering work to get to that point. At this stage, the researchers believe that the system comes closer to delivering a viable lightweight VR solution than Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 and Magic Leap 1, which are limited by roughly 40-degree fields of view, far less than is necessary to fill the eye with digital content. Over time, Facebook’s goal is to deliver both resolution matching normal human vision and a large viewing eye box so that eyes can rotate to see content rather than just staring forward at a small window. The headset could be used for everything from office productivity — displaying a virtual computer and other tools — to Facebook-powered social interactions and games.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that this is part of Zuckerberg’s vision to offer some slim hybrid AR/VR AR glasses in the coming years to help bring AR glasses to the masses. But there is still a way to go before seeing this product commercialized. Of note, Facebook will face fierce competition there as there are other companies working on holographic optical systems for mixed reality applications. For example, Apple-acquired company Akonia was working on solutions years ago, and has sought to patent a retinal hologram projector system among other XR display technologies. U.K. startup WaveOptics is another player, backed by China’s Goertek, while Samsung and Sony have backed a thin film holographic waveguide display from DigiLens. As an alternative, Germany’s Fraunhofer has developed microdisplays that are much smaller than traditional VR screens and can be brought closer to the user’s eyes, reducing the optical system’s volume by 75% and weight by 50%. At the end of the day, this is all good news for consumers.

Picture: Facebook


🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚ Polar Unite is a bargain sports watch – with one major omission | Via: Wearable

Polar has announced a new budget fitness watch – the Polar Unite – which aims to offer insights for workout and functional fitness fans, but not runners. At just £134.50 it looks an absolute bargain, but there is a catch: the Polar Unite does not pack GPS, and is simply designed as a partner for those wanting to focus on the effectiveness and performance of gym and all-body workouts, with a focus on recovery. The Polar Unite fits right into the mold of the Polar Vantage M and Polar Ignite, with sporty straps, a thin and light build and plastic construction.

It weighs 32 grams, so it will be pretty unnoticeable on the wrist, and uses the 43mm case size of the Ignite. That’s around the same weight as most fitness bands, such as the Fitbit Charge 4. It also packs in a bigger 174mAh battery than the Ignite, although lasts a day less in smartwatch mode. It essentially takes many of the features of the Polar Ignite, so Fitspark makes up a big part of the Unite’s feature set.

Fitspark is Polar’s fitness coaching system, which adapts your schedule to your physiological wellbeing, recovery and needs, as well as offering on-watch guidance through workouts. You’ll find that on the Polar Unite, as well as the recovery metrics you need. You’ll get data such as the time spend in heart rate zones, calories burned and the strain on your cardiovascular system, so you can recover properly. While there’s no GPS built-in, the Unite will use your phone’s if you take it with you. This is called Connected GPS, and is very much a personal choice whether this suits your needs. Many will take their phone for music/safety so it makes little difference. However, due to the placement of your phone about your person, we found that connected GPS data is less reliable than dedicated GPS from the wrist. Polar claims four days in watch mode with continuous heart rate tracking, and up to 50 hours in training mode with connected GPS – although there’s no way your smartphone will make it that long. The Polar Unite tracks sleep with sleep stages, makes use of the Nightly Recharge feature found on Ignite and the Polar Grit X, which monitors your autonomic nervous system (ANS) recovery. There’s also a fitness test, 24/7 heart rate monitoring (as you’d expect) and Serene – a breathing and guided mindfulness feature. For the price, the Polar Unite looks like a solid fitness watch, but just as we couldn’t endorse the Suunto 3 Fitness for a lack of GPS, the omission of this feature perturbs us. Yes there’s plenty of people out there that love to do functional fitness and other workouts that just don’t require GPS for runs and cycles. But this is a Polar watch, and GPS just seems a needless omission.

The Polar Unite is available now at £134.99 in black, white, pink, and blue, with size small and M/L wristbands included. You can pick it up at the official Polar store.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that the Polar watch is a good bargain but not offering GPS is a major omission. In addition the watch is fairly limited from a biosensing capabilties standpoint. It also does not support advanced sensors to measure things like HRV, hydration, and more. So we doubt that Polar will be able to take significant share away from incumbents like Apple or Samsung in the long run.

⌚ Here’s our first look at the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 smartwatch | Via: Wareable

Proper pictures of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 have leaked, and it looks like the South Korean giant’s next smartwatch will be a cracker. To catch you up, Samsung’s next smartwatch has widely leaked, and looks set to be called the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. No, you didn’t miss a generation, but it looks like Samsung will skip on to Watch 3 to avoid confusion with the Galaxy Watch Active 2. We thought that perhaps this would unify the line-up into one smartwatch, but given the styling of these leaked pictures, that doesn’t seem the case. Seen and shared by Evleaks, the Galaxy Watch 3 continues the traditional styling of the first Galaxy Watch. In the picture we see the 45mm Galaxy Watch 3, with a a stainless steel case (evident from the back), with two prominent pushers and a slightly notched bezel. We know that the new Galaxy Watch 3 is set to shrink in size to 41mm and 45mm case sizes, and pack in GPS, heart rate.

There’s no sign from these leaks of whether the bezel will rotate, which was a key feature of the original Galaxy Watch and is rumoured to make a return. However, it features the same textured bezel edge as the original, which could indicate that it will rotate for navigating the Tizen OS. The Galaxy Watch 3 pictured also comes with a fetching leather strap, though it’s not clear whether this will be a premium option – or it will ship with one as standard. Generally, sporty smartwatches ship with a silicone band, and given that the Galaxy Watch 3 will pack GPS and swimming features, it will be interesting to see whether this is an entry level option.

The Galaxy Watch 3 looks set to ship in August, and there’s an Unpacked event scheduled for 5 August 2020.

⬆️ The Upside:  The Galaxy Watch 3 does not seem to offer much surprises so far. It is also still unclear which new features the watch will offer to differentiate itself from its predecessors. Will the Galaxy Watch 3 support Blood pressure monitoring or hydration measurement? These are some of the key questions that still need to be answered. It will be critical for Samsung to offer highly differentiated features to continue to compete against Apple in the long run.

Picture: Samsung

⌚ Lululemon acquires home fitness startup Mirror for $500M | Via: TechCrunch

Lululemon today announced plans to acquire home exercise startup Mirror for $500 million. The fitness apparel company noted its plans by way of a press release, noting that it hopes to close the sale by the end of the second fiscal quarter of this year. The deal comes at a time when home workout solutions are in high demand. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely limited workout options for many across the world, and the continued closure of gyms has prolonged the problem. Even when they begin to reopen in different locales, it seems many will be wary of returning to a potentially high-risk enclosed space, so long as the virus continues to spread.

“In 2019, we detailed our vision to be the experiential brand that ignites a community of people living the sweatlife through sweat, grow and connect,” CEO Calvin McDonald said in a press release tied to the news. “The acquisition of MIRROR is an exciting opportunity to build upon that vision, enhance our digital and interactive capabilities, and deepen our roots in the sweatlife. We look forward to learning from and working with Brynn Putnam and the team at Mirror to accelerate the growth of personalized in-home fitness.”

The two companies have a relationship dating back to late last year, when Lululemon become an investor in Mirror. The $34 million Series B-1 brought in $34 million for the New York startup’s $1,495 reflective guided workout machine, valuing the startup at around $300 million. The company has raised a total of $74.8 million from investors, including Point72 Ventures, Spark Capital, First Round Capital, Lerer Hippeau and BoxGroup. Karlie Kloss and Creative Agency founder Kevin Huvane are also investors.

Mirror has been viewed by many as an alternative to Peloton’s wildly popular connected machines. There’s stiff competition in the category of connected fitness slabs, including Tonal and Tempo, but Mirror continues to be the biggest name of the bunch. The company came out of stealth onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2018.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a good move from both Lululemon and Mirror. For Lululemon it is a direct response to address Peloton’s competition. This acquisition will allow Lululemon to (1) tap into the fast growing Connected fitness market (2) Acquire a talented engineering team and new product offering and IP. (3) Acquire new users . For Mirror it is an opportunity for the company to give a good ROI to investors especially in the time of COVID-19 crisis. We also expect Tonal, a Mirror competitor, to become another key M&A acquisition target in the coming months.

⌚ Why Garmin buying Firstbeat is big news for sports watches | Via: Wareable

Garmin has bought Firstbeat, the company that powers most of its advanced fitness algorithms – and it’s big news for the wearables market. You might not know what Firstbeat is, but essentially it powers all the really fun parts of Garmin fitness watches. The Training Effect, Training Load, Performance Condition, Recovery Advisor, VO2 Max – and all data that uses heart rate variability is powered by Firstbeat’s algorithms.

Firstbeat doesn’t make any hardware, it just licenses the tech that make sense of the data from Garmin’s heart rate, GPS and motion sensors. But things have got interesting because Firstbeat has been providing the same thing for a lot of companies, and essentially helping other wearables provide Garmin’s USPs for less money. We’ve seen Firstbeat stats – the exact ones you’ll find on immensely expensive devices such as the Fenix 6 – appear on budget devices like the Huawei Watch GT2eAmazfit AresCasio G-SHOCK H1000 and even Xiaomi Mi Watch Color.

And these devices are coming and eating into Garmin’s piece of the pie. Garmin recently emerged as the third biggest manufacturer of smartwatches, behind Apple and Samsung. However, Huawei has already usurped it with monster sales in Q1 2020, and there’s evidence that Xiaomi, Amazfit and Oppo could start encroaching if they ever get their act together in the US. We’ve often wondered how Garmin will fight back against the budget tech coming out of China, which now feature accurate sensors at low prices. So Garmin has moved to secure ownership of some of its best features, and now it owns Firstbeat’s algorithms and licensing business. The first and immediate questions are about whether the company will still let third parties use Firstbeat tech. The short term answer is yes, as referenced in Garmin’s press materials and confirmed to DCRainmaker. “Firstbeat Technologies will continue operating its Wellness and Professional Sports businesses,” read the statement.

Licensing money will swell Garmin’s coffers, but it can also make decisions about which companies are allowed to compete with it. We’re sure that the likes of Amazfit and Huawei will soon replicate these features for themselves. But for now it puts the power back in Garmin’s hands.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a great acquisition for Garmin to enhance its product offering. It will be able to tap into Firstbeat’s engineering talent to build new types of algorithms which will enable the OEM to generate new health insights and features about its users. Analytics and advanced algorithms have become a key differentiator among wearable vendors and we expect other OEMs to acquire startups similar to FirstBeat in order to further differentiate their offering in the long run.

Picture: Garmin


🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 Everton announces ‘eFriendly’ initiative with Inter Miami CF | Via: InsiderSport

Everton has announced that the club will participate in an ‘eFriendly’ with David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF on 4 July as the Premier League side looks to strengthen its fan engagement initiatives. The eFriendly will see Richarlison take on Miami striker Julian Carranza in a three-game FIFA tournament on American Independence Day, the duo will also answer questions about their respective careers and interests.
Fans will be given the opportunity to win signed Everton and Inter Miami CF Shirts by the two players as part of the event, which will be broadcast on the Premier League club’s official channels from 5pm.

The initiative follows a long list of fan engagement opportunities that the club has launched in the last 12 months, including partnering with sleeve sponsor Angry Birds to integrate Jordan Pickford, Yerry Mina, Andre Gomes, and Goodison Park into the game.  Additionally, through the global health pandemic the club, along with many other sporting organisations have integrated esports into its initiatives in order to tap into a younger market. Due to lockdown guidelines halting many clubs from participating in any traditional promotional activities, most sides opted to use FIFA as a tool to ensure that interest doesn’t drop whilst the campaign was postponed.

It now seems that due the success of these events, alongside the uncertainty of planning tours outside of the UK, initiatives such as eFriendlies could be used by clubs in the future to increase their profile in other territories whilst travel restrictions still apply. The Premier League resumed its campaign earlier this month with Everton’s Merseyside derby draw against Liverpool being the most-watched top-division game in the UK by garnering an estimated 5.5m viewers. MLS will hope that its resumption, which is set to resume on 8 July at Disney World, will garner an increased viewership in the US due to the lack of live sporting events in the country.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a logical move from Inter Miami FC and Everton. Let’s keep inn mind that this announcement comes just a week after David Beckham entered the world of esport. This is another stepping stone for David Beckham to build an empire and become a major player in esport. Beckham is part of a global trend of athletes (Shaq, Steph Curry, Jordan..) that have jumped on the esport bandwagon in order to take advantage of this fast growing market which is set to reach $1.1B in revenue this year. You can check out our latest analysis: Esport: Hype Vs Reality.

