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Bayern Munich Wins 6th Champions League Title. NASCAR Launches OTT Channel. NFL Names First Black Team President

Bayern Munich Wins 6th Champions League Title. NASCAR Launches OTT Channel. NFL Names First Black Team President

Dear Colleague,

We hope you had a great week last week. Last week, the NBA and NHL entered the playoffs while the MLS, NHL, and MLB continued their respective regular seasons.In the NFL, Jason Wright became the first Black team president in NFL history last Monday when the Washington Football Team announced his hiring. At 38 years old, Wright is also now the youngest president in the league. This is an historic moment in the world that we are living in. We expect other NFL teams to follow suit.

In Europe, Sevilla FC won the UEFA Europa League by beating Inter Milan FC 3-2. They won the trophy for a record-extending sixth time. Bayern Munich won its sixth UEFA Champions League Final with an edgy 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in Lisbon, Portugal on Sunday. It was Bayern Munich’s 30th straight win all competitions this season. In the world of pro tennis, the US open tennis in NY is set to start on August 31th. This will be the first major tournament since the start of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic in March.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, NASCAR strengthened fan engagement with the Motorsport.tv OTT channel launch. A new report indicates that 59% of UK sport fans have stated they would watch sport exclusively on online streaming platforms for the rest of the year, highlighting the growing importance of online services for traditional sports. In the wearable and connected fitness world, some new reports on the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 emerged with some leaks on the new health features. Nubia Watch, the 4G smartwatch, is making a comeback. In the world of esport, Formula One announced a $750K Prize Pool for its 2020 F1 Esports Series.


Last week we kicked off our Upside guest writers series. Our first article entitled “Whole-body cryotherapy multi exposures speed up performance supercompensation during the taper in functionally overreached endurance athletes”, was from Christophe Hausswirth, PhD, Professor, world’s expert in hydration, nutrition & Cryotherapy. If you have not read it click on the link below to read the full article.

Read the article on cryotherapy

As a reminder, in the coming weeks we will publish a series of articles and analyses from various experts (e.g. GPS research, sports performance/cryotherapy, biofeedback, 5G/WiFi 6 strategies in stadium, etc..). Here is our schedule of guest writers and articles for the coming weeks:

  • August 24: Article title:“5G, Wi-Fi 6 and the roar of the Crowd”. Author: Pete DeNagy, Founder IoT America / Managing Principal, Acommence Advisors. Pete DeNagy is the former GM of Samsung Enterprise.
  • September 3: Article title:“GPS-related research in Team Sport – Are we done or is there new windows of opportunity ?”. Author: Mathieu Lacome, Head of R&D, PhD, PSG (Ligue 1).
  • September 10: Article title:“Creatine Supplementation and its Effects on Performance”. Author: Daniel Hayes, Performance Coach, LA Dodgers (MilB).

Note: If you want to connect with Len, Mathieu, Christophe, Daniel, don’t forget to create your free Upside profile and join our online community by clicking on the button below.


Later this week on Wednesday we will publish our monthly Upside podcast interview with Dr. Ron Dick, associate professor of sports marketing at Duquesne University in the school of business. As a reminder 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.

We discussed the major events that occurred during the month of August (MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS cup, College sports, diversity in sports).


As a reminder, we are now launching our new Upside Global platform to bring together our sports, tech & health community of 2,500 executives under a single web platform. Members include executives from the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB, Laliga, English Premiere League, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Series A, Brazilian soccer league, Olympic teams, Pro tennis, as well as representatives of startups, brands, VCs, and athletes.

If you are a head athletic trainer, CTO, CMO of a major sports team or league looking to connect with the most innovative startups or connect with your peers to network, or if you are a startup CEO looking to connect with top teams or investors, you can join our Upside community of executives from the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLBLaliga, English Premiere League, Olympic teams, top VCs, startups (AR, VR, wearables, sleep tech..) and more!

Your opportunity for growth starts now, create your free executive profile today to join our online community and click on “become a member today” as a first step. It is free to join! It only take one minute to create your profile.

Join the Upside online community

If you face any problems during the registration process, please click on the live support button on our website.


📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week

📺 NASCAR strengthens fan engagement with Motorsport.tv channel launch

👓 Robert Scoble: Facebook Identities On VR Are The Biggest Strategy Tax Of All Time (Guest Post)

⌚ Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 leaks point to amazing new health features

⌚ Nubia Watch is the embodiment of a smartwatch vision that nobody asked for.

🎮 CSM: Why more football clubs are transitioning into 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

📺 NASCAR strengthens fan engagement with Motorsport.tv channel launch | Via : Insider Sport

NASCAR has boosted its fan engagement opportunities by launching a dedicated channel on Motorsport.tv, Motorsport Network’s digital OTT platform devoted to racing and automotive content. Through the association’s partnership with Motorsport Network, NASCAR will have the opportunity to create a variety of content, including behind the scenes footage, to an international motorsport audience. Additionally, the partnership will expand the reach of NASCAR’s shoulder content while increasing international exposure for its national series and partner brands.

Wyatt Hicks, managing director of NASCAR Digital Media, stated: “NASCAR is a truly worldwide brand, and now, courtesy of Motorsports Network, NASCAR fans located internationally will have access to more content than ever before from their favorite sport.  (..) “Motorsports Network, through its global distribution platform, is the perfect partner to help us serve our fans around the globe and deliver them the type of content that they crave.”

⬆️ The Upside: This OTT partnership between NASCAR and Motorsport.tv is a good move. This is part of NASCAR’s strategy to increase fan engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Of note, NASCAR’s virtual racing series set a new record in March, pulling in 1.3 million total viewers across Fox and FS1 to become the highest-rated televised esports event ever. This month also saw Mercedes partner with Motorsport Network to boost its Formula 1 and Formula E content. The global OTT streaming market is expected grow from $104.11 billion in 2019 to $161.37 billion in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 55.0%. … The market is then expected to stabilize and reach $169.4 billion in 2023 at CAGR of 14.0% from 2021.

👓 Robert Scoble: Facebook Identities On VR Are The Biggest Strategy Tax Of All Time (Guest Post) | Via : New World Notes

Robert Scoble has co-authored four books on technology, the latest of which, “The Infinite Retina” lays out why Spatial Computing will reshape seven industries. He grew up in Silicon Valley and has had a front-row seat on the technology industry since he toured Apple Computer back in 1977. Here he takes some time away from his Summer vacation to give us some insights into why Facebook is forcing its users to use their real identities on its VR headsets sold under the Oculus brand name.

I’ve been watching the past few days as the VR industry has been outraged by a Facebook decision to force all its users on its VR headsets to sign up for a Facebook user account. When I worked at Microsoft we called this kind of decision to serve a business purpose, and not immediately improve customers’ lives, “a strategy tax.” This probably is the biggest strategy tax of all time. I get the outrage, but the industry will get over it quickly. Here’s why. In my experience consumers won’t pay hundreds of dollars more for competing devices that do less. In a few weeks I hear Facebook will announce a new device (and maybe more) that will be lower in price than the current Oculus Quest (which is a standalone device that costs $400). There are really no good competitors for a standalone device. The ones that exist cost more and do less (and that gap will get more stark over time due to the billions in R&D Facebook is spending). What the industry also isn’t getting is that this isn’t really about devices that are out today or coming tomorrow, but are about products that are being developed for 2022-2025 launches. Namely XR glasses that do some combination of augmented and virtual reality.

There are two fronts for why Facebook needs to tie users to real Facebook identities:

1. A pricing war with Apple.
2. A war over social functionality that soon will come.

All of these are about XR glasses. Let’s dig into each.

Read full article here

⬆️ The Upside: We believe that we are 2-3 years away before we see affordable hybrid AR/VR glasses become mainstream. The price point for consumer AR/VR glasses need to be in the $200-$500 price point in order to get traction. Now we believe that when Apple enters the AR glasses market in the next 24 months this will be a game changer. Many competing OEMs (Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Facebook..) will quickly follow suit with similar products. Then we will see a price war especially from the Chinese OEMs while OEMs like Apple will continue to offer AR glasses at a premium.


🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚ Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 leaks point to amazing new health features | Via : Wareable

There’s been rumblings of Fitbit preparing new smartwatches, and a new leak gives us a hint of some top new features. Images of a possible Fitbit Versa 3, all-new Fitbit Sense and Inspire 2 have popped up on WinFuture, and there are plenty of details to be gleaned. We’re going to caveat everything by saying that we’re assuming these leaks to be genuine because of the quality of the images, and that Fitbit devices always leak before IFA every year. But of course, this could all be nonsense.

Most exciting is the Fitbit Sense, a brand-new line for Fitbit. It looks like the Versa 3, but with a more premium looking design. Some conveniently placed icons on the rear of the device give us clues to a high-end, wellness-orientated feature set. We can’t be sure what they mean, but the first looks like it could be electrocardiogram (ECG), the second temperature, with GPS and 50m water resistance looking like dead certs at the end. This would be a great feature set for a Fitbit device. Adding ECG would catch up with the Apple Watch Series 5 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, and tracking body temperature would be hugely compelling considering the global pandemic. Body temperature has been a key focus of wearables being trialled for early warning devices for COVID-19, and can also be used for fertility tracking, which is already part of the Fitbit feature set.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this would be a good move by Fitbit. From a feature standpoint it makes sense for the Fitbit Sense to be packed with ECG sensor. Fitbit is playing catch up here as ECG has become the new norm. Many competitors like Apple, Withings, Samsung already offer ECG sensing as part of their smartwatch offering. Now regarding the temperature sensing feature, it is worth pointing out that we are only talking about measuring “skin temperature” not “body temperature”. What Fitbit needs to do get an edge over its competition is to instead measure “body temperature” measurement and add new biosensing capabilities like hydration, electrolyte, and BP measurement.

Picture : Smartwatchs Fitbit Sense and Versa 3

⌚ Nubia Watch is the embodiment of a smartwatch vision that nobody asked for. | Via : Wareable

A few years ago, in the days before Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch and WearOS, the default futuristic vision of a smartwatch was one of a giant, cuff-like, device with a screen wrapping around your wrist. The early renders and design concepts we’d see were more like smartphones people could wear rather than the genuinely stylish watches we see adorned with cutting-edge tech nowadays. But that hasn’t stopped ZTE from unleashing its second attempt at a smartwatch that nobody has asked for. And the Nubia Watch has just gone live on Kickstarter, a follow up to last year’s Nubia Alpha prototype. I’ve had the Nubia Watch wrapped around my wrist for the past few days – here’s what you need to know. It’s massive. It’s chunky. It, in no way, resembles a regular watch. But that’s not really the point is it? It’s all about that staggeringly large (for a smartwatch, at least) 4.01-inch, 960 x 192 (244ppi), flexible AMOLED display. Unlike the Alpha, which curved the whole screen, it’s kind of split into three sections.