Picture: Inter Miami FC


💸 Sports Tech & Health Investment (Fund raising, M&As) Trends — July 2020

  • Lululemon acquires home fitness startup Mirror for $500M. Via: TechCrunch
  • Google Buys Smart-Glasses Maker North For A Reported $180M. Via: PYMNTS.COM

📊 Key Tech & Biz Sports Stats of The Week

$171B: Jeff Bezos’s net worth hits a new record high of $171B.

$2.85B: As MLS expands, teams are moving away from the publicly-financed stadium route. There are currently seven teams developing privately-financed homes worth a collective $2.85 billion.

Stadiums in the works:

  • Austin FC – $260 million stadium and a $45 million training center
  • Columbus Crew SC – $300 million
  • FC Cincinnati – $250 million
  • Inter Miami CF – $60 million training facility and a stadium as a piece of a $1 billion development
  • Nashville SC – More than $325 million
  • Sacramento Republic FC – $252 million
  • St. Louis FC – $400 million

$900M: The NBA is projected to lose $1 billion even before the costs of Orlando were figured in, a number heavily driven by lost ticket revenue. However, the extra games will help the NBA retain millions in TV revenue, including approximately $900 million from the playoffs.

$500M: Lululemon is allegedly set to buy Mirror for $500M..note: Lululemon is one of Mirror’s investors.

$373M: The Football Association’s (FA) chief executive Mark Bullingham has announced that the organisation is set to lose £300m ($373M) and make 124 positions redundant as a result of the global health pandemic.

$317M: If Kylian Mbappé extended his contract with Paris St-Germain from June 2022 to June 2023, his estimated transfer value would increase from €242M ($272M) to €281M ($317M).

$150M: The Orlando bubble where NBA players will be staying to resume the NBA competition is set to cost the NBA more than $150 million. The costs include housing the 22 teams and support staff at three resorts, as well as the rental of the seven practice courts and three arenas.

$100M: Wimbledon, which was scheduled to start today, is set to receive more than $100 million thanks to a pandemic insurance policy. Tournament organizers canceled the event for the first time since 1945 because of the coronavirus.

1M: The Premier League has offered its support to the Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship by providing ‘more than £1m’ to help the competitions restart next season.

700: The only two active players to reach 700 goals.

20: 20 years ago the French Football Team won the 2000’s Europe Soccer Cup against the Italian Football Team.

16: Six years ago today, Tim Howard made 16 saves against Belgium—a FIFA World Cup record to this day.


📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

NBA & Social justice. When the NBA returns to play in Orlando, players will reportedly be allowed to replace their last names with statements on social justice.

F1 drivers take a knee. Most Formula 1 drivers joined a ‘take a knee’ protest ahead of the start of the Austrian Grand Prix. The 20-strong field all wore black T-shirts, most with the messages ‘end racism’ across the front, while Lewis Hamilton‘s sported the ‘black lives matter’ slogan.

🏆 ⚽ 🏀Oura Smart Ring to be part of NBA’s Restart plan? Champions Leagues Is Back! Laliga & EPL See Record Spike in Viewership.

🏆 ⚽ 🏀Oura Smart Ring to be part of NBA’s Restart plan? Champions Leagues Is Back! Laliga & EPL See Record Spike in Viewership.

Dear Friends and Members,

Many sports leagues (Laliga, EPL, Series A, Bundesliga..) are now back in full swing. Not surprisingly, La Liga Santander’s anticipated return on 11 June saw international viewership increase by over 48% for matchday 28, compared to the average matchday figures prior to the competition’s suspension, according to Nielsen sports. The Premier League also saw record viewing. The competition saw a peak audience of 3.4M during Manchester City vs Arsenal across Sky Sports’ platforms. In total Man City’s dominant victory recorded a 94% increase in Premier League viewership compared to the 2019/20 season average. Moreover, the fixture was the most-watched Premier League game in more than three years.

The Champions League is also set to return on August 7th in Lisbon. Stadiums in France will re-open for fans from July 11 as the country continues to lift coronavirus restrictions. There will be up to 5,000 fans who will be allowed in arenas to watch live sport. In addition, the NBA and its players union have come to an agreement that athletes will be tested for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) when the NBA restarts its pandemic interrupted season at Disney World, but not recreational drugs such as cannabis. The National Basketball Players Association (NBAPA) sent a memo to its members detailing its “Life Inside the Bubble” plan. As part of that, NBA players will have the option of wearing two types of wearables. The first is a “proximity alarm” that will notify players if they spend more than five seconds within 6 feet of another person. The second is the Oura Ring, a smart ring that helps track sleep, it does so by also measuring body temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate variability, and resting heart rate. But more importantly it could help detect COVID-19 symptoms. This is unprecedented as the NBA so far has not allowed the use of wearables during live NBA games.

Gym chain 24 Hour Fitness also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last Monday but expects to remain operating – and reopen most of its locations – during the process. The San Ramon, California, chain expects to get $250M in financing to assist in the restructuring of its operations, the company announced Monday.

Facebook committed to donate $200M to Black-owned businesses and organizations, while Netflix CEO Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, are donating $120M toward student scholarships at historically black colleges and universities.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, Bose shut down its AR product and Facebook showcased its latest 3D body reconstruction project. In the wearable and connected fitness world, Fitbit Versa 2 is rumored to be soon adding Google Assistant. In the world of esport, the Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix series achieved a record-breaking viewership with 30M viewers, and PSG entered League of Legends Pacific Championship Series with Talon Esports.

Next week we will unveil a new major Upside initiative that will better bring our sports tech community of thousands of sports tech execs (Pro teams, leagues, sports startups, VCs/investors, brands, etc.) together, so stay tuned!

On Wednesday we will publish our recent interview with Pete DeNagy, a 5G/WiFi 6/IOT sensors expert, and former GM of Samsung Enterprise, President of IOT America and Acommence Advisors. We touched on his background, his view on the top 5G/WIFI 6 use cases in sports stadiums, the biggest benefits he sees for teams to use 5G/WIFI 6. He also gave his view on how 5G/WIFI 6 can help teams better stay connected to their fans. Lastly we discussed 6G and the killer use cases there.  

If you have any questions about The Upside, need help with business development or fund raising, want to join our community of thousands of sports and tech execs (pro teams, leagues, athletes, investors..), or want to have access to our premium content, please check out Sports Tech Advisors and contact us at info@sportstechadvisors.co

📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

👓 Another company is giving up on AR. This time, it’s Bose.

👓  Facebook Research: 3D Body Reconstruction From Just One Camera

⌚ Oura Rings May Be Part of the NBA’s Restart Plan, But That Doesn’t Mean It Will Save You From Covid-19

⌚ Wearables have biggest year since 2015 – but there’s a big change on the horizon

⌚Fitbit Versa 2 could get Google Assistant on the wrist

🎮 Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix series achieves record-breaking viewership with 30M viewers

🎮 PSG Enters League of Legends Pacific Championship Series With Talon Esports

💸 Latest Investment Trends

📊 Tech Stats of the Week

📸 Snapshots of the Week

Let’s jump right into the insights and upside for all of these top stories


🎮 AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News

👓 Another company is giving up on AR. This time, it’s Bose. | Via: Protocol.com

Bose has become the latest company to throw in the towel on immersive computing, shutting down its ambitious Bose AR program. Key Bose AR employees have left the company, and partners have been informed that their apps will stop working in the coming weeks.

“Bose AR didn’t become what we envisioned,” a Bose spokesperson told Protocol. “It’s not the first time our technology couldn’t be commercialized the way we planned, but components of it will be used to help Bose owners in a different way. We’re good with that. Because our research is for them, not us.”

Bose’s change of heart comes as augmented reality startups have struggled across the board. Augmented reality startup Meta AR gave up on plans to replace desktop computing with dedicated AR headsets in late 2018. Last year, both ODG and Daqri shut down. And in April, Magic Leap announced that it was exiting the consumer AR business, laying off 1,000 employees in the process. Bose had been pursuing a unique approach to augmented reality: Instead of superimposing images over a view of the real world, Bose AR was based on audio alone and provided walking directions, audio-based fitness instructions and games via compatible headphones. The company even built its line of sunglasses with integrated headphones and AR sensors. It now wants to utilize these sensors to simplify the usage of those headphones and glasses.

Bose’s retreat from AR has been unfolding quietly over several months. Bose SVP John Gordon, who had championed AR in his role as the head of the company’s consumer electronics division, left last summer. Most of the team members working on AR departed or were let go this spring, according to an insider who declined to be named for this story. In April, Bose closed its public AR SDK, making it impossible for new developers to build apps for the program. Around that time, Bose also started to remove mentions of AR from its website, including from product descriptions for its glasses and AR-compatible headphones. In the last couple of days, developers were informed that apps based on Bose AR would stop working.

“We learned a lot — mostly, that our work in AR delivered compelling customer experiences based on specific interests and specific use cases, not for broad, daily use,” Bose’s spokesperson said. “So, we decided to stop working on third-party developer apps and won’t be supporting them beyond mid-July.”

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that this is not surprising at all to see Bose shutting down its AR project. It was only a matter of time. We would even argue that what they claimed to be AR glasses were not true AR glasses as these glasses did not use any optics but rather used audio to augment the experience. Basically it was “augmented” audio and the price of the glasses was simply too high. It was a hard sales so they probably did not sell a lot of units and therefore decided to shut down the project.

👓  Facebook Research: 3D Body Reconstruction From Just One Camera | Via: Upload

Facebook is the company behind the Oculus brand of virtual reality products. The company is considered a world leader in machine learning. Machine learning (ML) is at the core of the Oculus Quest and Rift S– both headsets have “inside-out” positional tracking, achieving sub-mm precision with no external base stations. On Quest, machine learning is even used to track the user’s hands without the need for controllers. In a paper, called PIFuHD, three Facebook staff and a University of Southern California researcher propose a machine learning system for generating a high detail 3D representation of a person and their clothing from a single 1K image. No depth sensor or motion capture rig is required.

This paper is not the first work on generating 3D representations of a person from an image. Algorithms of this kind emerged in 2018 thanks to recent advances in computer vision. In fact, the system Facebook is showing off is named PIFuHD after PIFu from last year, a project by researchers from various universities in California. On today’s hardware, systems like PIFu can only handle relatively low resolution input images. This limits the accuracy and detail of the output model. PIFuHD takes a new approach, downsampling the input image and feeding it to PIFu for the low detail “course” basis layer, then a new separate network uses the full resolution to add fine surface details. Facebook claims the result is state of the art. Looking at the provided comparisons to similar systems, that seems to be true.

Facebook first showed off its interest in digitally recreating humans back in March 2019, showing off ‘Codec Avatars’. This project focused specifically on the head and face- and notably the avatar generation required an expensive scan of the user’s head with 132 cameras.

⬆️ The Upside:  We think that this 3D project is the continuation of the Codec Avatars project that Facebook showcases in 2019. it is very promising and is good news for the VR industry as a whole. The only challenge there is going to create a VR solution that is scalable, repeatable and affordable over time. but Facebook has enough resources to make it work.

Picture: Facebook


🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚ Oura Rings May Be Part of the NBA’s Restart Plan, But That Doesn’t Mean It Will Save You From Covid-19 | Via: Gizmodo

Sports came to a screeching halt with the onset of covid-19, but as the NBA looks to resume the 2019-2020 season at Disney World on July 30, it looks like the Oura Ring may be a part of plans to keep players safe.

On Tuesday, the National Basketball Players Association sent a memo—which was originally obtained by The Athletic—to its members detailing its “Life Inside the Bubble” plan. For the most part, it outlines virtual workouts, social distancing protocols, rigorous testing regimens, and travel guidelines. That said, it also notes that players will have the option of wearing two types of wearables. The first is a “proximity alarm” that will notify players if they spend more than five seconds within 6 feet of another person. The second is the Oura Ring.

The Oura Ring is significant as it’s one of several wearables currently being studied by researchers as a potential tool for early detecting covid-19. The smart ring is designed to help track sleep, it does so by also measuring body temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate variability, and resting heart rate. Back in April, the company behind the ring announced it was teaming up with the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) for a national study, as well as the University of California San Francisco. It’s also been included in Stanford University’s study on early detection. A Gizmodo investigation into whether wearables can actually detect covid-19 before symptoms appear was promising, but ultimately inconclusive. However, earlier this month, RNI announced that preliminary results from observing 600 healthcare professionals and first responders indicated it could detect illness up to three days before symptoms, with a 90% accuracy rate. Again, promising and intriguing results, but it’s unclear how specifically the Oura Ring can differentiate between illnesses like covid-19 and similar respiratory viruses like the flu. Still, there are also major differences between NBA players and the average consumer. The biggest thing here is that players who choose to use the Oura Ring—the memo says it is optional, and not required—will have access to regular covid-19 testing. In that instance, giving these rings to NBA players may provide more data for researchers to work with.

As for who exactly gets to see a player’s health data collected from the ring? A tweet from ESPN writer Zach Lowe notes that the only thing team staff will have access to is an “illness probability score.” That tracks somewhat with the digital platform RNI said it created, which involves a combination of an app, the Oura Ring, and artificial intelligence algorithms. RNI’s press release makes no mention of a probability score, but it’s a metric that aligns with what researchers have told Gizmodo would be likely for predictive covid-19 software based on wearable data.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that allowing the Oura ring during live NBA games would be an important event for the NBA. Historically the NBA has not allowed the use of wearables during live NBA games. It could open the door to other wearables to be used in the NBA. Granted this memo came from the NBPA, not the NBA itself so this has to be taken with a grain of salt. Lastly the NBA has put together an NBA committee who has been looking at various wearables to be potentially be used in the NBA. Ultimately this would also be great news for the NBA players themselves as the health of players should be the #1 priority when the NBA season resumes.

⌚ Wearables have biggest year since 2015 – but there’s a big change on the horizon | Via: Wareable

Wearable tech has had its biggest year since the dizzy heights of 2015, but the wearables and smartwatch market could be set to have a record breaking explosion. The latest research by IDTechEx predicts that the fast-tracking of pandemic-fighting tech by regulatory bodies such as the FDA could see an explosion of powerful, health focused devices. The report shows that in 2019, wearables grew 19% year on year in 2017 and totalled $70bn in sales. It puts this down to the rise of wireless headphones and hearables, such as the Apple AirPods and the array of spin-off devices hitting the market. These generated $4bn extra from 2018.

“The other strongest growth came from device categories such as smartwatches and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices, which grew by just under $4bn and $1.3bn respectively relative to 2018 values.

“This represents the largest one-year growth rate since peak wearables hype in 2015 (a year which saw the commercial launches of leading devices such as the Apple Watch), which emphasises the growing strength in the sector and the continuing opportunity for new development and growth,” read the report. But the IDTechEx report believes that while the pandemic will naturally affect 2020’s growth, it could be a big opportunity to advance wearable tech.

“Many products involved in pandemic countermeasures have been fast-tracked to FDA approvals. Regulatory barriers are critical challenges for many players, from new start-ups to global leaders, and changes to them can shift the dynamic immediately,” said the report. And a big part of this is what IDTechEx calls the growth of the “potentially” medical device. Medical devices have been slow to be certified by the FDA, which means when the likes of Samsung and Fitbit launch ECG and sleep apnea features they come with disclaimers to use the results as a conversation with your doctor, but not to rely on the results themselves.

“Potentially medical” products are categories where sensing capabilities more traditionally associated with medical devices have been introduced in consumer products, which could potentially see some reclassification within the boundaries of medical products further into the future.

“This is not likely to happen quickly, but this is a significant trend which should not be ignored.”

⬆️ The Upside:  This should not as a surprise to see the wearables space to have a record year. Moving forward we believe that key drivers will have a positive impact on future growth of the wearable market. Those includes: (1) COVID-19 pandemic. Many wearables startups have pivoted to address the COVID-19 and help detect early signs of COVID-19. Some expert already predict 30M wearables shipped to be medical grade in 2020. (2) Aging population: The U.S. population is aging. Today, there are more than 46M older adults age 65 and older living in the U.S.; by 2050, that number is expected to grow to almost 90M. Wearables will be key there as it will help better monitor the health of elderlies and detect early signs of chronic diseases. (3) Next gen wearables with contactless biosensors. We expect to see the emergence of a new wave of contactless wearables with biosensors capable of measuring HR, HRV, sleep quality and even blood pressure without any contacts to the skin. You can check out our analysis on the contactless biosensors market here.

⌚Fitbit Versa 2 could get Google Assistant on the wrist | Via: Wareable

Fitbit devices could soon be running Google Assistant, even before the buyout between the two companies is ratified. Code spotted by the ever-eagle-eyed 9to5Google shows that Fitbit is prepping to onboard Google Assistant as a wrist-based assistant. The Fitbit Versa 2 currently utilises Amazon Alexa and has a microphone built in for talking to the assistant. However, you need to push-to-wake and there’s no speaker – so feedback from Alexa uses text only. Code found in the Fitbit APK submitted to the Google Play Store suggests that Google Assistant will be an option going forward.

9to5Google reports that Google was reticent to add its support to Fitbit devices, as the necessary APIs didn’t exist for this kind of minimal feedback – but it appears that it’s changed its mind. Commands are limited when it comes to Alexa, thanks to the lack of audio feedback – but you can ask Alexa for your stats and well as performing basic smart home commands. We’d expect the Assistant experience to be much the same. The Google/Fitbit buyout is still rumbling on six months after it was announced that Google was to acquire the fitness company.

Concerns about the search giant having access to so many health data points has caused concern, and the Justice Department is scrutinising the deal before allowing it to go ahead. A collaboration between the two would be a good way to mark the new era – should the deal go forward. Although with no audio feedback and limited appeal of voice commands on Fitbit, it’s likely to be little more than symbolic moment than a significant feature.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this should come as a surprise to see Fitbit to soon be integrated into the Fitbit Versa 2. This was part of Google’s strategy when it acquired Fitbit. This is also a an attempt to better compete against Apple the smart watch market. Google Assistant is currently the most dominant digital assistant used in the world with 500M users globally. This is well ahead of Alexa which is used on 100M+ devices. Google Assistant will make the Fitbit more appealing over time as it will enable new BOT use cases.

Picture: Fitbit, Google


🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix series achieves record-breaking viewership with 30M viewers | Via: Formula1.com

Formula 1 have revealed that the F1 Esports – Virtual Grand Prix series, which drew to a close last weekend, achieved a record-breaking 30 million views across TV and digital platforms during the lockdown period, as fans tuned in for live sporting action, including eight Virtual Grands Prix, Pro Exhibition races and #Challenge events.

The series was created to enable fans to continue watching Formula 1 races virtually, despite the ongoing COVID-19 situation, and to watch their favourite drivers battle it out when racing was not possible. Throughout the series over half the F1 grid took to the track, with 11 drivers competing in at least one race in the series.

The F1 drivers were also joined by a host of famous faces, including a Ryder Cup winner, professional footballers, and music chart toppers.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is another indicator that esport has been a big winner during the COVID-19 pandemic. 30M F1 fans watching the F1 virtual series is a record milestone. By comparison, NASCAR’s Texas Virtual Race attracted 1.3M viewers. Esport has become a great way for sports leagues to offset the loss in ticket sales and attract new sponsorship opportunities during the COVID-19 quarantine period.

Picture: F1

🎮 PSG Enters League of Legends Pacific Championship Series With Talon Esports | Via: Esportsobserver

The esports arm of Paris Saint-Germain F.C. will compete in the League of Legends Pacific Championship Series via a partnership with Talon Esports. The multi-year team partnership will create a co-branded team similar to PSG.LGD, which competes as part of the Chinese Dota 2 scene. Both organizations will pursue commercial partnerships and regionally tailored content creation. Financial terms were not disclosed. The newly formed PSG Talon will continue to compete as one of the ten inaugural teams in the PCS, which launched this year as a combined competition across Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Talon was the winner of the PCS Spring split, despite only entering League of Legends at the end of last year. The organization also competes in Arena of Valor, Clash Royale, Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege, TEKKEN, and Street Fighter.  This also marks PSG’s return to League of Legends, having disbanded its European roster in 2017. The French soccer club withdrew from the game after being unable to qualify for the top European league, also citing issues with the revenue sharing model presented by Riot Games at the time.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a great move by PSG to enter the League of Legends championship. We expect other sports teams to follow suit. This is part of PSG’s overall strategy to tap into the growing popularity of the esports market which is expected to reach $1.1B in revenue this year. You can check out our latest analysis: Esport: Hype Vs Reality.

Picture: F1


💸 Sports Tech & Health Investment (Fund raising, M&As) Trends — June 2020


📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

$519B: A new study that claims the App Store ecosystem facilitated half a trillion ($519 billion) in billings and sales globally in 2019.

$17B: Startup Epic Games Inc., which developed battle game Fortnite and acquired networking app Houseparty, is close to raising a $750 million round of funding at a valuation of about $17 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

$500M: TikTok’s U.S. revenues are expected to hit $500M this year.

$200M: Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Thursday announced a series of new steps the social media giant is taking to address racial inequality, including a $200 million commitment to Black-owned businesses and organizations.

$150M: UFC is reportedly looking to take on more debt, as Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings suggest the organization could add $150 million to its current $2.3 billion loan

$120M: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, are donating $120 million toward student scholarships at historically black colleges and universities.

$2M: The XFL made four payments totaling $2.05 million to Vince McMahon’s main venture WWE in the month between play stoppage and the league filing bankruptcy in April, adding to suspicion there was more at play into the league’s failure than the pandemic.

140: You can now tweet and posts 140 second audio tweets (with your own voice), announced Twitter last week.

48%: La Liga Santander’s anticipated return on 11 June saw international viewership increase by over 48% for matchday 28, compared to the average matchday figures prior to the competition’s suspension, according to Nielsen sports.

30%: CEO Sundar Pichai says he aims to raise the proportion of ‘leadership representation of underrepresented groups’ overall by 30% and dramatically boost the number of black executives at Google by 2025.

8: Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga title last week. It has now won 8 consecutive titles since 2012/2013 season which is the longest European title strike. The German club is now tied with Juventus.


📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

Taking a knee at kickoff: Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur took a knee at kickoff this weekend.

Powerful message: Powerful message from Rhian Joel Brewster who is an English professional footballer who plays as a striker for Championship club Swansea City.

More than winning championships. Bucks NBA star Kyle Korver said he’ll follow the lead of his Black teammates.

🎮 ⚽ Laliga & Series A are Back! PS5 is Here…Apple AR/VR Glasses Patent Leaks

🎮 ⚽ Laliga & Series A are Back! PS5 is Here…Apple AR/VR Glasses Patent Leaks

Dear Friends and Members,

This past weekend Laliga and Series A resumed their respective seasons. The Premier league is set to be next on June 17 while MLS and the NBA are also set to restart their seasons in July. MLS also plans to restart its season on July 8 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, joining the NBA at the facility. UFC’s Fight Island is now on as MMA fights are now planned for next month at the Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. In addition New Zealand looks to be fully recovered from the coronavirus pandemic as rugby will resume play this weekend, with more than 35,000 fans expected at one game.

In the NCAA, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill last Friday morning that will allow college athletes in the state to make money from endorsements starting next summer. We expect other states to follow suit. This is big news for the NCAA as historically NCAA athletes have not been allowed to get endorsement deals. The USTA also proposed the U.S. Open be played without spectators and with players, coaches, and support personnel in a bubble. Lastly NASCAR took swift action last week, banning the display of the Confederate battle flag at all races and events.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, Sony unveiled the new PS5 and Apple filed a new AR/VR patent. In the wearable and connected fitness world, Oppo and Xiaomi launched some new fitness bands and Garmin unveiled a new smartwatch for golfers. In the world of esport, the NBA 2K League announced four new partners in Tissot, Jostens, SAP, and GameStop, bringing its partner roster to 13. PUMA also signed a new esport deal with Gen.G Esports.