It’s hard to knock the Nubia Watch. Perhaps it deserves some ridicule and I don’t actually believe there’s a genuine market for it – especially in the western world. But it kind of sets out to do and be exactly what it intended to be – a novelty, ‘futuristic’, smartwatch with a USP that no other smartwatch is offering; i.e. that mahoosive flexible AMOLED display. It’s buggy as heck, the app still feels in the early stages of beta testing and the software feels familiar to 2013’s Samsung Galaxy Gear. But it’s also a real head turner. People are going to ask you, “What the hell is that?” if you wear it out and about. It’s up to you if that’s a good or a bad thing. The Nubia Watch is on sale in China for 1799 yuan, which is around $260. On Kickstarter the super early bird price is $179 for the first 200 sold.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe the Nubia Watch is more of an experiment than anything else. It is too bulky, too heavy, and we believe there is a real market for it. Not to mention that the 4G and LED flexible screen are likely greatly impacting the battery life. We don’t expect ZTE to take share away from the likes of Apple or Samsung in the smartwatch market.


🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 CSM: Why more football clubs are transitioning into esports | Via: Insider Sport

Football is one of the biggest sports in the world, with Premier League clubs generating an estimated £1.55 billion in commercial revenue for the 2019/20 season, according to Deloitte.  However, 2020 has seen more football clubs transition into the virtual world by investing in the esports sector, whether that be through marketing campaigns or creating a competitive gaming brand. Speaking at ESI Digital Summer, James Gallagher-Powell of CSM Sport & Entertainment, a global integrated marketing and brand experience agency, explained why the world of esports is so enticing to football clubs.

“Why do football clubs and esports even make sense at all? So the reasons are fourfold. Firstly to attract a younger audience,” Gallagher-Powell stated. “In terms of this younger audience, I’m sure that many of you have seen the stats before, probably from a brand sponsor perspective. So why do brands think about sponsoring an esports property over traditional sports property? (…) “The average age for a Premier League fan is 42 and rising, and no doubt is higher than 42 within developed fan markets like in the UK. This ageing fan base begs two questions to football clubs: How do the clubs ensure their longevity and remain relevant to the next generation of sports fans? And how do they ensure that their club remains attractive to potential sponsors? (..) Esports can provide the perfect channel for this. It’s a way that clubs can attract a younger audience to their core operations, i.e football, and it can help clubs to safeguard their future popularity and therefore their future profitability.”

As Gallagher-Powell discussed, esports has a much younger demographic, compared to other traditional sports. According to the presentation, the average audience for esports is 26, which is nearly double that of the NFL (50).

Gallagher-Powell added: “Esports can also act as a bit of a hedge against future decline in footballing revenues. The long term bull view on esports is they will have parallels with the growth in franchise value that we’ve seen in traditional sports over the last 20 years, we’re expecting significant growth on all revenue streams across sponsorship, broadcast, and merchandise.

“It’s an extension of the existing football brand with a younger fanbase than they might typically have with just football and play future-proof themselves within that as well (..) “The flip-side somewhat so that is the PSG case. Which is certainly more costly, but what PSG have done in eSports quite broadly today is generally at least one of the few examples I use when showing football clubs the full potential of what they could gain and what they could benefit from for being involved in in esports, as we see here, there in Dota, they’re in FIFA, for sure, but they’re in Brawl Stars, they’re in League of Legends.”

Read full article

⬆️ The Upside: As we pointed out before, esport is a great new medium for soccer teams to attract new demographics especially a new audience. Some soccer teams have done a better job than others implementing their esport strategy . Getting a good ROI remains the #1 question among soccer teams. In our view we are still in the early days of esports as part of major soccer clubs. To learn more you can check out our analysis on esport: Hype VS reality.

Picture : PSG, esport


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

  • Sports streaming company DAZN is reportedly looking to raise $1 billion. Read on here.
  • Odyssey Interactive has raised $6M for a Canadian game studio founded by former Riot Games developers. Read on here.
  • Mental health coaching startup Ginger raises $50M. Read on here.

📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

$4.6B: As the NFL season approaches, billions of TV ad revenue are at stake. Last year, the league generated $3.3 billion in regular season ad revenue and $1.3 billion in the postseason. The NBA, NHL and MLB combined for $2 billion in national TV ad revenue last year. There’s also another $1.7 billion in TV ad revenue tied to college football, which has already lost two Power 5 conference seasons.

$2.8B: Jim Pallotta is selling his minority share of the Boston Celtics, according to three people familiar with the matter. Pallotta is selling his 8% stake in the Boston Celtics team to Steve Pagliuca. Pagliuca, a managing director at Bain Capital, is buying the stake at a $2.8 billion valuation, said one of the people, who was granted anonymity because the sale hasn’t been approved by the NBA.

$680M: A recent Washington University in St. Louis study found NHL, NBA and MLB game-day employees would lose at least $680 million from canceled games in 2020. NFL workers could lose another $100 million. To date, 12 NFL teams have announced they will start the season without fans in attendance.

$280M: Adidas, Nike and Under Armour stand to be some of the companies hit the hardest by college sports postponements, as each brand has millions tied up in school contracts.

Before the Pac-12’s season was shelved, Under Armour was attempting to get out of its deals with schools like UCLA and Cal. Among the brand’s reasons for trying to terminate the deals: the schools failing to fulfill contract obligations and, in the case of Cal, sales of out-of-date apparel by a third-party.

Largest College Apparel Deals in Big Ten and Pac-12:

— $280 million: Under Armour’s 15-year deal with UCLA

— $137.8 million: Nike’s 15-year deal with Michigan

— $119 million: Adidas’ 10-year deal with Washington

$95M: International rights remain the weak point of the French soccer league. BeIN is paying just $95 million per year through the 2024 season. But it is widely believed a material increase is on the horizon. As media rights consultant Dan Cohen explained, “ next comparison up—Serie A—is getting $330 million annually for their international rights, so there is a big disparity there and plenty of room for growth.”

$34M: Tennis remains the most lucrative sport for women as nine of the top 10 highest-paid female athletes of 2020 make their living playing the sport.  Naomi Osaka leads the list, making $34 million through 15 endorsement partners, including Procter & Gamble, All Nippon Airways and Nissin. Roger Federer was the only tennis player of either gender to earn more money than Osaka through endorsements.

Top 5 Highest Paid Female Athletes: 

  1. Naomi Osaka: $37.4 million
  2. Serena Williams: $36 million
  3. Ashleigh Barty: $13.1 million
  4. Simona Halep: $10.9 million
  5. Bianca Andreescu: $8.9 million

$615K: A pair of Michael Jordan’s game-worn Nike Air Jordan 1 shoes were auctioned off for a record $615,000 last week. Jordan wore the shoes in a 1985 exhibition game in Italy, and a piece of the backboard — shattered by a Jordan dunk — is still embedded in the shoe.

87K: Stadium concessionaires are among the hardest hit by leagues resuming without fans. Last June, there were about 182,000 people directly employed by the spectator sports industry.  This year, that number was 87,000.

8,022: The MLS’ safety protocol seemed to prevent team-to-team transmission and since July 14, MLS has administered 8,022 tests with zero confirmed positive results.

59%: According to a report by live video production company Grabyo, 59 per cent of UK sport fans have stated they would watch sport exclusively on online streaming platforms for the rest of the year, highlighting the growing importance of online services for traditional sports.

30: Bayern Munich’s win over over PSG this weekend, was the 30th straight win all competitions this season.

10.6: Top ten fastest players in world revealed with Kylian Mbappe clocking staggering 10.6 metres per Second.

6: Bayern Munich won its sixth UEFA Champions League Final with an edgy 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in Lisbon, Portugal on Sunday.


📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

2020 US Open Tennis in the bubble: We are just a few days away from the official start of the 2020 US open tennis in NY. Jason Jung, a pro tennis player, gives us a glimpse of what it’s like to live in the bubble of tournament.

From the MLS to Champions League winner. Alphonso Davies is an inspiring story. He went from playing in the MLS a few years ago to winning the Champions League with Bayern Munich.

Start-Up Nation is now a cyclist team too. Israel Start-Up Nation (UCI team code: ISN) is a UCI World Tour team founded in 2014 by Ron Baron and Ran Margaliot and based in Israel. Prior to 2020 the team was known as Israel Cycling Academy.

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Upside Guest Writers: Recovery from Overreaching using Whole-Body Cryotherapy, By Christophe Hausswirth, PhD, world’s expert in hydration, nutrition & Cryotherapy.

Upside Guest Writers: Recovery from Overreaching using Whole-Body Cryotherapy, By Christophe Hausswirth, PhD, world’s expert in hydration, nutrition & Cryotherapy.

This week, we have the honor to have Christophe Hausswirth, PhD, Professor, world’s expert in hydration, nutrition & Cryotherapy, write an article for The Upside on Whole-body cryotherapy multi exposures speed up performance supercompensation during the taper in functionally overreached endurance athletes”.  Yann Le Meur, performance expert from the Université Côte d’Azur, LAMHESS (Nice, France) was also the co-author of this study. Of note, Christophe, who is the former head of R&D at INSEP, and founder of beScored Institute in Sophia-Antipolis (France), works with Serena Williams and top athletes. Today we are publishing his first article.

Title: Recovery from Overreaching using Whole-Body Cryotherapy

By Christophe Hausswirth, PhD, Professor

HEADLINE

In many endurance sports, the competitive season involves a series of events that can stretch over several weeks or months (e.g. cycling, triathlon, biathlon). The resulting combination of frequent competitions with short tapers largely increases the risk of functional overreaching (F-OR) resulting in a decline in performance. Even though the F-OR state is generally reversed when an appropriate period of recovery is provided (~1-2 weeks), it can compromise the competition outcome in the short term. A recent study suggested that daily whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) exposures may mitigate the signs of F-OR during intensified training blocks (i.e. reduced sleep quantity, increased fatigue, and impaired exercise capacity) (1) but more research remains required to confirm this finding.

AIM

This aim of the present study was to investigate whether multiple WBC exposures would represent a convenient tool for recovering from F-OR by speeding up the performance supercompensation during a 1-week taper programmed after a heavy load training period in well-trained endurance athletes.