As we noted previously, “within the next 2 weeks” we will unveil a new major Upside initiative that will better bring our sports tech community of thousands of sports tech execs (Pro teams, leagues, sports startups, VCs/investors, brands, etc.) together, so stay tuned!

On Wednesday we will publish our recent interview with Marc Rowley, CEO of Live CGI, which recently built the NBA 2K League’s virtual studio.

If you have any questions about The Upside, need help with business development or fund raising, want to join our community of thousands of sports and tech execs (pro teams, leagues, athletes, investors..), or want to have access to our premium content, please check out Sports Tech Advisors and contact us at info@sportstechadvisors.co

📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

📺 PlayStation 5 console revealed — Here’s what the console looks like

👓  Apple wins new patent for AR/VR headset

⌚ Oppo launches new $28 fitness band with 14 days battery and SPO2

⌚Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is official: $32 tracker packs a punch

⌚Garmin launches $1,850 Marq Golfer watch made from titanium and ceramic

🎮 PUMA Signs Multi-Year Apparel Sponsorship Deal With Gen.G Esports

💸 Latest Investment Trends

📊 Tech Stats of the Week

📸 Snapshots of the Week

Let’s jump right into the insights and upside for all of these top stories


🎮 AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News

📺 PlayStation 5 console revealed — Here’s what the console looks like | Via: Venturebeat

Sony has finally showed off more about the PlayStation 5 console. We’ve already seen chief architect Mark Cerny break down the components. And today, we got a look at its impressive library of upcoming games. But Sony Interactive Entertainment decided to also show us what the box looks like — or, make that “boxes.” The PlayStation 5 design comes in two forms, including one dubbed the Digital Edition.

You can see the PlayStation 5 in the image above. It has the two-tone styling of the DualSense gamepad that Sony showed off earlier this year. But you can also see the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, which does not have a disc drive. Instead, it has a more symmetrical look. It is likely also going to sell at a more affordable price, but Sony did not provide any info on that at this time. In addition to the box, Sony also revealed a couple of peripherals and accessories. In the image above you can see a new wireless headset, a remote control, a charging dock, and a 3D camera. Each of the accessories matches the aesthetics of the PS5 lineup as a whole. It’s like if you could play games on a Star Wars stormtrooper.

The multiple PS5 form-factors and a ready-to-go lineup of consoles might not seem like it says a lot, but it does. This is a sign that Sony is looking to maximize its revenue from these boxes. Previous reports claimed Sony Interactive Entertainment was struggling to get the cost down for the PS5. And now it’s clear that Sony plans to deal with that by launching two different versions. Sony would have multiple reasons for launching a Digital Edition of the PS5. One is that people who buy games digitally are potentially worth more money. They don’t trade-in games, and they have their credit-card attached to their PSN account. That makes it easier to sell them microtransactions and other digital goods. If PS5 launches at $500 or $600, Sony could release the Digital Edition for $450 or $550. This gives people a mental pathway to convince themselves that they are just paying $50 more for a significantly more capable product instead of the $600 price in a vacuum.

Watch the PS5 video here

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe Sony PS5 will help Sony sustain its lead in the gaming console market. As of March 2020, cumulative sales of Sony’s PlayStation 4 gaming console had risen to over 108M units. Sales trends for the PS4 have been somewhat unusual: the device sold more units in the third and fourth years after its release than in the first two. In terms of market share, Sony capture 52% of the OS gaming market in North America Vs 47% for the Microsoft Xbox, according to Statcounter.

👓  Apple wins new patent for AR/VR headset | Via: Patently Apple

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of X newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple’s patent relating to a mixed reality headset with a Dynamic Focus 3D Display. While Conventional VR systems project left and right images onto screens that are viewed by a subject, Apple new way uses a direct retinal projector system that scans the images, pixel by pixel, directly onto the subject’s retinas. According to Apple, conventional virtual reality and augmented reality systems may suffer from accommodation-convergence mismatch problems that cause eyestrain, headaches, and/or nausea. Accommodation-convergence mismatch arises when a VR or AR system effectively confuses the brain of a user by generating scene content that does not match the depth expected by the brain based on the stereo convergence of the two eyes of the user.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe this is the wrong approach by Apple. Trying to project images into users’ retina could backfire quickly for Apple. Other AR vendors have tried to go down that path and failed. Granted this is a patent and this is no guarantee it will ever materialize into a commercial product. According to our sources, Apple is set to introduce a standalone VR headset in the fall 2020.

Picture: Apple patent


🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚ Oppo launches new $28 fitness band with 14 days battery and SPO2 | Via: wareable

Oppo has released the Oppo Band, a budget fitness tracker that announces the Chinese company’s arrival as a true wearable company. It comes hot on the heels of the long-awaited Oppo Watch, which was unveiled back in March 2020 with an ECG sensor, and a very Apple Watch look. The Oppo Band is the company’s first fitness tracker and takes the same tactic as the Oppo Watch by offering big specs for a low price. The design of the standard Oppo Band is pretty mundane and looks much like the Redmi Band and other budget trackers coming out of China right now. However, there are three versions, the Oppo Band and the Oppo Fashion Band, which actually looks pretty classy, with lugs and a thinner strap. Then there’s the Oppo Band EVA, which is something to do with an anime series called Neon Genesis Evangelion. We’ll guess that’ one’s never leaving China. The Oppo Fashion Band also features NFC for wearable payments in China. The screen is a 1.1-inch AMOLED colour display, with a 126×294 resolution. That means it’s far better quality than the greyscale found on the Fitbit Inspire HR and Charge 4, and the Oppo Band still manages to pack 14 days of battery life.

What’s more, it also boasts an SpO2 sensor, which compliments the heart rate monitor on the back. It features 12 sports tracking modes, but there’s no GPS on board. It’s also waterproof to 50 meters. Seeing the Oppo Watch hasn’t made it out of China as yet – despite the company promising it would set out its global plans during its press conference – we doubt we’ll see the Oppo Band on Western shores any time soon. But it’s available in China for CNY199 (which works out around $28). The Oppo Fashion Band is CNY249 ($35).

⬆️ The Upside: We believe that this is a good move by Oppo which has become more aggressive in the wearable space in the past few years. For $28 Oppo’s fitness band offers great value, good biosensing (HR, SPO2..) and battery life. Oppo is likely to gain further traction at the low end of the Chinese fitness band market. It will face fierce competition there from the likes of Xiaomi, which just launched a new fitness band for $32, and other low end Chinese OEMs.

Picture: Oppo

⌚Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is official: $32 tracker packs a punch | Via: Wareable

The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 has been officially announced in China and will go on sale there on 18 June, costing ¥229, which is around $30. That’s the price for the NFC version of the fitness tracker, which offers contactless payment in China. There’s also a non-NFC Band 5 as well, which will cost ¥189 ($25). It goes head-to-head with the Fitbit Inspire HR at less than half the price, and against upstarts like the Oppo Band and Realme Band. Much anticipated, the fifth-gen Mi Band packs in a lot of the purported features that have been doing the rounds on the rumor-mill for the past few weeks, including a 1.1-inch, 126×294 AMOLED display (450 nits brightness), magnetic charging, sleep analysis, heart rate monitoring and female cycle tracking.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 specs: 1.1″ AMOLED, 126×294, 125 mAh, 14 days, Six-axis accelerometer, PPG heart rate sensor, Bluetooth 5.0, Android 5.0/iOS 10.0, 5ATM, NFC variant only: NFC, microphone, 47.2 x 18.5 x 12.4mm, 11.9g/12.1g, 155-219mm wrist band, ¥189 (~$26)/¥229 (~$32).

There’s no sign of Alexa on board, as was touted, although that rumor did mention that would only be on the international version and, at present, it’s a China-only device. However, the signs are good as there is voice functionality, courtesy of Xiao Ai, on the NFC version, thanks to a built-in microphone. There’s a bigger focus on sports tracking this time around with 11 new modes on offer including yoga, rowing machines and skipping. There are also – Xiaomi’s words, not ours – “shaping and fat-reducing” features as well. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen supposed leaked pictures and renders of the next-gen Mi Band (many of which have proved to be nonsense) but now we can see the new tracker in all of its glory. The design follows the Mi Band 4 closely, but houses an improved 1.1-inch screen – which its makers are saying allows for 20% more visibility compared to the Mi Band 4. There are eight silicon bands to choose from and further personalisation comes from more than 100 built-in themes; including the likes of SpongeBob, Evangelion, Hatsune Miku, and Detective Conan. We’re told that battery life, from the new magnetic charger, is 14 days on the NFC model, 20 days on the standard one. It’s waterproof to 50m, so would make an excellent swimming companion. As mentioned, you can pre-order now in China, directly from Xiaomi – with shipping starting on 18 June. We eagerly await news on the international version and will, of course, update you as soon as we hear anything.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe that this is a direct response to Oppo’s launch of its $28 fitness band. Oppo’s fitness band and Xiaomi’s fitness band have similar specs in terms of battery life. That being said, Oppo band can measure SPO2 while the Xiaomi band does not have such capability. Of note, Xiaomi’s wearable devices still remain the number one product in the fitness band category with a market share of 48.%  and an annual growth of 54.7 % in 2019. Titan mounted a surprise push to emerge in the second spot with a market share of 14. 5% as its shipments grew 24.1% during the year.

Picture: Xiaomi

⌚Garmin launches $1,850 Marq Golfer watch made from titanium and ceramic | Via: Wareable

Garmin has unveiled the Marq Golfer smartwatch – the latest smartwatch in its elite range of premium, designer range. To the uninitiated, Garmin Marq is an exclusive, super-charged version of the Fenix range with a price tag to match – and Garmin’s charging $1,850 for its Marq Golf smartwatch. The new Marq golf watch joins the Marq Driver (the motoring kind), Adventurer, Aviator, Athlete and Commander – and brings the same design ethos with a golfing tilt.

The Marq range is designed for those that won’t blink at blowing $2,000 on a sports watch, and likely have a few Rolex or Tags in their collection as well. Essentially, it’s a blend of the top-of-the-range Approach S60 and Fenix 6 in a (much) nicer package, and packs in data on 41,000 golf courses, scoring, distances and club-tagging just like the standard range of $200-$300 golf watches. It also features Garmin’s cutting edge PlaysLike feature which tells you whether you should club up or down for elevation, Hazard View that gives you a good look at a green, and Virtual Caddy that tries to meld tracked data and conditions for better club selection. That could be wind speed, course layout, and a golfer’s speed and club performance.

Aside from golf, you get the full Garmin experience – with everything you’d get on the Fenix 6. That means heart rate, Pulse Ox sensor, VO2 Max, profiles for pretty much every conceivable outdoor activity, 10ATM water resistance, all the Firstbeat extra data such as Race Predictor, Performance Condition, Training Effect, Training Load and all that good stuff. And you also get Garmin Fenix levels of battery life too. 12 days of battery life in smartwatch mode and up to three rounds of golf. That also works out to 28 hours on non-stop GPS tracking (clearly golf tracking pings GPS satellites around 2x more than run tracking) and 48 hours in UltraTrac mode.

The Tag Heueur Connected offers the same features as $150 smartwatches, but the build quality makes it a statement worth paying for. If you’re wealthy enough that $1,850 is expendable income, you’re getting a hell of a lot of golf watch for the money.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe that while Garmin’s new smartwatch for golfers has nice specs and capabilities, we don’t expect Garmin to sell a sizable number of units for this particular SKU. At $1850 this watch is simply out of reach for most users. However it is likely to appeal to weekend warriors with high disposable incomes. Of note, in 1Q20, Garmin took the number three position for the first time in two years, shipping 1.1M smartwatches in the first quarter, a 38% increase from 800,000 a year ago. This grew Garmin’s share of the global smartwatch market from 7% to 8%, thanks to new models like the Venu with OLED color touchscreen. Apple remains the #1 smartwatch vendor with 50% market share in the smartwatch market, according to Strategy Analytics.

Picture: Garmin 


🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 PUMA Signs Multi-Year Apparel Sponsorship Deal With Gen.G Esports | Via: European Gaming

Gen.G Esports has partnered with global premium sports and lifestyle brand PUMA. Both the companies will cooperate to focus not only on the esports market, but also on other consumer classes. They hope to create a culture that combines the ever-growing esports and sportswear. As part of this partnership, all the teams and content creators under Gen.G will be receiving uniforms and goods manufactured by PUMA. Gen.G’s League of Legends roster will be showcasing these uniforms in the upcoming 2020 LCK Summer split. Also, the aforementioned products will be sold to the public, and both Gen.G and PUMA will work together in creating new apparel and accessories.

“I’m very proud that Gen.G has become PUMA’s very first esports partner in Asia. Through this partnership with PUMA, I’m very excited about the collaboration between esports, fashion, and lifestyle. Although these are tough times for everyone, the esports industry will continue to grow, and Gen.G will continue to lead the way in popularizing and in growth of this industry,” Arnold Hur, COO of Gen.G, said.

“Gen.G is a leader in the esports industry, and we’re incredibly happy to have partnered up with them. We will work together in providing continued support in esports by providing the players, streamers and the public with the highest quality products and service,” Rasmus Holm, Head of PUMA Korea, said.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a great move by PUMA to team up with Gen G, a leading esports organization in Asia. This is part of PUMA’s overall strategy to tap into the growing popularity of the esports market which is expected to reach $1.1B in revenue this year.

Picture: Puma


💸 Sports Tech & Health Investment (Fund raising, M&As) Trends — June 2020


📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

$1.5 Trillion: Apple (AAPL) shares have crossed another major milestone with the market cap hitting over $1.5 trillion during trading today. The growth makes it the first US company to reach the achievement.

$250M: Roughly a week after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell publicly condemned social injustice and police brutality, the NFL is making a $250 million pledge. The funds will be spread out over the next 10 years to “combat systemic racism and support the battle against the ongoing and historic injustices faced by African-Americans.”

$100M: Apple CEO Tim Cook last week took to Twitter to announce Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice initiative, with a $100M commitment.

$100M: Media giant Comcast announced Monday that it is donating $100M to battle the “complex issue” of systemic racism, sexism and homophobia in America.

-1.8M: Last quarter, the pay TV bundle business lost 1.8M subscribers. Most of those digital viewers – 17.1 million – are tuning in through multichannel distributors such as Sling TV, Hulu, and YouTube TV.

$1M: Sony promises $1M to black communities.

336K: The Brazilian League of Legends Championship (CBLoL), a record-breaking 336K simultaneous viewers watched the match between paiN Gaming and Santos on June 7 on Twitch, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

30%: Adidas promised to hire black, latino people for 30% of new U.S. Job. Sportswear giant says it will invest $20M in black communities, after employees complained about company’s culture.

+29.7%: Global shipments of wearable devices grew 29.7% year over year during the first quarter of 2020 (1Q20) as total device volume reached 72.6 million units according to new data from the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. However, the growth was disproportionately spread across the various form factors as growth in wristbands and earwear/hearables was more than enough to offset the decline from smart and basic watches. Fueled by new product launches such as the Fitbit Charge 4 as well as aggressive price points from mainstays like Xiaomi and Huawei, the wristband category grew 16.2% during the quarter. Meanwhile, hearables grew 68.3% and accounted for 54.9% of the entire market.

Picture: IDC

20%: The U.S. Tennis Association has reduced its staff by 20% and closed its New York office. The cuts are being framed as a “transformational plan” as the organization works to ensure the U.S. Open is held this year while navigating the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Open’s $400M in revenue accounts for more than 80% of the USTA’s annual revenue.


📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

Series A – Black Lives matter: Juventus and AC Milan sent a message during warmups before their Coppa Italia semifinal game.

NASCAR & Black Lives Matter: Bubba Wallace wore an “I can’t breathe” shirt, and will drive in a car painted with Black Lives Matter art in last week’s NASCAR race. He’s the only African American driver in NASCAR.

Premier League players have agreed to have their names replaced by Black Lives Matter on the back of their shirts for the first 12 games of the restarted season.

NASCAR Vs NASCAR driver: 1-0...NASCAR driver Ray Ciccarelli announced its retirement from NASCAR due to the recent decision from NASCAR to stop using the Confederate battle flag at all races and events. NASCAR twitter account was quick to respond.

RecoverX’s new smart knee brace with electric cold/heat therapy. With RecoverX and completely electric cold and heat therapy, coaches and players can take control of knee pain and inflammation. Of note, the system switches back and forth between heat and cold therapy within seconds.

 

Santiago Bernabeu’s makeover: Real Madrid | Check out the latest Santiago Bernabéu renovation works!

 

⚽🏀 MLS to Take $1B Revenue Hit. Barca Launches Barca TV+. MJ/Nike Donate $100M to Black Communities.

⚽🏀 MLS to Take $1B Revenue Hit. Barca Launches Barca TV+. MJ/Nike Donate $100M to Black Communities.

Dear Friends and Members,

With now the Bundesliga, NASCAR, the South Korean baseball and soccer league back on, coaches, trainers, fitness coaches, staff from teams in the Laliga (today, June 8), Premier League (June 17), and Series A (June 20) are gearing up to resume their season as well. The MLS is also set to continue its competition as part of a mini tournament in Orlando in July. The players also agreed to a proposal that cut salaries for this season while also extending the collective bargaining agreement through 2025. MLS Commissioner Don Garber also said the league will take a $1B revenue hit because of the coronavirus hiatus. The NBA teams have also approved a plan to restart the NBA season with 22 teams on July 31. The estimated $1.4 billion a year Disney pays for NBA broadcast rights likely helped set Orlando apart from top competitor Las Vegas in a battle to host the league’s restart.

Last week, Major League Baseball has rejected the MLB Players’ Association’s offer of a 114-game schedule, again putting negotiations at a standstill as the sides aim to salvage some semblance of a 2020 season. According to MLB owners, paying players their prorated salaries in a shortened season would also result in a $4 billion loss, although some experts have argued about the accuracy of such estimate.

Following the US protests happening all over America in the wake of George Floyd’s death, many sports organizations, teams, leagues, and athletes are stepping up and donating to black communities. For example, NBA legend Michael Jordan and Nike’s Jordan Brand on Friday committed to donate $100 million over the next 10 years to support social justice causes following the death of George Floyd. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell even said last Friday that the NFL should have listened to players earlier about racism concerns in response to NFL players calling on the league to condemn racism and support its black players. On another note, last week Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first footballer in history to become a billionaire during his career. According to Forbes , the Juventus star made $105 million before tax in the last year, taking his total worth over the $1 billion mark. MMA fighter Conor McGregor announced its retirement over the weekend as well.

Picture: Michael Jordan, Nike, Air Jordan, Converse.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, Barcelona FC launches Barca TV+. Tobii also announced its new eye tracking technology for AR glasses. Polygon announced its full VR Body and hand tracking system. In Japan, an app will now allow fans to pick from “cheer, chant, clap, shout, groan and boo,” to broadcast through the stadium loudspeaker. In the wearable and connected fitness world, Peloton launched its app on the Apple TV, while Tag Heuer and Hublot unveiled their new smartwatches. WearLinq also kicked off its crowdfunding campaign for the world’s lightest, smallest and stretchable ECG wearable. Oura, the maker of the smart ring, now claim that they can detect early signs of COVID-19. In the world of esport, the NJ Nets’ esport gaming division teamed with eyewear company to help reduce eye strain.

As we noted previously, “within the next 2 weeks” we will unveil a new major Upside initiative that will better bring our sports tech community of thousands of sports tech execs (Pro teams, leagues, sports startups, VCs/investors, brands, etc.) together, so stay tuned!

On Wednesday we will publish our recent interview with Dr. Ron Dick, associate professor of sports marketing at Duquesne University in the school of business. Ron also worked for 20 years in sports, including 15 years in the NBA with the Sixers and the Nets, and then four years in the NCAA. Throughout our conversation, we touched on his background, his view on the COVID-19 crisis, but also what teams and leagues should do to offset losses in ticket sales and sponsorship. And we talked about the financial impact of the COVID-19 on the sports industry.

If you have any questions about The Upside, need help with business development or fund raising, want to join our community of thousands of sports and tech execs (pro teams, leagues, athletes, investors..), or want to have access to our premium content, please check out Sports Tech Advisors and contact us at info@sportstechadvisors.co

📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

📺 Barcelona launches 24/7 streaming service BARÇA TV+

👓  Sunglasses-sized Tobii Pro Glasses 3 will make eye tracking comfortable

👓  Manus Polygon Available Now, Offering Full VR Body And Hand Tracking

⌚ Peloton’s fitness app finally lands on Apple TV

WearLinq kicks off its crowdfunding campaign for the world’s lightest, smallest and stretchable ECG wearable

⌚Researchers Claim The Oura Smart Ring Can Detect The Coronavirus Early On

⌚ Hublot Big Bang E goes big with $5,800 Swiss smartwatch

⌚Tag Heuer Connected Golf Edition 2020 could be another hole-in-one

🎮 Nets Gaming Crew teams with eyewear company to help reduce eye strain

💸 Latest Investment Trends

📊 Tech Stats of the Week

📸 Snapshots of the Week

Let’s jump right into the insights and upside for all of these top stories


🎮 AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News

📺 Barcelona launches 24/7 streaming service BARÇA TV+ | Via: Insider Sport

FC Barcelona has officially launched BARÇA TV+, the club’s new 24/7 OTT subscription streaming service, with both free and paid offerings.

The streaming service grants access to over 3,000 videos and 1,000 hours of content for Barcelona fans, with customers enjoying full entry to ‘the entire Barça digital ecosystem’ through the club’s Premium ‘CULERS Membership’ loyalty program.

Barcelona’s new streaming service is expected to increase the football club’s new digital strategy, which was presented in February, as the side looks to open more revenue options. Along with the club’s e-commerce service from the Barça Store Camp Nou, the digital launches are expected to be one of the club’s largest sources of ordinary income over the next five years.

Oriol Tomàs, Vice President of Commercial Area at FC Barcelona stated:  “FC Barcelona want to remain a benchmark club both on and off the pitch and continue to be the leading sports entity in the generation of revenue. With this in mind, the creation of this new digital products ecosystem opens up a new way of doing business for us, which we hope will become one of the main sources of regular income for the club in the coming years.

Dídac Lee, Board of Directors member, Head of the Digital Area, added: “Barça TV+ is the key piece, the jewel in the crown, in the club’s new digital strategy and, without a doubt, the best way to reach all of our fans around the world. This is a unique product that will offer fans a new way to consume Barça content, wherever they want and whenever they want; exclusive, different content that will be available ‘on demand.’”

Barca’s content catalogue already includes highlights and interviews, which are available to free subscribers, along with a range of original content, such as in-house documentaries. The club has also announced that BARÇA TV+ is available worldwide and in three languages (Catalan, Spanish and English). Other content includes archive footage from historic Barcelona matches, behind-the-scene videos and compilations. Premium subscribers will also be able to watch first-team matches either on a delay or on-demand. Moreover, customers will be able to watch Barcelona’s second team, youth and women’s sides, along with the club’s other sporting teams either live or on a delay.

A CULERS premium membership has been priced at €4.49 ($5) per month or €34.99 annually and is available on all devices via the club’s app or website.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that Barcelona FC is well positioned to become a key player in the OTT sports market with its Barca’s OTT offering. Let’s face it: It is uniquely positioned to convert a good portion of its 219M fans to its upcoming OTT offering. By charging $5 per month for its OTT service and assuming that 3% of its fans adopt it, it will be able to generate an additional $78M per year in OTT revenues. You can check out our Upside Analysis on the Sports OTT Market among pro teams (Manchester United FC, Juventus FC, Barca FC..) and leagues (NBA..) here.

👓  Sunglasses-sized Tobii Pro Glasses 3 will make eye tracking comfortable | Via: VentureBeat

If you were wondering how eye-tracking hardware could evolve after becoming frighteningly accurate — in a good way — there’s now an answer. Leading eye-tracking wearable maker Tobii today revealed its Tobii Pro Glasses 3, which have shrunk to roughly the size of aviator-style sunglasses while adding even better recording technology. For businesses and researchers interested in measuring eye movements or using them to control devices, the comparatively small, unobtrusive form factor could be a very big deal.