METHODS

Athletes. Sixteen triathletes volunteered to participate in this study (32 ± 4 y, VO2max 63 ± 6 mLO2.min-1.kg-1). All subjects had competed regularly for the past 2 years and were training a minimum of 6 times.wk-1. Their typical performance level over the Olympic distance triathlon ranged between 2h00 and 2h20. The experimental design of the study was approved by the Ethical Committee of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (acceptance no. 10054) and was carried out in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. Prior to participation in the investigation, subjects underwent a medical assessment. After comprehensive verbal and written explanations of the study, all subjects gave their written informed consent.

Design. The protocol is illustrated in Figure 1. During the taper (phase IV), the subjects were assigned to either a 1) WBC F-OR group or a 2) control F-OR group depending on their performance response at Mid and on their availability to perform one WBC session per day during the taper phase. The WBC F-OR group had one exposure (-110°C) per day during one week between 5 pm and 8 pm. WBC sessions were administered in a specially built, temperature-controlled unit (Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH, Ulm, Germany). During each WBC session, subjects remained in the therapy room for 3 min. The subject of the control F-OR group performed the same training program than the WBC F-OR group but they were not exposed to WBC. During the 48 h prior to each maximal oxygen uptake ( O2max) test, the participants were required to follow a nutritional plan in order to ensure adequate muscle glycogen stores for the performance tests.

 

Figure 1: Whole Body Cryotherapy group

Methodology. At the end of phases II (Pre), III (Mid) and IV (Post), the athletes performed a performance test consisting in a maximal incremental running test on a 340-m indoor running track. To ensure that performance variations during the maximal incremental runs were due to the global training regimen and not to the training session(s) performed the day before each test, the subjects were required to respect a 24 h rest period before each maximal incremental run session. The maximal incremental running tests allowed to determine a running performance through the total distance covered during the test by each triathlete. The test began at 11 km.h-1 and the speed was increased by 1 km.h-1 every 3 minutes until volitional exhaustion. The effect of the training regimen was also recorded through the assessment of the perceived fatigue of subjects before each test at rest.

ANALYSES

Assessment of overreaching. The triathletes who demonstrated decreased performance (vs. Pre) and high perceived fatigue (“very tired” to “extremely tired” on the fatigue scale) at Mid with subsequent performance supercompensation were diagnosed as F-OR (2).

Statistical analysis. The data were analyzed using the magnitude-based inference approach (3). The magnitude of the within-group changes, or between-group differences in the changes, were interpreted by using values of 0.2, 0.6, 1.2, 2.0 and 4.0 of the within-athlete variation (CV) as thresholds for small, moderate, large, very large and extremely large differences in the change between the trials or between the two groups. The mean typical within-athlete variation of each measured parameter was determined in a parallel group of eight control triathletes tested before and after a 3-week period of habitual training (data not presented here). To be diagnosed as overreached, the participants had to reveal a performance decrement higher than the largest variation reported in this control group (i.e. overreaching threshold, 3.3%). Quantitative chances of higher or lower differences were evaluated qualitatively as follows: <1%, almost certainly not; 1-5%, very unlikely; 5-25%, unlikely; 25-75%, possible; 75-95%, likely; 95-99%, very likely; >99%, almost certain. If the chance of higher or lower differences was >5%, the true difference was assessed as unclear.

RESULTS

For two subjects, the performance drop during the overload period did not reach the overreaching threshold despite a high perceived fatigue score. They were diagnosed as “acutely fatigued” (2) and were excluded from subsequent analyses. Thus, the subsequent results are presented for 14 F-OR subjects distributed in a control F-OR group (n = 7) and a WBC F-OR group (n = 7). The evolution of performance and perceived fatigue in both group are presented in Figure 2 and Table 1, respectively. An almost certain extremely large decrease in running performancewas observed in both groups during the overload training period (-8.8% ± 5.0% and -11.9% ± 2.6% in the F-OR control group and in the F-OR WBC group, respectively). The difference in change between both groups during this period was unclear (-3.0 ± 4.2%). At Post, both group demonstrated an almost certain higher performance than at Pre (+5.4 ± 4.6% and +10.0 ± 5.2% in the F-OR control group and in the F-OR WBC group, respectively), with a likely larger improvement in the F-OR WBC group (+4.2 ± 4.5%, very large).

 

Figure 2: Evolution of performance and perceived fatigue in 2 groups

DISCUSSION

Results showed that completing multi exposures to WBC induced a larger performance supercompensation after a simulated one-week taper in functionally overreached endurance athletes (+4.2 ± 4.5%). No between-group difference were reported while considering the changes in perceived fatigue level at rest but both groups returned to baseline values at the end of the taper phase.

While previous studies have already demonstrated that peak performance can be optimized by modifying training parameters (i.e., volume, intensity, frequency, taper pattern) (4) or using nutritional strategies (5), this study shows that daily cold exposure during a simulated 7-day taper is likely to help endurance athletes to improve the magnitude of performance supercompensation. More research is needed to understand the mechanisms underlying this result but preliminary findings showed that multiple exposures to WBC after a period of heavy training may mitigate the signs of accumulated fatigue during intensified training blocks (e.g.. reduced sleep quantity and increased perceived fatigue) (1). We cannot exclude that a placebo effect may also have played a substantial role in the present study. WBC multi-exposures could potentially have motivated participants to sustain higher exercise intensity during the performance test at the end of the taper phase than their control counterparts. Lastly, further research is required to determine if such finding may also be observed while using cold water immersion, which represents a more convenient and less expensive cold exposure recovery therapy.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

·       Multi exposures to WBC may likely influence positively recovery in F-OR endurance athletes.

·       The present results specifically support the use of WBC multi-exposure – and more generally the importance of optimizing recovery – for endurance athletes in the context of short tapers.

LIMITATIONS

·       The decrease in performance during the intensified training period was slightly larger in the WBC F-OR group (-11.9 ± 2.6% vs -8.8 ± 5.0% in the WBC F-OR group and in the control F-OR group, respectively). This point may potentially have influenced the performance rebound during the taper phase. Nevertheless, maximizing the fatigue level during the pre-taper phase does not necessarily contribute to an improved subsequent performance response. In fact, we recently reported that maximizing a state of overreaching during a pre-taper phase may even be harmful and that it could reduce the subsequent performance supercompensation (6).

DATASET

Dataset available on SportPerfSci.com.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The French Federation of Triathlon supported the study. We are thankful to the athletes for their participation.

REFERENCES

1. Schaal K, Le Meur Y, Louis J, Filliard JR, Hellard P, Casazza G, Hausswirth C. Whole-Body Cryostimulation Limits Overreaching in Elite Synchronized Swimmers. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015;47(7): 1416-25.

2. Meeusen R, Duclos M, Foster C, Fry A, Gleeson M, Nieman D, et al. Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the overtraining syndrome: joint consensus statement of the European College of Sport Science and the American College of Sports Medicine. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013;45(1): 186-205.

3. Hopkins WG, Marshall SW, Batterham AM, Hanin J. Progressive statistics for studies in sports medicine and exercise science. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;41(1): 3-13.

4. Bosquet L, Montpetit J, Arvisais D, Mujika I. Effects of tapering on performance: a meta-analysis. Med Sci Sports Exerc.2007;39(8): 1358-1365.

5. Walker JL, Heigenhauser GJ, Hultman E, Spriet LL. Dietary carbohydrate, muscle glycogen content, and endurance performance in well-trained women. J Appl Physiol. 2000;88(6): 2151-2158.

6. Aubry A, Hausswirth C, Louis J, Coutts A, Le Meur Y. Functional overreaching: the key to peak performance during the taper? Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014;46(9):1769-77.

FIGURE 1. Schematic representation of the experimental protocol. WBC: whole-body cryotherapy.

FIGURE 2. Changes inperformance from baseline during the maximal incremental running test before (Pre) and after the overload period (Mid) and at the end of the 1-week taper (Post) for the control F-OR group (A) and the WBC F-OR group (B). Within-group difference in change vs. Pre: *likely, **very likely, ***almost certain. Between-group difference in change vs. overreached control: #likely, ##very likely, ###almost certain. The shaded area represents the smallest worthwhile change (see Methods). WBC: whole-body cryotherapy; F-OR: functional overreaching.

Upside Guest Writers: Introducing the idea of Cognitive Fitness, by Len Zaichkowsky, PhD, World-Class’ Sports Biofeedback Expert

Upside Guest Writers: Introducing the idea of Cognitive Fitness, by Len Zaichkowsky, PhD, World-Class’ Sports Biofeedback Expert

This week, we have the honor to have Len Zaichkowsky, PhD, world’s class expert in biofeedback/psychophysiology, and cognitive fitness, write an article on “The Idea of cognitive fitness”. Of note, Len has worked with many elite pro teams (Warriors (NBA), Penguins (NHL), Vancouver Canucks (NHL), Real Madrid, National Spanish soccer team…) over the years. Len is going to write a series of articles for the Upside on biofeedback, psychophysiology, and cognitive fitness, . Today we are publishing his first article.

Title: Introducing the idea of Cognitive Fitness

By Len Zaichkowsky, PhD

Coaches and athletes in every sport including e-sports understand the importance of being physically fit in order to compete at the highest levels.  And most athletes could describe what makes up physical fitness.  This would include factors such as: strength, power, agility, speed, flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular endurance.  Over the years, sport scientists, exercise physiologists, and strength and conditioning coaches have learned how to define and measure the factors of physical fitness, and how to train the critical components. It is quite likely that many of you are not familiar with the history of Physical Fitness and particularly Strength training for athletes.  So here is a brief historical account authenticated by the legendary strength coach Vern Gambetta, a teacher of many.

Although college sport, and professional sport leagues as well as the modern Olympic Games are all over 100 years old, systematic strength and conditioning training  did not start until strength training was introduced at LSU in 1958 by Alvin Roy who later went on to work with the San Diego Chargers in 1962.  Boyd Epley at the University of Nebraska in the late 1960’s and early 70’s  helped convince coaches globally that strength training did indeed enhance athlete performance and strength training did not make athletes slower—a major myth at that time. Today it would be unheard of for athletes in any sport to train without a Strength & Conditioning coach to train Physical Fitness

What is interesting is that we do not really have an equivalent categorization for “brain fitness”, or fitness from the neck up, or what I would like to call “Cognitive Fitness”.  Indeed we have something we refer to as “Sport Psychology” or  “Mental Skills for Sport”, and often times sport psychologists that provide counseling/coaching services, but this specialization did not appear on the global stage until the early 1980’s, first with Olympic athletes. In fact, I started one of the first graduate training programs in North America at Boston University in the mid 1980’s. So this hopefully gives you a sense of how new psychology is to the world of sport.  For a variety of reasons sport psychology, unlike strength & conditioning remained underdeveloped, but things are changing and I would like to have Upside members take advantage of this new information that is based on solid brain science.