Having spent years working on consumer and professional eye-tracking systems, the Swedish company is billing its latest offering as ideal for visual attention research, particularly outdoors, as it brings eye-tracking and real world scene-recording hardware into a design people could comfortably wear in public. Four eye cameras and 16 illuminators are integrated into the lenses without blocking the user’s view, while a wide-angle external camera simultaneously records “much more” of the environment than the second-generation Glasses model, even in dusk-like lighting conditions. Android and Windows devices can be used to wirelessly control recordings.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe this is a good move by Tobii. We believe that many AR glasses vendors will end up using Tobii’s eye tracking technology for various use cases. One of them will be about esport. You can use Tobii’s Streaming Gaze app to display a graphic representation of where you’re looking in videos on Twitch or YouTube. The company wants esports pros to use this to show their fans where they’re looking when they pull off impressive plays.

👓  Manus Polygon Available Now, Offering Full VR Body And Hand Tracking | Via: Upload VR

As announced back in March, orders and licenses for Polygon, the VR body and tracking system from Manus, can now be placed online. Prices for the full Polygon system are not listed, but quotes can be requested on the Manus site. Manus Polygon is a tracking system that combines Vive Tracker pucks in addition to hand-tracking via a separate glove in order to provide a full-body solution for enterprise VR. To achieve this, the system uses 5 Vive Trackers in total — one on each foot, one on your waist and one of the back of each hand — in combination with Manus’ fully-body inverse kinematics solver and its Prime II Series gloves.

The idea is that the system is easy to set up and eliminates the need for any kind of full body suit to achieve full body tracking. The system also supports multiple users for multiplayer and can produce synchronized and accurately proportioned human avatars from the data. There is a 45 second calibration process, and the finger tracking from the gloves can measure 2 joints per finger and with 11DoF tracking. Obviously this is an enterprise-focused project, so don’t expect to see any of this integration in your favorite VR games. While we haven’t tried Polygon ourselves, we did try Manus gloves on one of our episodes of the VR Culture Show in November last year, which you can watch below. Purchasing the Polygon pack also includes plugins to implement the system in Unity and Unreal. One year licenses for the Polygon system are available to order via a quote on the Manus site no

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe this is a great move by Polygon. We also think that there is a great potential for VR training in sports (soccer, volleyball, basketball..) to use those VR trackers and VR gloves. This is a good alternative to full VR body suits made by companies like Teslasuit.io which built a full VR suit and VR gloves. With that in mind we expect more pro teams and leagues to use VR training systems (STRIVR Labs, WIND Reality, Sense Arena..), in association with VR gloves, suit and trackers, to help players virtually train at home or during rehab.

Picture: Polygon


🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚ Peloton’s fitness app finally lands on Apple TV | Via: TechCrunch

Since announcing in March that they were extending for a short time the free trial of their digital subscription from 30 to 90 days, Peloton  has been rolling out more support for TV screens, adding Android TV back in April and announcing today that they’ve launched an official Apple TV app.

Shelter-in-place and the associated shutdowns of gyms across the country have led to a surge in sales of at-home gym equipment that have also benefited Peloton. Peloton’s share price has been on a tear since shelter-in-place took hold, nearly doubling in value since early March. Since then, the company has had to deal with unexpected adjustments, like changes to how they deliver their at-home hardware safely, and how they record exercise classes in a socially distant manner, but they’ve also had to expand to more platforms as they’ve seen usage shift. Initially, dedicated TV apps didn’t make a ton of sense, because users could already cast to their TVs from an iOS or Android device. But as Peloton has built out the audience of their digital-only subscription plan, the use case of people setting their yoga mat in front of their TV and firing up a class became less fringe.

The company’s digital-only subscription plan retails for $12.99 per month. The Apple TV app is available for download today.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe that this makes a ton of sense for Peloton to make the Peloton app available on the Apple TV. Peloton will be able to tap into the popularity of Apple TV and try to convert a good portion of 33.6M Apple TV users globally into the Peloton app. This is part of Peloton’s overall strategy to drive the adoption of its subscription based app. Of note, Peloton is already being used by 1.4M registered Peloton account members, many of whom pay between $20 and $40 per month to stream fitness classes. The average Peloton member currently works out about 12 times per month in 2019, compared with 8.4 times in 2018.

Picture: Peloton

⌚WearLinq kicks off its crowdfunding campaign for the world’s lightest, smallest and stretchable ECG wearable | Via: Indiegogo

WearLinq kicked off its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign last week and unveiled the eWave, an affordable, stretchable sensor that provides users with medical-grade ECG. Making 24/7 recording, instant interpretation and in-app connection to physicians available for everyone.

The company claims that their stretchable technology makes the eWave the world’s smallest, lightest, and first stretchable ECG wearable. Users can stick the eWave on their chest like a bandaid. Thanks to its skin-like softness and 5.4 grams of weight, it is light weight. The patch can be replaced. Each patch lasts at least 1 week. After clearance, the eWave will be available with 25 patches. Users will be able to order more patches for $2 each online.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe that this is an interesting concept. We have seen lots of vendors (Withings, Apple…) that are now offering wearable measuring ECG. This stretchable wearable device reminds us of MC10 smart tattoo. That being said we have to keep in mind that this is a prototype and that this company still has a way to go before launching a commercial product. It will require capital and millions of dollars to enable mass production. They also need to get FDA approval will could take a year as well.

⌚Researchers Claim The Oura Smart Ring Can Detect The Coronavirus Early On | Via: Ubergizmo

Back in March, we reported on a device called the Oura smart ring in which its creators teamed up with researchers and healthcare professionals to see if the device was capable of detecting the coronavirus early on. As it turns out, it is. Researchers from West Virginia University’s (WVU) Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) and WVU Medicine have found that it is able to detect coronavirus-related symptoms up to three days early with 90% accuracy. So why is this important? This is important because early detection means that those who are infected can get treatment before it progresses into something more severe. As the virus is racking up quite a shocking death toll, early detection could potentially save lives and also reduce the infection rate.

By being able to isolate and quarantine those who are infected, it reduces the number of people they might come into contact with and transmit the virus. The Oura ring works by asking participants to track things like their stress levels, their anxiety, memory, and also psychological biometrics. The ring then takes this data and combines it with other factors like body temperature, heart rate, sleep patterns, respiratory rates, and so on to come to a diagnosis. That being said, it is not designed to replace actual coronavirus testing, but rather it should be used as a tool where if it thinks you have the virus, then maybe you seek medical help.

⬆️ The Upside: Irregularities with core body temperature and HR are key early indicators of early signs of COVID-19 so it should not come as a surprised to see such claim from Oura. At a higher level, we believe that Oura is part of a current trend among the global startup ecosystem where we are seeing many sports tech startups pivoting to take advantage of the COVID-19 opportunity. We expect many more wearables startups (smart patch, smart t-shirt, smart t-shirt..) to pivote to focus on COVID-19 and healthcare in particular to capitalize on the opportunity. ABI Research already estimated that 30M wearable healthcare devices will ship in 2020. They expect this number to grow to 104M units shipped in 2025.

Picture: Oura

⌚ Hublot Big Bang E goes big with $5,800 Swiss smartwatch | Via: Wareable

Hublot is back with the Hublot Big Bang E, the latest Swiss smartwatch to rock Google Wear OS – with a $5,800 price tag. The Big Bang Referee 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia was the last outing from Hublot, and there were rumors that its successor would focus on the Euro 2020 tournament – but with that tournament cancelled, we’ve been spared another ridiculously convoluted name.

And that might be for the best, as the Hublot Big Bang E looks a much more stylish, less gimmicky and more wearable smartwatch than the Referee. The Big Bang E comes packed into a 42mm case, down from a whopping 49mm on the 2018 edition. That’s pretty compact compared to the megaliths we’ve seen out of Switzerland in the past, such as the Tag Heuer Connected and Alpina X Alive. There will be two versions, one in titanium and the other in ceramic. However, coming from Hublot we can’t see this being unnoticeable on the wrist as its Big Bang watches are pretty masculine and chunky. A Swiss watch wouldn’t be complete without some bizarre quirk of engineering, and Hublot says the Big Bang E is made up of 42 components – 27 of which are for the K Module that holds the technology. We’re not sure why that’s important.

The K Module hides a Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, with 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage. However, the company has confirmed the Big Bang E is water resistant to 30 metres and comes with an interchangeable strap, which uses a mechanism for quick release. Google Wear OS is powering the show, just like previous versions. And the design stays true to the mechanical Big Bang, and the crown on the right becomes a digital pusher for controlling the operating system. On the software front there is some customisation from the standard Wear OS experience, with digital versions of traditional Hublot complications. These include Perpetual Calendar with moon phase, and a second GMT time zone which shows the Earth rotating. Hublot says it’s releasing bespoke watch faces from brand ambassadors, which it will drip feed to users in future updates to the watch. And it’s already confirmed that the first will be a pack of eight dials from artist Marc Ferrero, which will change color every three hours and play a five second animation on the hour.

There’s no word quite yet how many of the Big Bang E will be made, but the ceramic version will cost $5,800 and the titanium one $5,200 – for a Wear OS device. You read that right.

⬆️ The Upside: While we find the look and feel of this Hublot smartwatch appealing we do not expect Hublot to sell many units. In our view this is more of a niche product that is likely to appeal to weekend warriors who are fitness enthusiasts with high disposable incomes. $5800 is simply out of reach for most users. The smartwatch is also limited in terms of biosensing capabilities.

Picture: Hublot

⌚Tag Heuer Connected Golf Edition 2020 could be another hole-in-one | Via: Wareable

Tag Heuer has updated its Golf Edition smartwatch to match up with its latest smartwatch the Connected 2020. We were big fans of the last Tag Heuer Connected Golf Edition, and we’re so glad it’s been given a makeover with the company’s latest tech. The golfing experience will certainly benefit from the Snapdragon 3100 chip, backed up with 8GB of storage and 1GB RAM found on the latest edition. We found the last version to be a little laggy when our on the course, so a nice injection of RAM could sort that out.

Just like its predecessor you get a sporty strap, with 1-18 etched on the bezel – like a chronograph for golf. This matches up with the on-screen experience, and the app points to these physical numbers to denote which hole you’re currently playing. But it wasn’t the premium build that really wowed us last time out – it’s the software. Tag Heuer’s Golf app is the best we’ve used, with incredibly detailed mapping and hazards making for an excellent experience. And it has this mapping for 40,000 golf courses worldwide. You get distances to the front, back and middle of the green as well as hazards and layups, scoring and stats. So it’s pleasing to see that Tag has added new features.
Driving Zone enables users identify the best position on a given hole for their drive based on previous rounds. But don’t forget, the Tag Golf app isn’t just available on its own watches. You can buy and subscribe on Wear OS and Apple Watch too – and we heartily recommend that. But if you want to buy the new Tag Heuer Connected Golf Edition, it will certainly cause a stir at your local golf club. It’s set to cost $2550 mark and is on sale at Tag Heuer’s official website.

⬆️ The Upside: Similarly to the Hublot smartwatch, the Tag Heuer smartwatch is simply too expensive ($2550), and has limited biosensing capabilities. However we have to give credit to Tag Heuer to have built a smartwatch with an appealing design. Like most swiss watch companies those types of companies primarily focus on specific demographics who have high level of income.

Picture: Tag Heuer


🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 Nets Gaming Crew teams with eyewear company to help reduce eye strain | Via: netsdaily.com

Professional NBA 2K players don’t have to worry much about nagging ankle injuries or blown out Achilles tendons affecting their online play. Yeah, a wrist injury could do them dirty, but the bigger long-time issue is … eye strain! Hours in front of console will do that to you. So, the Nets GC (for Gaming Crew) has partnered with Zenni, the leading online eyecare provider, to take advantage of its Blokz technology, which the company says reduces eye strain by blocking blue light emitted by digital screens. Zenni is also NetsGC’s Official Eyewear Partner. Jerseys featuring the Zenni logo will appear on the uniforms worn by each of NetsGC’s in-game avatars and Zenni branding will be featured within the game through the remainder of the season both on NetsGC’s home court and through visual courtside signage.

“The idea is that our players are training for eight plus hours a day, whether that be on the consoles themselves, with the blue light and the potential strain of their eyes and if they are not playing, they are watching film together,” said Josh Pruss, Head of NetsGC Business Operations. “The idea is that the majority of our team, the ones who opted to partake will be wearing the products to better or to maintain their vision strength over the years.”