For a few years now I have been working with Australian psychologist, Dr. Eugene Aidman in  developing a Cognitive Fitness framework.  In January of 2020, Dr. Aidman published what I think will be a groundbreaking paper not only for high performance sport but high performance in many other domains. The article appeared in the prestigious scientific journal, “Frontiers in Human Neuroscience”, the title being “Cognitive Fitness Framework: Towards Assessing, Training, And Augmenting Individual-Difference Factors Underpinning High-Performance Cognition”.  Here “high performance” applies not only to sport, but to the military, aerospace, surgery and emergency medicine, education, the performing arts and the corporate world. For those of you that would like to read the original paper here is the citation: Aidman E (2020) Cognitive Fitness Framework: Towards Assessing, Training and Augmenting Individual-Difference Factors Underpinning High-Performance Cognition. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 13:466. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00466 

Dr. Aidman is a former high level track athlete from Moscow, but now is a distinguished research scientist for the Australian military, plus has academic appointments at the University of Sydney and University of New Castle in New South Wales, Australia. I am now working with Dr. Aidman and a large panel of international experts on further defining what makes up cognitive fitness, how to measure it, and how to train it. You should know that just like Physical Fitness, Cognitive Fitness is not only important for one’s athletic career, but also for life after formal competition, where having a fit and healthy body and sharp, healthy mind is essential.

As you can imagine the Cognitive Fitness Framework is quite extensive, so at this time I will focus on the most important components of athletic performance. The three pillars of the performance mindset are: 1. Staying Focused, 2. Staying Calm, 3. Being Flexible when faced with Pressure/Stress, and Challenges.

But there are other primary cognitive capacities that are critical to staying calm, focused and flexible.  They include having a strong personal self-awareness, situational awareness,  solid memory, task switching ability, resistance to distraction, impulse control, and an understanding of how you can optimally use imagery skills, as well as learning to use your breath to regulate your thoughts, emotions and actions.

Similar to physical power and strength and endurance, cognitive fitness can be improved through deliberate, focused training, but it takes a long-term investment in time and willingness to get better. The “gold standard” for physical fitness training consists of : 1. Isolating the specific muscle groups, 2. Overloading the specific system, 3. Recovering from the training. The same holds true for Cognitive Training.  We provide you with exercises that will put the brain and nervous system in pressure situations, we overload it by doing “over speed training for the brain, and placing you in a zone of discomfort. Then the brain has to recover after this workout.  The good news is that recovery methods for cognition overlap with physical recovery methods.  That is we use the best science from sleep research, nutrition research, and mindfulness/meditation to facilitate the recovery of the brain. And of course we cannot forget the importance of social support from your teammates, coaches, friends, and significant others. I trust this brief introduction to the idea of  “Cognitive Fitness” will help move the conversation forward.

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Latest Tech in Sports? AR Coaching Glasses for Runners. Launching Upside Guest Writers Series & Forum Discussion

Latest Tech in Sports? AR Coaching Glasses for Runners. Launching Upside Guest Writers Series & Forum Discussion

Dear Colleague,

We hope you had a great week last week. This week we are kicking off our Upside guest writers series. In the coming weeks we will publish a series of articles and analyses from various experts (e.g. sports performance/cryotherapy, biofeedback, 5G/WiFi 6 strategies in stadium, etc..). As part of that, on Thursday we are also launching our online forums on our Upside platform so don’t forget to create join our online community by clicking on the button below to join the conversation:

Join the Upside online community

Here is our schedule of guest writers and articles for the coming weeks:

  • August 13: Article title: “Introducing the idea of Cognitive Fitness”. Author: Len Zaichkowsky, world’s class expert in biofeedback/psychophysiology, and cognitive fitness. Works with top teams (Warriors/NBA, Penguins/NHL, etc..).
  • August 17: Article title: “Whole-body cryotherapy multi exposures speed up performance supercompensation during the taper in functionally overreached endurance athletes”.Author: Christophe Hausswirth,PhD, Professor, world’s expert in hydration, nutrition & Cryotherapy. Works with Serena Williams and top athletes.
  • August 24: Article title: “5G, Wi-Fi 6 and the roar of the Crowd”. Author: Pete DeNagy, Founder IoT America / Managing Principal, Acommence Advisors. Pete DeNagy is the former GM of Samsung Enterprise.

Last week, the NHL season officially resumed in the US and Canada with several NHL players taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matters movement. The NBA owners also announced their plan to allocate $300M launch the NBA Foundation with the NBPA to create “greater economic empowerment in the Black community.” The MLB’s opening weekend saw record numbers (4M viewers on the opening night) with more than twice the number of viewers as 2019 and ESPN’s first 12 broadcasts averaged 1.16 million viewers, a 34% increase from 2019. In addition, the Big 12 conference plans to adopt a 10-game football schedule this year. A group including actor and former WWE star Dwayne Johnson “The Rock”, also agreed to purchase the XFL for about $15 million, according to a news release issued last Monday morning. Lastly the Champions’ league also resumed last week.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, PFL launched a free MMA OTT platform, while the F1 federation teamed up with YouTube. Ghost Pacer launched a companion app which provides an augmented reality running coach designed for runners. In the wearable and connected fitness world, Garmin launched a new smartwatch (Forerunner 45 Plus).. A new report revealed new specs about Amazfit Band 6. In the world of esport, the NBA named Olybet as its official betting partner, while some NBA players secured investment in blockchain-based game developer Dapper Labs.


This week we had the honor to interview Kai Bond, partner at Courtside Ventures, a leading sports tech VC, focused on early-stage sports, fitness, and gaming companies.  Kai is a repeat founder, starting 3 companies and has spent the last 5 years as an early stage investor in NYC.

Throughout our conversation, we talked about his background (3x founder, Comcast Ventures, Samsung NEXT, Microsoft..), how he got into venture capitalism, and his view on the esport and gaming market and his advice for startups looking to raise money.

Listen to Kai Bond’s podcast interview


As a reminder, we are now launching our new Upside Global platform to bring together our sports, tech & health community of 2,500 executives under a single web platform. Members include executives from the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB, Laliga, English Premiere League, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Series A, Brazilian soccer league, Olympic teams, Pro tennis, as well as representatives of startups, brands, VCs, and athletes.

If you are a head athletic trainer, CTO, CMO of a major sports team or league looking to connect with the most innovative startups or connect with your peers to network, or if you are a startup CEO looking to connect with top teams or investors, you can join our Upside community of executives from the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB, Laliga, English Premiere League, Olympic teams, top VCs, startups (AR, VR, wearables, sleep tech..) and more!

Your opportunity for growth starts now, create your free executive profile today to join our online community and click on “become a member today” as a first step. It is free to join! It only take one minute to create your profile.

Join the Upside online community

If you face any problems during the registration process, please click on the live support button on our website.


📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

🤼  PFL boosts fan engagement with free MMA OTT platform

🏎️ F1 teams up with YouTube

👓 An augmented reality running coach designed by runners, for runners

⌚ Garmin launches Forerunner 45 Plus: Its budget watch just got even better

⌚ The Amazfit Band 6 is the Alexa-toting Mi Band 5 we’ve been waiting for

🎮 NBA names Olybet as official betting partner

🎮 NBA players secure investment in blockchain-based game developer Dapper Labs

💸 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

🤼  PFL boosts fan engagement with free MMA OTT platform | Via: Insider Sport

MMA organisation the Professional Fighters League (PFL) has launched its own OTT platform, giving fans free access to a variety of original content and PFL’s fight library. The PFL MMA app is expected to increase fan engagement and potential customer growth through the use of the free platform. In order to ensure that the app remains commercially beneficial to the organisation it will monetise the platform using sponsorship and advertising opportunities. Additionally, microtransaction purchases for fans tied to gaming and exclusive content will also be used.

PFL CEO Peter Murray stated:  “With the launch of our first OTT platform, we’re excited to fulfill the growing global demand for our product by providing fight fans around the world with free access to premium PFL content wherever, whenever and however they want to consume it. Professional Fighters League is a media and content company. As we continue to grow, innovate, and reimagine MMA, we have placed an emphasis on engaging fans all year long through impactful storytelling and unprecedented access to the sport, our fighters, and the action inside the cage”

The platform will feature PFL’s entire fight list including never-before-seen World Series of Fighting match-ups. Moreover, though PFL Studios, the app will showcase original content such as behind-the-scenes footage and exclusive interviews. In order to create the OTT platform the PFL has teamed up with ViewLift to offer end-to-end solutions for creating, launching, and monetising video applications across mobile, over-the-top, connected TV and game consoles.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe this is a good move by the PFL to launch its own OTT platform. ’s decision to launch a free OTT application could prove to be a smart decision if the platform is marketed well so it can reach a worldwide audience. If so then it will undoubtedly increase its fan base whilst also opening up commercial opportunities with potential sponsors through the PFL MMA app. You can check out our latest analysis on sports teams’ OTT strategies here.

Picture: MMA, UFC.

🏎️ F1 teams up with YouTube | Via: Insider Sport

Formula 1 has announced that for the first time ever it will broadcast a Grand Prix for free on YouTube including everything from practice sessions, qualifying, to the race day itself, across selected European markets. The partnership between Formula 1 and YouTube sees the Eifel Grand Prix in Germany be livestream on the competition’s official channel in Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Additionally, YouTube will also be provided with additional content such as race previews, highlights, and analysis. Adam Crothers, Formula 1’s head of digital media rights stated: “We are thrilled to be working with YouTube on such an exciting project.

“As we continue to diversify our media distribution strategy and expand our digital offering, it is imperative that we engage fans who consume mediums differently and YouTube offers us the platform to achieve that. “Partnering with YouTube also ensures we continue our pursuit of engaging new audiences in new ways to grow the F1 fan base whilst continuing to innovate our media offering for new and existing fans.”

The Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring in Germany is set to begin on Sunday, October 11.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that this is a good move by both the F1 Federation and Google/YouTube. It will help the F1 Federation further inncrease its viewership and digitize its business. Of note, in 2019 F1 broadcasted to 1.9 billion total audience. It also fits well with its esports strategy where Formula One’s Esports Virtual Grands Prix recently achieved 30 million views across TV and digital platforms during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown period.

picture : F1 car.

👓 An augmented reality running coach designed by runners, for runners. | Via: VR Scout

There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition, especially when it comes to physical fitness. Unfortunately, finding a reliable training partner compatible with your specific workout goals can often prove difficult, especially in a post COVID-19 world. Ghost Pacer aims to take the stress away from coordinating runs, allowing you to select the route and speed of an AR holographic avatar and race against it in real-time; any time, any place. In addition to going head-to-head with on-demand workout partners, you can also challenge fellow Ghost Pacer users as well as race against yourself by revisiting old workouts.

“It’s hard to speculate, but it seems the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated a preexisting trend of the average work schedule becoming more flexible and including options for telecommuting,” stated CEO AbdurRahman Bhatti during a conversation with VRScout. “As schedules become more varied the need for on-demand fitness technology will grow, and we are aiming squarely at meeting that need for runners.” “Furthermore, there are significant implications for areas such as yoga and physical therapy – slower types of exercise to which form is critical, and we are actively targeting a move to indoor-compatible technology as the next step on our roadmap (assuming a successful launch of the current iteration) to provide for those needs.”

Here’s how it works: using the Ghost Pacer companion app, users can select a target pace or a previous workout to race against. A holographic avatar will appear on the track/road/path, allowing them to race against their digital adversary for competitive edge; slow down and the hologram will leave you behind, keep on pace and the model will jog side-by-side with you throughout your run. Users can even integrate their existing Strava runs into their training, opening up access to thousands of other pre-determined routes. At the time of this writing Ghost Pacer sits $22,464 above its original funding goal of $25,000 with 29 days left to go in the Kickstarter campaign. Those interested in learning more can visit ghostpacer.com/blogs/#.

⬆️ The Upside:  We think this is an interesting AR concept and we could see some players and coaches using it while running. That being said having to wear some AR glasses seems a bit of a stretch. But the glasses do not seem to be too heavy. It will be interesting to see how much traction this AR startup will get in the coming years.

Video : Video montage about the Ghost Pacer Headset.


🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

Garmin launches Forerunner 45 Plus: Its budget watch just got even better | Via : Wareable

Garmin has quietly announced an upgrade to its Forerunner 45 GPS running watch, with a couple of interesting feature additions. The Forerunner 45 is the company’s entry level running watch, offering basic GPS tracking in a really, slim and lightweight package. We’ve been big fans ever since our initial review, thanks to the Forerunner 45’s super-slim design and no-nonsense feature set, while still offering decent insights on VO2 Max. And that’s where the company has looked to improve the Forerunner 45 Plus.

The only differences over the Forerunner 45 seems to be the addition of some specialist metrics including Race Predictor and Recovery Time Advisor. Both of these metrics are based on heart rate data and are derived from Firstbeat’s heart rate variability algorithms. Those paying attention will know that Garmin recently bought Firstbeat, so this could be the start of those metrics filtering onto entry level devices. Elsewhere, the Forerunner 45 has the same slim 42mm case, heart rate monitor, 5ATM water resistance, pace, distance and time metrics, 7 day battery life with smart notifications and 13 hours of continuous GPS tracking. What’s not certain is whether the Forerunner 45 Plus will replace or augment the existing Forerunner 45. It’s been listed at UK retailers for £139.99 (around $150), which is about the same as the existing Forerunner 45. It’s a fantastic price, and means we could see the ordinary Forerunner 45 drop to the $100 mark for the Holidays, which would make it a smash hit we’re sure.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this new Garmin watch is a nice addition to the Garmin’s smartwatch portfolio. Race Predictor and Recovery Time Advisor are some good incremental improvements, and we expect Garmin to put to good use the acquisition of Firstbeat’s heart rate variability algorithms in order to add new types of capabilities in the coming years. By doing so this should help Garmin further gain market share in the smartwatch market.

Picture : the watch “Forerunner 45 Plus”

The Amazfit Band 6 is the Alexa-toting Mi Band 5 we’ve been waiting for | Via : Wareable

The Amazfit Band 6 has leaked online, and it looks like it’s everything we hoped the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 would be. The Amazfit Band 6 leaked last week after code was spotted online, but now things have ratcheted up a notch, with a page going live on Aliexpress, and now images and details appearing at Geekdoing. The leaks reveal a near-identical build to the Mi Band 5, but with Amazon Alexa and an SpO2 sensor. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the exact specs we reported in the run up to the Mi Band 5 launch. Those leaks, which then turned into speculation of a Mi Band 5 Pro, referenced a product codenamed “York” at Huami. But this seems like it was actually the Amazfit Band 6 all along. Xiaomi and Amazfit are both part of Huami, and both companies are generally careful not to step on each other’s toes. Amazfit does push towards a more prosumer audience when it comes to fitness, at least in the Chinese market.

So it makes sense that the Amazfit Band 6 shows off these features ahead of Xiaomi. But elsewhere it’s unchanged over the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5. You still get a 1.1-inch AMOLED display with a 126×294 resolution, waterproofing to 50 metres and 15 days of battery life. It also uses PAI to offer a single score based on your weekly fitness and activity, and there’s guided breathing and menstrual tracking too. Like the Mi Band 5 there are 11 dedicated sport tracking profiles. The leaks suggest it will come in olive, orange and black. We don’t have any pricing or availability, but judging from the leaked images, it can’t be too far away.

⬆️ The Upside: The Amazfit Band 6 appears to not offer much improvements compared to its predecessor. We think this is the wrong strategy. Instead the vendor should focus on adding new biosensing capabilities (e.g.hydration, BP, electrolyte, fatigue measurement..). Historically fitness bands users have stopped using fitness bands after a few weeks as they feel like the band does not offer much value. As a results most fitness bands makers experience a high churn rate. Once again this is another reason why OEMs should focus on innovation and continuing to add value rather than adding such another SKU without a real differentiator.

picture : 2 watchs “Amazfit Band 6”


🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 NBA names Olybet as official betting partner | Via: Insider Sport

The NBA has added to its growing commercial portfolio following its latest deal with the Olympic Entertainment Group AS (OEG) which sees Olybet become the league’s official betting partner across Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia. Under the terms of the agreement, OEG will be able to use official NBA branding across its land-based and digital sports betting offerings throughout the nations. Moreover, the partnership will be promoted across more than 100 casino and retail locations in the regions. Scott Kaufman-Ross, Senior Vice President, Head of Fantasy & Gaming at NBA, commented:

“We are thrilled to partner with OEG, a market leader in gaming resorts in the region. The timing of our partnership is ideal, given the unique opportunity in which NBA games will be live in European primetime every day during the seeding stage of the season restart. Our partnership will give OlyBet the tools to create the most authentic NBA betting experience in the region, providing another way for fans to engage with the NBA.”

The NBA is back in full swing following its postponement due to the global health pandemic back in March. The competition has followed in the footsteps of other major leagues in the US, such as MLS, in resuming its operations under strict health and safety guidelines to mitigate the risk of spreading coronavirus.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a great move by the NBA as part of its quest to adopt sports betting and generate new revenue opportunities to drive its top line. Of note, the global sports betting market is expected to reach nearly $155.49B in revenue by 2024, and $134.5B by 2027, according to data provided by Transparency Market Research. It is boosted by the stronger presence of online betting and COVID-19 has accelerated this trend.

Picture : Ruby Gobert (Basketball player of the Utah Jazz)

🎮 NBA players secure investment in blockchain-based game developer Dapper Labs | Via: Insidersport

Dapper Labs, the developer behind blockchain game NBA Top Shot, has secured $11.4M in new funding from investors which includes the likes of Miami Heat’s Andre Iguodala and Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie among others. NBA Top Shot is a new platform that allows users to buy and trade tokens featuring NBA moments and players. The app has currently been in beta launch from June, however it has generated an estimated $1.2M in revenue from its first 500 players already. The firm will use its new investment to scale Flow, a new blockchain built by Dapper Labs to support the next generation of games, apps and its digital assets. Additionally, the funding will be used to deliver on previously announced collaborations with UFC, Dr. Seuss and Warner Music, among others.

“Crypto enables entirely new possibilities for people to create and exchange value on the internet,” stated Roham Gharegozlou, founder and CEO of Dapper Labs. Flow is a new and easy to use blockchain that lowers barriers to entry and lets anyone join this new digital economy. The funding from this round will ensure Flow can scale to the size of projects appealing to fan bases as big as the NBA. Flow lets fans join the economy of their community in a way that wasn’t possible before crypto.”

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a great move by NBA players Andre Iguodala and Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie, Garrett Temple, JaVale McGee of the Los Angeles Lakers, and Orlando Magic’s Aaron Gordon. Of note, the global blockchain market size is expected to grow from $3B in 2020 to $39.7B by 2025, at an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 67.3% during 2020–2025. Check out our analysis on the sports blockchain market here.

Picture : Andre Iguodala (Miami Heat/NBA)


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


📊 Key Tech & Biz Sports Stats of The Week

$710B: The pandemic has accelerated e-commerce growth, with U.S. online retail sales expected to reach nearly $710 billion in 2020. Should that play out, it would be 14.5% of total U.S. retail sales, up from 11% in 2019 — the single biggest leap in online retail share in one year.

$5B: Disney saw its revenue drop 42% year-over-year as the coronavirus wreaked havoc across the company, resulting in a nearly $5 billion loss. While its theme park business took the biggest hit, its media networks, including ESPN and ABC, experienced a 2% drop in revenue. That drop was largely due to lower advertising revenue alongside the absence of live sports.

$1.78B: Epic Games announced it has raised $1.78 billion in new funding. With the new raise, Epic is now valued at $17.3 billion. A previous billion dollar round closed in 2018, valuing the company at $15 billion.

$1B: BodyArmor, which recently passed Powerade to become the number two sports drink brand by sales, is expected to surpass $1 billion in sales this year. It had $400 million in sales in 2018.

$770M: AS Roma has confirmed that US consortium The Friedkin Group has signed a deal to purchase the Serie A club in a transaction that is valued at £533m (€591m).

-$394M: Despite a 35% sales decline and $394 million quarterly loss, Adidas expects to return to profitability in the third quarter. At the root of the bullishness: a 93% jump in online sales.