The data will then be used to help other games both in the NBA 2K league and esports in general. (In addition to the Nets commitment to the Nets GC, owner Joe Tsai has invested in other esports ventures.)

The partnership will also include a “NetsGC x Blokz” promotion featuring highlights of the best in-game blocks over the course of the NBA 2K season. Zenni will also serve as the presenting sponsor of NetsGC Game Day social posts. The partnership will also include a Film Room Content Series that will break down previous NetsGC matchups The Nets GC tipped off its 2020 season Friday night with a 71-65 loss to Mavs Gaming. Like so much else, the season opener was delayed by concerns over the coronavirus. The NBA 2K league features affiliates of 22 NBA teams plus a gaming team from China, the Gen. G Tigers of Shanghai.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a great move by the NJ Nets’ esport team to team up with Zenni, the leading online eyecare provider, to take advantage of its Blokz technology, which the company says reduces eye strain by blocking blue light emitted by digital screens. It will help improve the performance of the esports players. For Zenni the company will be able to tap into the growing popularity of the esports market which is expected to reach $1.1B in revenue this year.

Picture: NJ Nets, NBA 2K League


💸 Sports Tech & Health Investment (Fund raising, M&As) Trends — June 2020


📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

$2 Trillion: Microsoft Mkt cap to top $2T in 2 years, Wells Fargo analyst says.

$30B: Sports betting could become legal in California later this year, opening up a $30 billion annual handle. A proposal in the legislature needs to garner 60% approval and be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom by June 25 to ensure its place for a public vote in November.

$4B: MLB owners have claimed paying players their prorated salaries in a shortened season would result in a $4 billion loss, a number disputed by FiveThirtyEight, which says operating costs were likely counted in full rather than half. MLBPA says pay cuts proposed by the owners would total $800M, with the bulk of them carried by high-paid stars.

$1.77B: For its full fiscal year 2021, Zoom said it expects revenue to top $1.77B, well ahead of Wall Street’s forecast of $935.2M. The company,crushed Wall Street’s estimates last quarter, reporting a profit before certain costs such as stock compensation of 9 cents per share on revenue of $328.2 million, up 169% from a year ago. Wall Street had been expecting a 9-cent-per-share on revenue of just $202.48 million.

$1.4B: The estimated $1.4 billion a year Disney pays for NBA broadcast rights and the “fewer opportunities for players to get into off-court trouble,” likely helped set Orlando apart from top competitor Las Vegas in a battle to host the league’s restart.

$1B: MLS Commissioner Don Garber said the league will take a $1 billion revenue hit because of the coronavirus hiatus. The players also agreed to a proposal that cut salaries for this season while also extending the collective bargaining agreement through 2025

The MLS proposal includes:

  • The Orlando tournament to restart the season, to last no longer than 35 days
  • Players taking a 7.5% salary adjustment in 2020
  • A change in the revenue sharing plan around the league’s media rights deals, including a reduction to 12.5% share for players in 2023 that will return to 25% in 2024 and 2025.

$1B: Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first footballer in history to become a billionaire during his career. According to Forbes , the Juventus star made $105 million (£83m) before tax in the last year, taking his total worth over the $1 billion (£789m) mark.

$198.3M: Paris Saint-Germain want $198.3M in cash for Barcelona target Neymar, according to Sport. Neymar left Barca for PSG in a world-record €222m ($251.6m) transfer in 2017 but the Brazilian superstar continues to be linked with a Camp Nou comeback.

$170M: Canceled NFL games and empty or partially-filled stadiums this season would have a significant impact on the league’s salary cap in 2021. The NFL’s cap this year is $198.2 million. An entire season played without fans would drop that number to approximately $170 million, according to ESPN.

$158M: Tottenham Hotspur has secured a £125m loan from the Bank of England due to the financial impact of the global health pandemic.

$100M: NBA legend Michael Jordan and Nike’s Jordan Brand on Friday committed to donate $100 million over the next 10 years to support social justice causes following the death of George Floyd.

$100M: SoftBank is launching a $100M fund to invest in founders of color.

$40M: Nike donated $40M to black communities. “We know Black Lives Matter. We must educate ourselves more deeply on the issues faced by Black communities and understand the enormous suffering and senseless tragedy racial bigotry creates.”, Nike’s CEO, John Donahoe, said in a statement.

$1M: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott pledged $1 million to “improve our police training and address systematic racism through education and advocacy in our country.” “You have to change yourself before you can ask anyone else to change,” he wrote on Instagram.

44: 30 Bundesliga goals in 2019/20. 44 in all competitions, a new personal best for Robert Lewandowski a top European striker from the Bayern Munich FC.

34: Tennis star Rafael Nadal turned 34 years old last week.

-20%: Q1 2020 was real rough for an already struggling smartphone category. Gartner’s latest report puts the global smartphone market at a 20.2% slide versus the same time last year, thanks in large part to fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.


📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

No fans in stadiums? Here come stuffed animals. The South Korean baseball league is back…now a few weeks ago, the South Korean league got criticized for putting sex dolls in the stands. Now what? They put stuffed animals.

MMA champion announces its retirement. MMA star Conor McGregor announced its retirement over the weekend. McGregor’s MMA record stands at 24 fights, 21 wins and three defeats. 18 of his victories have come via knockout, one via submission and just two by decision (Max Holloway and Nate Diaz, both unanimous).

🏈 ⚽ Major Sports Leagues (NFL, NBA, Laliga, EPL..) To Lose $14B in Revenue Due to COVID-19?

🏈 ⚽ Major Sports Leagues (NFL, NBA, Laliga, EPL..) To Lose $14B in Revenue Due to COVID-19?

Dear Friends and Members,

Last week more leagues announced their plan to resume competition: Those include the Series A (June 20), Premier League (June 17). MLS officials also proposed that the MLS season could resume in Orlando, Florida behind closed doors at the Disney sports complex and other stadiums in the city. According to multiple reports, the MLS is planning to return to action as early as 22 June. The NBA is also planning a Thursday vote of the league’s board of governors with owners expected to approve commissioner Adam Silver’s recommendation on a format to restart the season in Orlando, Florida, sources tell ESPN. The NBA has been examining several plans for a return to play, but numerous members of the board of governors tell ESPN that there’s growing support for a plan to bring 22 teams to Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in July.

The NHL will also return this season by jumping right into the playoffs with the top-12 teams in each conference heading to two hub cities for round-robin play before beginning a playoff tournament. Each team will be allowed 50 personnel in the hub cities and will enact a comprehensive COVID-19 testing protocol. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said NHL players will be tested for the coronavirus daily if games start happening. Formal training camps will begin no earlier than July 1. The XFL is now seeing interest from more than 20 buyers to rescue the league out of bankruptcy. Combat sports (MMA) are also coming back to Las Vegas as the Nevada State Athletic Commission approved UFC fights at its Apex facility on May 30 and June 6. The commission also voted to allow two Top Rank boxing matches on June 9 and 11 at the MGM Grand. In addition, Amazon is reportedly looking to buy more sports TV rights, the internet giant also wants localized sports content.

Over the weekend several soccer players also dedicated their goals to U.S. protests: As shown in the picture below (left side) Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring his first goal on Sunday in honour of ongoing protests in the United States following the death of George Floyd. Borussia Dortmund soccer star Jadon Sancho (right picture below) also revealed a “Justice for George Floyd” shirt after scoring for his club.

On another note, some experts are starting to estimate the economic impact of COVID-19 on the sports leagues. In fact, according to the chart below, based on data from KPMG, ESPN, The Guardian, Nikkei Asian Review, the major sports leagues could lose a combined ~$14B in revenue due to COVID-19. More precisely, the North American sports leagues (NBA, NHL, MLS, MLB) could lose $5.5B in revenue. Of note we believe this number is likely too low as some experts are already estimating that the NFL could lose $5.5B due to COVID-19. The North American leagues are followed by the Premier League ($1.35B), Laliga ($1B). This is followed by the UK leagues (Cricket, rugby leagues) which could lose an estimated combined loss of $850M. The Italian soccer league, also known as Series A, is expected to lose $703M, while the French Ligue 1 is projected to lose $430M due to COVID-19. US College sports is also expected to lose $4B due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Tokyo summer olympics are also expected to lose $6B in revenue. Granted we have to take these estimates with a grain of salt. But in our view, this is one of the key reasons why sports leagues (Bundesliga, Premiere league, Series A, MLS..) have resumed or are about to resume their season so they can play games and receive TV rights to offset those losses. While this is alarming for many sports observers, we believe that the sports industry will come back stronger than ever. We are already seeing many leagues and clubs adapting to this new environment, and resuming their respective competition. In the sports tech startup world, and based on our sources, we are seeing big spikes in areas like SVOD, VR, AR, esports/gaming, video conferencing (Zoom), and connected fitness (Peloton, Tonal..).

In the world of AR/VR and digital, HP announced a new pair of VR headsets while Magic Leap CEO stepped down. Google also unveiled a new AR feature to teach user social distancing. In the fitness and wearable space, Samsung Galaxy watch 2 leaked and the Samsung Watch received clearance for ECG. In the world of esport, the McLaren (F1) teamed up with Veloce Esports to expand its global esports program.

As we noted previously, “within the next 2 weeks” we will unveil a new major Upside initiative that will better bring our sports tech community of thousands of sports tech execs (Pro teams, leagues, sports startups, VCs/investors, brands, etc.) together, so stay tuned!

On Wednesday we will publish our recent interview with Josh Margulies, Director of Integrated Brand Marketing for the Jacksonville Jaguars a top NFL team. We touched on his role at the Jags, the great job his team is doing in terms of fans engagement. He gave us his advice for teams looking to offset loss in ticket sales due to COVID-19, and he talked about the Jags’ goals for the upcoming NFL season.

To get access to our paid analysis make sure to become a paid member by clicking on the link below:

If you have any questions about The Upside, need help with business development or fund raising, want to join our community of thousands of sports and tech execs (pro teams, leagues, athletes, investors..), or want to have access to our premium content, please check out Sports Tech Advisors and contact us at info@sportstechadvisors.co

📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

👓  Google Turns To Augmented Reality To Help With Social Distancing

👓  HP Reverb G2 virtual reality headset arrives this fall for $600

👓  Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz is stepping down

⌚Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 could get imminent release date

⌚ Samsung smartwatches get clearance for ECG – but you will still have to wait

🎮  McLaren Racing Partners With Veloce Esports to Expand Global Esports Program

💸 Latest Investment Trends

📊 Tech Stats of the Week

📸 Snapshots of the Week

Let’s jump right into the insights and upside for all of these top stories


🎮 AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News

👓  Google Turns To Augmented Reality To Help With Social Distancing | Via: Ubergizmo

Last month, Snapchat launched a new lens that used augmented reality to help users get a better idea of how far apart people should stand away from other people with regards to social distancing. The idea is that by standing a certain distance away from others, it reduces the chance of the coronavirus spreading. If you’re not a Snapchat user but want to have the feature, you might be in luck because Google has since announced something similar of their own. Dubbed Sodar, this uses WebXR to offer up a similar feature, but the best part is that it does not require users to download any app. It can actually be launched in your phone’s browser.

However, we should note that this won’t work with all phones. For starters, it doesn’t work on iOS devices. Secondly, even with Android phones, it won’t work with all of them. There is no compatibility list, but we have come across comments that are suggesting that it doesn’t work for everyone. Android users might need to have a device that is ARCore compatible, so if your device is, then maybe it could work. In any case, if you want to check it out, just head on over to Google’s Sodar website on your mobile device and take it for a spin.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe this is a good move by Google. This is part of a global trend among OEMs and tech companies to offer technologies to promote social distancing. Google, along with other OEMs, already launched a device tracking system on handheld devices to help track users who might have been in contact with COVID-19 patients. So this AR based feature to promote social distancing is part of the same strategy.

👓  HP Reverb G2 virtual reality headset arrives this fall for $600 | Via: VentureBeat

HP is unveiling the HP Reverb G2 virtual reality headset with high-resolution specs the company hopes will attract new enterprise users and consumers. The company is launching the second-generation VR headset in a partnership with both Microsoft and game company Valve. The headset will debut in the fall for $600.