Sports Apparel Most Recent Quarterly Revenues:

Nike: $6.3B, down 38% year-over-year

Adidas: $4.24B, down 35%

Under Armour: $708M, down 41%

Lululemon: $651.96M, down 17%

$300M: NBA owners will contribute $300 million in initial funding to launch the NBA Foundation with the NBPA to create “greater economic empowerment in the Black community.”

$300M: The $300M Disneyland of football is expected to open this fall in Canton, Ohio around the Pro football all of game.

$176M: Joe Bryan scored twice in extra time at Wembley to give Fulham the win in what is widely called the most lucrative game in football. Fulham will receive at least £135 million ($176M) over three years after securing promotion, a year after being relegated from the world’s richest football league.

65M: Disney+ has grown to 60.5M subscribers, up from 54M in May. Disney also has a combined 100M video streaming users including Hulu+, ESPN +.

$15M: A group including actor and former WWE star Dwayne Johnson has agreed to purchase the XFL for about $15 million, according to a news release issued last Monday morning.

8.5M: Espn + now has 8.5M subs, up from 2.4M last June.

1.16M: Despite the hurdles presented in the schedule, MLB has drawn well on TV. Opening weekend had more than twice the number of viewers as 2019 and ESPN’s first 12 broadcasts averaged 1.16 million viewers, a 34% increase from 2019. The network’s Opening Night game drew an average of 4 million viewers.

155: Lewis Hamilton equals Michael Schumacher’s podiums record.

75%: Division I, where football can generate as much as 75% of a school’s athletic department revenue, brings in as much as $150 million.

34%: MLB was up 34% in viewership compared to last year.

-78%: Planet fitness revenue dropped 78% YoY last quarter due to Covid-19.


📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

How many more? NBA star Damian Lillard was wearing a jersey saying “How many more?” to express his support for the Black Lives Matters movement.

NHL & Black Lives Matters: After MLS, NBA players, F1 drivers…some NHL players also took a knee last week. Well done!

PSG & Harvard case study: PSG, which has become a world’s top sports brand (via Air Jordan) has now become an Harvard case study.

Latest tech in Sports? Robotic Digital autographs for fans. Ferrari Enters Esport.

Latest tech in Sports? Robotic Digital autographs for fans. Ferrari Enters Esport.

Dear Colleague,

Last week, the NBA season officially resumed in Orlando with most players taking a knee in support for the Black Lives Matters movement. The NFL is now planning to allow players to have decal stickers on the back of their helmets bearing names or initials of victims of systemic racism and police violence.

Formula 1 also canceled any plans of staging races in the US, Mexico and Brazil due to the growing coronavirus pandemic in the Americas, as confirmed by the competition. Speaking of F1, Ferrari officially entered the esport market and is now inviting fans to join its esports academy. In the US, the Southeastern Conference now plans for a 10-game conference-only football schedule this fall. Of note, the Power 5 schools are now expected to lose an average of $18.6M in ticket sales this year.

Teams continue to be hit by COVID-19. The latest team? The Marlins (MLB). At least 4 players from the Marlins tested positive for COVID-19, joining at least a dozen others within the organization. To prevent COVID-19 and improve safety, fans of LAFC, a top MLS team, will next year be able to use an app called Clear, made by Alclear and used by some airline passengers to speed through security checks by presenting their fingerprints or showing their faces.

Speaking of COVID-19, the cost of COVID-19 has affected the brand value of multiple football clubs with the top 50 teams losing a total of $884M in value, according to the latest Brand Finance Football Annual report. It is also estimated that the NHL has brought in $3.9B in revenue so far this season, compared to more than $5 billion last season. The good news here is that most major sports leagues (NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, Premier league, Laliga, Ligue 1, Series A..) have already restarted their seasons and are receiving money from TV rights. This is a tremendous help as it will help them offset any losses occurred due to COVID-19 due to losses in ticket sales.

For the fifth straight year, the Dallas Cowboys top Forbes’ list of the most valuable teams in sports and is valued at $5.5B. Chiefs NFL Quarterback Patrick Mahomes also became part of the Kansas City Royals ownership group last week.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, Snap launched a new mobile AR experience in Orlando, FL. Bayern Munich also launched robotic digital autograph sessions in association with Audi. Microsoft Corp is also in talks to buy TikTok, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing a source. In the wearable and connected fitness world, dates around the launch of the Apple Watch Series 6 have surfaced. Huawei Watch GT2 Pro is also rumored to be launching next month with a voice assistant. Fitbit owners can now help create a test to detect early signs of COVID-19. In the world of esport, Former NBA Player Marcin Gortat invested in the Polish Esports League while NHL Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner is now part of OverActive Media ownership Group.


Aa a reminder, we are now launching our new Upside Global platform to bring together our sports, tech & health community of 2,500 executives under a single web platform. Members include executives from the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB, Laliga, English Premiere League, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Series A, Brazilian soccer league, Olympic teams, Pro tennis, as well as representatives of startups, brands, VCs, and athletes.

If you are a head athletic trainer, CTO, CMO of a major sports team or league looking to connect with the most innovative startups or connect with your peers to network, or if you are a startup CEO looking to connect with top teams or investors, you can join our Upside community of executives from the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB, Laliga, English Premiere League, Olympic teams, top VCs, startups (AR, VR, wearables, sleep tech..) and more!

Your opportunity for growth starts now, create your free executive profile today to join our online community and click on “become a member today” as a first step. It is free to join! It only take one minute to create your profile.

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📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

🏀  Snap launches new mobile AR experience with the NBA

🤖 Bayern Munich launches robotic digital autograph sessions Audi in China

⌚ Apple Watch Series 6 release date rumored

⌚ Huawei Watch GT2 Pro could launch next month with voice assistant

⌚ Fitbit owners to help create a test to detect early signs of COVID-19

🎮 Former NBA Player Marcin Gortat Invests in Polish Esports League

🎮 NHL Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner Now Part of OverActive Media Ownership Group

💸 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

🏀  Snap launches new mobile AR experience with the NBA

At the NBA tournament in Orlando, Snap unveiled a new AR experience with The NBA.

“With the NBA season returning tonight, we’re excited to give fans the opportunity to bring the court from Orlando into their living rooms. Hugely proud of this collaboration with our friends at the NBA- check out this unique AR experience on Snap!”, said Anmol Malhotra, head of sports partnerships at Snap.

Snap is introducing this in Orlando where the NBA season is resuming and games are played without fans in stadiums. Sports has become a key focus for Snap which has teamed up with some of the biggest sports brands and athletes in the world. In fact, in 2019 it teamed up with Lebron James and launched a fresh in-store AR advertisement for Snap.  According to a Snap spokesperson, a video of the augmented reality experience shared by James on Twitter acquired over 1.25M views via his tweet itself.

⬆️ The Upside:  This is a great move by the NBA. As noted above, Snap has done a great job partnering with major sports brands and athletes to create these types of mobile AR experience. Of note, mobile AR reached in revenue $3 billion globally in 2018, driven by appstore revenues (primarily Pokémon Go), adspend (e.g. from mobile AR features in messaging apps) and eCommerce sales (e.g. Houzz delivering 11x sales uplift). Mobile AR installed base (i.e. configured devices) grew more slowly than anticipated to over 850M globally. Ultimately, we expect more leagues and teams to jump on the bandwagon as it is part of teams’ and leagues’ strategy to offer new types of mobile AR experiences. You can check out our latest analysis on the sports AR market, ecosystem, vendors and experiences here.

Picture: NBA, Snap

🤖 Bayern Munich launches robotic digital autograph sessions Audi in China

Last week, Bayern Munich announced its first-ever Audi Digital Summer Tour. The goal? Connecting FC Bayern München and their fans from July 25 to August 2 via a digital experience. The club and its stars will get close to their global fans via digital platforms with (live-) content, virtual fan challenges and interactions. One of the main highlights: The digital autograph sessions! The Robograph is programmed to “hand sign” the autographs of 19 different FC Bayern players like Thomas Müller and Leon Goretzka. The fans in China can also join them at the Audi stand at the #Chengdu Motor.

⬆️ The Upside:  Using a robotic arm to help create players’ digital autographs for fans is an innovative experience. Plus it is a win win for both parties. Audi, on one hand, can leverage its expertise in robotics while Bayern Munich can continue to engage with its fans while limiting contacts between players and fans during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is worth pointing out that over the past few months during the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen a number of teams using robots: For example the Rakuten Monkeys, a Chinese Professional Baseball League team, had robot mannequins fill in as fans at games. Now will this become a major new trend among pro teams? It is still too soon to tell.

Picture: Bayern Munich, Audi


🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚ Apple Watch Series 6 release date rumored  | Via: Wearable

Rumours that the Apple Watch Series 6 could launch on 8 September with the Apple Glass AR specs appears to be fake – after it was widely reported by the Apple press.
At Wareable we’ve been assuming that the new Series 6 would follow Apple’s tradition of unveiling its smartwatch in early-September, but in this topsy-turvy post-Covid world, that was no longer a given. So-called tipster Hacktu Pro tweeted that the Apple event will take place on 8 April – and alleged that Apple Glass could join it. But the tweet has since been deleted.

We called into doubt the accounts’ reliability, although predicting a September release for the Apple Watch isn’t exactly a major revelation. Every Apple Watch has been outed in September, even though we were made to wait until April for the original. But the tipster got tongues wagging after hinting that Apple Glass – the long-rumored AR specs – could show up. While this seemed extremely unlikely, it did get us thinking about whether Apple’s AR specs could get an outing this year. Prominent Apple observer Jon Prosser has said that Apple Glass is headed for a 2020 release, even if it won’t be available to buy until 2021. However, previous rumors have suggested that the release date could be 2022 and that the project had been shelved altogether. Given the AR wearables market just hasn’t kicked off in any meaningful way and with zero consumer expectations, we’d still be surprised to see Apple take the plunge at this stage.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that Apple needs to push the boundaries in terms of innovation with the new Apple Watch 6 series. So far Apple has added incremental improvements to the Apple Watch but it needs to beak that cycle and offer truly innovative biosensing capabilities like hydration assessment,BP monitoring, contactless biosensors and more. Now Apple filed a patent recently around a concept that would allow the Apple Watch to add new sensing capabilities as part of a modular approach. We believe that this is the type of thing that Apple needs to focus on if it wants to sustain its lead in the smartwatch market. You can check out our analysis on the contactless biosensor market here.