The resolution of the headset is 2,160-by-2,160 per eye, which should help with the visual realism of VR, said John Ludwig, lead product manager for VR at HP, in a press briefing. He said the Reverb G2, which uses lenses designed by Valve, will have 2.5-times the resolution of the Oculus Rift headset, delivering sharper images that enhance the feeling of being transported to another reality.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe this new VR headset from HP has great specs. However we don’t believe that this will help HP take share away from the likes of Sony or Facebook/Oculus who are leading the VR market today. According to Trend Force and Statista, Sony’s estimated market share was 36.7% in 2019. Conversely, Facebook’s was 28.3% in 2019 as popular new Oculus products like the Oculus GoOculus Rift S, and Oculus Quest entered the market. Plus with Apple expected to enter the VR headset market in 2021, it will only get more challenging for HP in this market moving forward.

 

👓  Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz is stepping down | Via: VentureBeat

Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz confirmed he has raised a new round of funding, and he also said that he will step down as the augmented reality company’s top executive.

In a statement, Abovitz confirmed rumors that the company had raised a last-minute round of funding, but he didn’t say where it came from and he didn’t say the amount raised. The company is pivoting to focus its spatial computing platform on the enterprise market. A week ago, The Information reported that Magic Leap had raised $350 million as a lifeline, just after the company announced it was cutting 1,000 jobs and exiting the consumer business for its Magic Leap One AR headset, which overlays animated images on the real world.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe this should not come as a surprise to see Rony stepping down. The truth and the matter is that Magic Leap has raised a significant amount of money ($2.6B+) but has not been able to gain significant traction in terms of volume. It is estimated that magic Leap only sold 6,000 units to date. Now the company is moving in the right direction, is focusing on the enterprise market (focus on healthcare) but the company will face fierce competition from Microsoft Hololens, Vuzix, Google and others there.

Picture: Magic Leap CEO


🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚ Bundesliga soccer team Eintracht Frankfurt used Kinexon’s wristband to keep social distancing between staff members | Via: Sporttechie

Bundesliga soccer team Eintracht Frankfurt has equipped its game day personnel with Kinexon’s SafeZone wristband to ensure that essential employees are keeping proper social distance while working games inside venues.

The radio-based sensor-embedded wearable debuted May 16 during Eintracht Frankfurt’s home match against Borussia Mönchengladbach, which was the first day of resumed matches for Germany’s top soccer league since the coronavirus shutdown. The match was played without fans at Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt. Kinexon’s player performance tracking system has been installed at Commerzbank-Arena since 2018. Kinexon’s SafeZone wristband flashed visible signs when stadium employees wearing the device came closer than six feet from each other. The device also sent an audible warning when the social distancing breach lasted longer than the safe duration pre-set by Eintracht Frankfurt. SafeZone was launched earlier this month by Kinexon, which is based in Germany. The company’s player tracking devices are used by teams across the NBA, NFL, and European soccer.

“We wanted to create trust for all parties involved by fulfilling the necessary distance requirements and finally document the implementation and compliance. Ideally, the technological solutions today serve as a confidence-building impulse for sports, industry or event organizers, even beyond football,” Sebastian Zelichowski, executive officer at Eintracht Frankfurt, said in a press release.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe that Kinexon is the typical example of a sports tech startup that has pivoted to address the COVID-19 crisis. It makes sense for the company to leverage UWB, its underlying technology and a great locationing technology, to reinforce social distancing between staff members to prevent COVID-19 spread. We expect others teams and leagues to adopt this type of technology. Of note, many OEMs (Google, Samsung, Apple..) have now deployed tracking technologies on their devices to track the spread of COVID-19 which will also help as part of social distancing.

Picture: Kinexon

⌚Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 could get imminent release date | Via: Wareable

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 could be released any time, as it’s been spotted again at Chinese regulators. Two watches codenamed the SM-R840/845 and SM-R850/855 have received the Compulsory Certification of China from regulators – according to Sammobile which means a launch might not be far off. All this tallies with reports from April 2020, which saw the same codenames, which likely point to two different sized smartwatches. For those who follow this kind of thing, those monikors clearly refer to Samsung’s range of smartwatches, and have been named in Galaxy Watch leaks in the past – although we don’t know whether this will be a Galaxy Watch 2 or Galaxy Watch Active 3. Two codenames points to two sizes, so we’re likely looking at the similar 40mm and 44mm to the existing Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 or the 42mm/46mm versions from the original Galaxy Watch. We’ve also seen R845 and R855 models mentioned, which should be the LTE equivalents. As we reported in May 2020, it looks set that Samsung will offer a premium titanium version of the Galaxy Watch 2. We know from previous certifications that we’re likely to see the device in black, silver, and gold.

And it seems rumors we previously reported about storage being upped to 8GB will happen – great news for those enjoying Spotify offline syncing, which has been supported for a few generations of devices now. Finally, battery will increase in size, from 247mAh on the Active 2 to 330mAh – which seems unlikely to majorly change longevity from the current 36(ish) hours – but could power new, current smartwatch features. And from the way the smartwatch wellness industry is moving, that will likely be further elements of 24/7 tracking

⬆️ The Upside: We believe that this is a good move by Samsung, However as we pointed out before, Samsung needs to push the boundaries and innovate. Adding new biosensing capabilities to measure hydration, electrolyte, and other metrics would be a great start. Of note, Samsung has been rumored to soon add Blood Pressure monitoring capabilities to its smartwatch. That’s the type of new feature which will help Samsung better compete against Apple.

Picture: Samsung

⌚ Samsung smartwatches get clearance for ECG – but you will still have to wait | Via: Wareable

Samsung has finally been given clearance for its ECG sensor, taking it a step further to getting serious health credentials – but only in South Korea for now. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 has had an ECG sensor inside since its launch in September 2019, but it’s not been used. But now it’s received clearance in South Korea to allow Galaxy Watch Active 2 users to take ECG readings from the wrist.

The technology works much like the ECG monitor on the Apple Watch Series 5, with a touch-sensitive button doubling as a sensor. You need to place your finger on the sensor for 30 seconds, after which the Active 2 will measure your heart rate and rhythm, and classify it as Sinus Rhythm (normal) or AFib – which is an irregular heart rate. Samsung says that abnormal heart rhythm affects around 33 million people worldwide, and increases the risk of blood clots, heart failure and stroke. It comes after South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety cleared Samsung devices to use the blood pressure sensor – so if you live in Samsung’s home nation, you’ll have a pretty advanced set of heart monitoring features to take advantage of. Like the blood pressure feature, it will likely launch in Q3 2020 – and will be found on newer Samsung devices too. We’re expecting either a Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3 or Galaxy Watch 2 to land in Q3, via the Samsung Health Monitor app. But for most, the burning question is if/when it will see life outside of South Korea.

That will depends on each country giving these features medical clearance. In Europe we’ve seen ECG on Apple Watch and Withings devices. But in the US, it’s been tougher for non-US companies to get the technology cleared. So it’s impossible to say when features like ECG and blood pressure will land on Samsung devices. Watch this space.

⬆️ The Upside: This is great news by Samsung. ECG has become a key new feature on smartwatches and many players (Apple, Withings, etc..) are offering such capabilities today. It will help drive the adoption of smartwatches in the healthcare space. ECG is a great indicator of AFib, also known as Atrial fibrillation, which is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. It is estimated that between 2.7M and 6.1M people in the United States have AFib.

Picture: Samsung


🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮  McLaren Racing Partners With Veloce Esports to Expand Global Esports Program | Via: Esport Observer

Today, McLaren Racing announced a new partnership with esports provider Veloce Esports to deliver a multifaceted program surrounding sim racing esports. Veloce will manage and develop McLaren’s esports team while working together in creating and training an academy of sim racers–with the ultimate goal of establishing a “staircase of talent.”

The partnership will also see Veloce help position McLaren’s esports team internationally, the company said in its announcement.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a great move by Mclaren (F1) as part of its esports strategy. Of note, Veloce is an esports organisation based in London, which has quickly become one of the leading Esports teams in the UK, competing in tournaments across widely acclaimed gaming franchises such as F1 Esports, Gran Turismo, Rocket League, Project Cars and more. Founded in early 2018 we have grown to a stable of 25 professional gamers and content creators across the gaming and esports space. As we noted previously, there is a growing interest for esport among elite sports. The esport market is set to reach $1.1B in revenue globally this year.

Picture: McLaren (F1)


💸 Sports Tech & Health Investment (Fund raising, M&As) Trends — June 2020

  • MasterClass, a startup that sells celebrity-taught classes to people, has raised $100M in a Series E round.
  • Siren raises $11.8M for its limb-saving smart socks. Link

📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

$4B: A lost college football season would cost the 65 Power Five schools at least $4 billion.As many as 20 FBS athletic departments have announced pay cuts and furloughs to staff as schools have endured heavy losses without spring sports and March Madness. Approximately 50% of FBS athletic departments are self-sustaining, meaning expenses don’t exceed revenue and require student fees or university support to fill gaps. Without football revenue, only two schools – Georgia and Texas A&M – would meet that definition.

Implications of No Football Season

  • At least $1.2 in lostB ticket sales
  • An average loss of $62M for each Power Five School
  • Football revenue accounts for nearly 50% of Power Five athletic budgets

$3B: TikTok’s parent ByteDance Ltd. generated more than $3 billion of net profit on over $17 billion in revenue last year, figures that show the world’s most valuable startup is still growing at a brisk rate, according to people familiar with the matter.

$528M: Manchester United’s net debt has increased by 42.2% to $528M according to the club’s latest quarterly results, as the Premier League side highlights the financial impacts of COVID-19. In total Man United’s net debt has risen by $156M compared to last year’s financial quarter results.

204M: Last weekend, golf was on display for the second weekend in a row, this time in a rematch between legends Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. The highest watched Golf event also drove over 204 million social impressions on Sunday, the conversation around the event was well and alive. With 5.8 million average viewers across TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN, the program became the most-watched golf event ever on cable TV.

Other Notable Numbers:

  • 38M video views on Bleacher Report digital and social platforms
  • 5M social engagements and 172M impressions for content leading up to and during the event
  • No. 1 trending topic on Twitter
  • More than $20M raised for charity

$106M: Roger Federer was the highest paid athlete in 2019, according to Forbes. He was ahead of Ronaldo ($105M) and Messi ($104M). You can see 2019 Forbes full ranking here.

$105M: Ronaldo was the highest paid soccer player in 2019, according to Forbes. Messi ($104M) came second, followed by Neymar Jr ($95.5M), Sala ($35M) and Mbappe ($34M).

80M: Approximately 80M U.S. cable customers pay $20 a month for sports, not including premium offerings like the MLB and MLS channels, and they are unlikely to see refunds. The Premier League announced last week that its clubs will have to refund millions to broadcast partners, which pay the teams upfront for rights, unlike in the U.S.

$37.4M: 22-year-old Naomi Osaka has surpassed on-court rival Serena Williams as the highest-paid female athlete in the world. The two-time Grand Slam winner earned $37.4M in prize money and endorsements the past 12 months – a record for single-year earnings, beating Maria Sharapova’s $29.7M in 2015.

$20M: Mike Tyson has reportedly received a $20M contract offer from bare Knuckle fighting championship to compete in a rematch.

75%: More than 75% of the sports teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS have TikTok accounts and are already putting up serious numbers.

66%: While the future of group fitness remains cloudy, Peloton continues its push for industry dominance. The company’s sales jumped 66% in the third-quarter, and it now has more than 2.6M members.

21%: According to a poll from ESPN, 21% of fans believe that the Chiefs have the best chance to win the Super Bowl LV.


📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

Virtual zoom crowd. Danish Superliga club AGF Aarhus played in front of a virtual Zoom crowd on their return to play last week.

Picture: Danish Superliga club AGFAarhus

Yankee players giving Zoom lessons to kids. Yankees Mike Ford and David Hale are going to give lessons to kids who were supposed to attend Rising Star Baseball Camp this summer. The Bronx Bombers will give three Zoom lessons to the campers, normally based in New Rochelle.

Sleeping trends starting to get back to normal as economy reopens. As the US economy reopens, Fullpower Technologies looked at the anonymized data to find some indicators of behavioral changes. The metric that they used was to look at the sleeping habits before, during, and after shelter-in-place. During shelter-in-place most stayed put. When reopening happened patterns started to trend towards normalized. What is remarkable is the impact of Memorial day weekend.

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