⌚ Huawei Watch GT2 Pro could launch next month with voice assistant | Via: Wearable

We’ve had an inkling a new Huawei Watch GT could be in the works, and sure enough a certification has just passed through a key regulator. A Huawei Watch GT2 Pro and Honor Watch GS Pro (these two brands usually come in pairs with near identical specs) were spotted at the EEC (Eurasian Electronic Commission). It was tipped on Weibo and then shared by Huawei Central and Notebook Check. They also revealed that a new Honor Band 6 could join the line-up. Details are scarce but it is possible to join a few dots, which could give us a clue to what’s in store. Firstly, the Huawei Watch GT2 was launched last September, and while the GT2e upgrade was launched earlier this year, it was merely a sportier design. So a September 2020 launch does make sense. And the launch of the GT2 Pro could tie in with a story Wareable broke last week of Huawei rolling out its Celia voice assistant on Huawei Watch models, and that the announcement could tie in with the launch of a new smartwatch. Other than that we don’t have much to go on, but given the Oppo Watch has just been announced globally, and we’re about to get a Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, things are getting mighty interesting in the Android watch world.

What’s more, a new GT2 isn’t even the most exciting announcement on the Huawei radar. We reported that a new Huawei Mate watch is in the works, which could be a more high-end foil to the sporty, budget Huawei Watch range. That’s rumored for an October reveal, alongside the Mate 40 smartphone. Watch this space.

⬆️ The Upside:  This should not come as a surprise to see Huawei launching a smart watch with a voice assistant. Many watches already have a voice assistant these days starting with the Apple Watch. But our belief is that few people use voice commands on smartwatches. Voice commands only make sense for specific use cases where a handsfree environment is required. What Huawei needs 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.

⌚ Fitbit owners to help create a test to detect early signs of COVID-19 | Via: Wareable

Fitbit’s fitness trackers and smartwatches could prove pivotal to detecting the early signs of Covid-19. Owners of one of Fitbit’s wearables are being recruited in multiple studies, at the COVID-Collab research team at King’s College London, the Scripps Research Translational Institute and the Stanford Medicine Healthcare Innovation Lab in the US. The Mass Science app from Kings College is designed to monitor wearables devices – including those by Fitbit – and aims to match Covid symptoms to data such as heart rate as well as sleep and activity. While having a Fitbit device isn’t essential to enrolling in the study, the team behind the app believes the data provided by those trackers and watches could offer vital insights. The goal is to collate enough of that data to analyse and compare data from periods of illness with normal healthy periods, it could potentially create a useful test that can be used for early warning signs of Covid-19 and to develop a better idea of how the disease spreads. It’s also hoped harnessing this data could be a viable solution to track the disease nationally or locally, understand the most important symptoms and learn more about social distancing measures and how they can affect transmission rate. Throughout the pandemic, researchers have looked to the role wearables could play in the fight against Covid. Whether that’s improving the testing process or helping with the early detection of the disease. In May, Fitbit launched a COVID-19 Study that owners of its devices could access from within its companion smartphone app.

Other wearable makers have been trying to do their bit too. Ava, makers of a fertility wearable felt it could play its part in filling the gaps in the Covid-19 testing process. The Oura smart ring is also being used in studies to see whether the wearable could be used to detect early signs of the disease. It’s also being used by the NBA as a way to help keep track of player vitals, so the season can be safely started. A similar idea is happening for PGA Tour players and staff who have been given a Whoop Strap to help detect symptoms and prevent the disease spreading. The latest development with the COVID-Collab and its move to embrace Fitbit data is another sign that with more people now than ever wearing fitness trackers and smartwatches, they could be key to quickly learning more about coronavirus. The Mass Science app is free to download now for Android phones and iPhones. So if you own a Fitbit and fancy doing your bit, you know what to do.

⬆️ The Upside:  This is part of a big trend where many wearable vendors (smartwatch, smart patch, smart ring..) have pivoted and tweaked their message to offer specific products to help detect Covid-19 at early stage. Generally speaking changes in HR, core body temperature, sleep can be early indicators of Covid-19 symptoms. These vendors have jumped on the bandwagon in an attempt to drive additional sales. In fact, wew deployments and studies during the pandemic will boost the healthcare wearables market (which includes connected blood pressure monitors, continuous glucose monitors, pulse oximeters, and electrocardiogram monitors) to 30 million shipments in 2020, increasing to 104 million shipments in 2025, at a CAGR of 28.5%, states global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research.

Fitbit smartwatches to be used to detect early signs of COVID-19


🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 Ferrari Unveils Huge Esports Championship–And You Could Be Its Next Driver | Via: Forbes

Ferrari is looking to pave its own way in the esports sector by launching its own sim racing series in which racers will have the chance to be a part of Ferrari Driver Academy Hublot Esports, the firm’s own competitive gaming team. The car manufacturer has already announced that watch firm Hublot will be the title sponsor of the competition, with Thrustmaster also confirmed as a technical partner.

Nicola Boari, Chief Brand Diversification Officer at Ferrari, stated: “The launch of the Ferrari Hublot Esports Series is a natural progression for Ferrari after our debut in the F1 Esports Series. This series is aimed at a young audience and is the perfect opportunity for aspiring players to get their break in esports and sim racing.”

The Ferrari Hublot Esports Series will be initially split into two competitions and mature series and a pro series.  The amateur championship registration is open on August 7 with the opening round scheduled to take place some time in September, the tournament is also only exclusive to European citizens over the age of 18. Ferrari’s pro series will feature competitive sim racers who will be selected by the manufacturer themselves. The top 12 drivers from each competition will then face off against each other in November for a chance to be included in the firm’s esports team. The new series highlights Ferrari’s intention to further develop its esports department following the manufacturers impressive debut season in the F1 Esports Series last year.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a great move by Ferrari as Virtual Grand Prix Series recently hit an enormous 30 million views across TV and digital platforms during the lockdown period. The series was created to enable fans to continue watching Formula 1 races virtually during the ongoing COVID-19. Ferrari is trying to continue to take advantage of the fast growing esport market. Now Ferrari is not the first F1 team to do this type of esport academy. McLaren (F1) launched a similar initiative a few years ago. We expect other F1 teams to follow suit in the coming months.

Video: Ferrari

🎮 Former NBA Player Marcin Gortat Invests in Polish Esports League | Via: Esports Observer

Polish esports company Polska Liga Esportowa S.A. announced an investment by former NBA player Marcin Gortat, who created his private foundation, “Fundacja Marcina Gortata MG13,” in 2009 to support young sports talents in Poland. While financial terms of the investment were not disclosed, a spokesperson for the company said the investment is rumored to be a five-figure to small six-figure deal. Polska Liga Esportowa, which is run by its CEO Paweł Kowalczyk, who previously implemented esports formats as head of esports at Ringier Axel Springer Polska, runs the Polish Esports League (PEL), a format that was established three years ago. Previous winners of PEL’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive leagues include Virtus.pro and Team Kinguin.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a great move by former NBA player Marcin Gortat. He can leverage its notoriety to help attract young polish esport gamers. This is also part of a larger trend where we have seen many athletes invest and endorse esports ventures starting with Steph Curry, Shaq, Serena Williams and many others.

🎮 NHL Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner Now Part of OverActive Media Ownership Group | Via: Esports Observer

Toronto Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner has joined OverActive Media’sownership group. As a new member of the ownership group Marner will become an “integral part” of team-brand building and esports promotion for the company.

“We are building a leading 21st-century sports media and entertainment company that speaks to a new generation of fans. An authentic and compelling business model that rests at the intersection of sport, media/entertainment and esports is core to our strategy at OverActive Media,” OverActive Media CEO Chris Overholt told The Esports Observer. “This generation of fans think differently about how they connect to their heroes and the influencers they love. Our sustained success will rest in our ability to deliver innovative marketing and partnership collaborations like Mitch represents.”

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a great move by NHL player Mitch Marner. He can leverage its notoriety to help drive the popularity of this esport venture. Like most athletes entering esport, their goal is to get a good ROI. Of note, according to the source’s estimates, global eSports market revenue will reach almost 1.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2023. The eSports industry is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years.


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


📊 Key Tech & Biz Sports Stats of The Week

$5.5B: For the fifth straight year, the Dallas Cowboys top Forbes’ list of the most valuable teams in sports.

$3.9B: It is estimated that the NHL has brought in $3.9 billion in revenue so far this season, compared to more than $5 billion last season.

$884M: The cost of COVID-19 has severely affected the brand value of multiple football clubs with the top 50 teams losing a total of $884M in value, according to the latest Brand Finance Football Annual report.

$800M: Nearly $800M in ad revenue is at stake for ESPN and ABC as the college football season remains in flux. While conferences are rolling out their football plans, the season is still on shaky ground as COVID-19 cases spread on campuses even before the semester starts.

At Risk For ESPN and Parent Company Disney: 

— $793 million: Ad revenue for ESPN and ABC family of networks from college football in 2019.

— $345 million: Ad revenue from postseason bowl games for ESPN and ABC.

— 14%: Cable subscribers who would likely cancel without college football.

— $10 billion: Subscriber fees from ESPN-related channels in 2019.

$615M: According to a report by marketing intelligence service WARC , Esports sponsorship predicted to reach $615M in 2020.

$320M: Dealing with cancelations across sports, ESPN could see a 12%, or $320 million, advertising revenue dip by the end of the year.

$55.7M: WWE posted a better-than-expected $55.7 million in operating income in its second quarter as lower operating costs helped minimize a decline in revenue due to a loss of live events. The company said it had $223.4 million in revenue in the quarter, down 17% from $268.9 million a year earlier. Despite a lack of competition from live sports, WWE’s Raw averaged 500,000 fewer viewers in the second quarter than the same period last year, and 1.1 million less than 2018. WWE’s stock price had declined nearly 30% in 2020 as of Thursday’s market close.

$18.6M: Even with a season, Power 5 schools are expected to lose an average of $18.6 million in ticket sales. But playing will be critical for the SEC schools to maintain their TV payouts, which made up a large chunk of the $44.6 million distributed to each program last year. Seventy percent of 116 college athletics administrators believe they will lose at least 20% of their revenue in the 2020-21 school year.

100%: In its earnings call, EA highlighted several milestones for its game metrics, including FIFA 20 player acquisition increasing by more than 100% year-over-year, Madden NFL 20 growing nearly 140% in the same metric, and Apex Legends newly launched Season 5 reached the game’s highest engagement levels since Season 1.

14: Arsenal FC won their 14th FA cup this weekend, following their 2-1 win against Chelsea FC.


📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

NFL & Black Lives Matters: The NFL is planning to allow players to have decal stickers on the back of their helmets bearing names or initials of victims of systemic racism and police violence.

 

NFL to Keep Tracking Data in Helmets, Cleats and Mouthguards amid COVID-19. MLB Betting Up 55%+? Join our New Upside Online community!

NFL to Keep Tracking Data in Helmets, Cleats and Mouthguards amid COVID-19. MLB Betting Up 55%+? Join our New Upside Online community!

Dear Colleague,

Last week many sports leagues were back in action with the NBA, MLB, and WNBA resuming their respective seasons. The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) also announced that Los Angeles acquired a NWSL team, after a majority woman-founded group secured exclusive rights to bring a professional women’s soccer team to the city.  The group which has named itself “Angel City” is led by actress Natalie Portman, technology venture capitalist Kara Nortman, media and gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Moreover, its investors include Serena Williams, Netflix VP Original Content Cindy Holland, FIFA World Cup Champions Lauren Cheney Holiday and Abby Wambach and a multitude of former US Women’s National Team players among others. Los Angeles will officially be integrated into the NWSL in spring 2022. When it comes to the MLB, Fox plans to use virtual fans to fill out stands to make its MLB broadcasts look as natural as possible. MLB has also distributed roughly 75 different sound effects pulled from Sony’s MLB. MLS betting is also expected to increase by 55% due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, the MLS also announced a new MLS team in Charlotte, N.C. called Charlotte FC. The team, owned by Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, begins play in 2022. In the NHL, the NHL’s newest expansion franchise in Seattle announced a name: Kraken. The Kraken will begin play in the 2021-22 NHL season. UBS also secured the naming rights to the New York Islanders’ new $1.5 billion arena in a 20-year deal. In the NFL, the Washington NFL franchise also announced on Twitter it’s changing its name, for now, to the “Washington Football Team.”

In the world of AR/VR and digital, the NBA used Microsoft Teams to bring basketball fans courtside. Some researchers also unveiled FingerTrak, a hand tracking wristband for AR/VR input. The MLB also plans to use virtual fans on live TV thanks to Fox Sports. In the wearable and connected fitness world, the NFL will continue data tracking in helmets, cleats and mouthguards amid COVID-19. The Oppo Watch also launched in Germany with global release imminent while the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 will be unveiled on 5 August. MyCoach also teamed up with GPS vendor MacLloyd. In the world of esport, Real Madrid and Arsenal teamed up with Twitch to launch a sports channel.


Aa a reminder, we are now launching our new Upside Global platform to bring together our sports, tech & health community of 2,500 executives under a single web platform. Members include executives from the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB, Laliga, English Premiere League, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Series A, Brazilian soccer league, Olympic teams, Pro tennis, as well as representatives of startups, brands, VCs, and athletes.

As a startup, have you ever wondered how a company gets their product in front of national sports teams or even land military contracts?

You and your startup can join a community of executives from the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB, Laliga, English Premiere League, Olympic teams, and more!

Your opportunity for growth starts now, create your free executive profile today to join our online community and click on “become a member today” as a first step.

Become a member today

If you face any problems during the registration process, please click on the live support button on our website.


📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

🏀  The NBA is using Microsoft Teams to bring basketball fans courtside

👓 Researchers show FingerTrak, a hand tracking wristband for AR/VR input

⚾  LOOK: Virtual fans will be on some MLB television broadcasts and here’s a first look

⌚ The Oppo Watch launches in Germany with global release imminent

⌚ Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: smartwatch will be unveiled on 5 August

⌚ MyCoach teams up with MacLloyd

🎮 Real Madrid and Arsenal on board as Twitch launches sports channel

💸 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

🏀  The NBA is using Microsoft Teams to bring basketball fans courtside | Via: The Verge

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is using Microsoft Teams’ new Together Mode to place basketball fans courtside in a virtual experience during live games. Microsoft only just revealed Together Mode for Teams earlier this month, and it uses AI to segment your face and shoulders and place you together with other people in a virtual space. The NBA is using this new Microsoft Teams mode combined with 17-foot tall LED screens that will wrap around basketball arenas to put fans back next to players. Fans will be able to react in real time, and players will be able to see and hear those reactions. These virtual stands will include more than 300 fans using Together Mode to sit side by side with each other virtually in Microsoft Teams. Fans will be able to watch a live feed of the game within Teams alongside a view of each other.

“This new experience—the first to go live as a result of the NBA / Microsoft partnership — gives participating fans the feeling of sitting next to one another at a live game without leaving the comfort and safety of their homes,” explains Jared Spataro, head of Microsoft 365. “Players, meanwhile, will experience their energy and support as they dribble down the court and see fans’ real-time reaction. And viewers tuning into the game from home will feel the crowd’s energy as well as they see the virtual stands filled with fans.”

There’s obviously a lot of potential for abuse if fans suddenly go rogue during the sessions. Thankfully, the NBA will have members participating in the calls and will remove any participants who behave inappropriately or disrupt the experience. Broadcasters ESPN and Turner Sports are also repositioning cameras to include new angles for fans watching at home, and microphones around the court will capture the sneaker squeaks and ball bounces we’re used to hearing. Alongside the Microsoft Teams experience, fans will also be able to cheer virtually using the NBA app. These virtual cheers will appear on video boards during games with animations. The NBA’s work with Microsoft is all part of a strategic alliance that the pair formed earlier this year. Microsoft signed a multiyear deal with the NBA to become the official AI, cloud, and laptop provider for the league. This is the first big example of the deal, and we’ll also see the NBA using Microsoft’s Azure platform to broadcast live and on-demand basketball games, with personalized content.

⬆️ The Upside:  This is a great move by the NBA. This type of courtside experience has been done before. As we noted previously, some Danish soccer teams have teamed up with Zoom to offer a similar fans experience. We expect more leagues and teams to jump on the bandwagon as it is part of teams’ and leagues’ strategy to offer new types of experiences due to COVID-19 . You can check out our analysis on technologies that can help teams and leagues during COVID-19 pandemic here.

Picture: NBA

👓 Researchers show FingerTrak, a hand tracking wristband for AR/VR input | Via: VentureBeat

As virtual and augmented reality steadily advance in both visual fidelity and headset comfort, researchers continue to work on input solutions that will feel more natural than holding controllers. Today, a group of researchers announced FingerTrak, a wristband-based solution that uses thermal cameras to track hand movements in 3D, abstracting 20 finger joint positions from contours on the wearer’s wrist.

Developed by Cornell University’s SciFi Lab with assistance from University of Wisconsin, Madison researchers, FingerTrak uses a deep neural network to stitch together input from three or four miniature thermal cameras mounted around the wrist, collectively capturing an entire hand pose. Using silhouettes generated by the cameras, backbone and regression networks estimate fingertip and joint positions, and though the results aren’t perfect, they could be used for some forms of VR and AR input. Other potential applications for FingerTrak include human-robot interaction and control, sign language translation, and mobile health, including early detection of degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Interestingly, the researchers suggest that wrist contours alone are “enough to accurately predict the entire hand posture,” enabling the entire sensing system to be placed on the wrist, rather than requiring glovesrings, or other techniques that have previously been released. A demonstration video shows FingerTrak’s hand motion tracking translating into movements for a bionic hand, as well as enabling a computer to determine when a user is writing, drinking coffee, and interacting with a smartphone.

FingerTrak will be presented in mid-September at the 2020 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing. The underlying paper, “FingerTrak: Continuous 3D Hand Pose Tracking by Deep Learning Hand Silhouettes Captured by Miniature Thermal Cameras on Wrist,” is available here.

⬆️ The Upside:  Wrist-mounted cameras could augment the inside-out tracking cameras found in VR headsets such as Oculus Quest, which monitor hand and finger positions from the user’s head. In prototype form, FingerTrak is already pretty small, and it could easily go smaller with further engineering. To learn more about VR training systems or VR in sports in general please check out our VR sports market analysis here.

⚾  LOOK: Virtual fans will be on some MLB television broadcasts and here’s a first look | Via: CBSSPORTS.COM

Baseball fans started off wondering if the game would even return after the stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, now that it’s back on, we are wondering how they will handle the shift to empty stadiums. Athletes are used to — and thrive off, the hype created by a crowd, and with that gone the dynamic of the game and broadcast changes.

Will there be crowd noise pumped in? Cardboard cutouts of fans? Well, for a select number of broadcasts, virtual fans will be in the seats. Here’s a first look at these virtual fans, that will be used in Fox Sports MLB television broadcasts: It’s reminiscent of a video game and the fans do look rather realistic based on the preview. These fans will boo, cheer and from what it seems, do the wave as well. They are wearing team apparel and colors to make it look even more real. The MLB season returned last week with the defending World Series Champion Washington Nationals hosting the New York Yankees to kick off Opening Day followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers hosting the San Francisco Giants.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that this is a great move by Fox Sports and the MLB. It will enable MLB teams to enhance the fans viewing experience. The MLB is the first sports league to use virtual fans in stadiums this way but they are not the first sports league to use crowd noises in stadiums. In fact the Bundesliga and Premier league used a similar strategy in the past month. Overall this 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: Fox Sports


🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚ NFL to continue data tracking in helmets, cleats and mouthguards amid COVID-19 | Via: Wearable

With the rightful focus on the NFL’s COVID-19 emergency protocols and comprehensive plans that the NFL and NFLPA are developing to keep players safe during this pandemic, it is easy to overlook the long-term health and safety testing the league annually undertakes. And no, it is not going on hiatus this season, though the pandemic is affecting the number of teams that may participate in certain safety tests.
The league is expanding to as many as 24 teams that will have their cleats automatically tracked (compared to eight last year), and as many as 16 teams testing mouthguard sensors (up from four). And the NFL is pushing forward on developing helmets for specific positions, with some players possibly wearing them as soon as next season. For the past several years, affixed to the wall of NFL locker rooms is a chart ranking helmets by safety, and the league now boasts that 100 percent of players are wearing helmets that pass NFL safety tests, with 99 percent of…

“As we have done very well with helmets and concussions, (we are) taking a look at the on-field occurrence per cleat, what is the injury rate per cleat, and tie that to the laboratory performance testing, which was done this year, but again, it’s one year of analysis,” said Langton, who herself blew out her knee as a lacrosse player in college at the University of Virginia. “So we are full-steam ahead for this year.”

⬆️ The Upside:  We think this is a great move by the NFL during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is part of the NFL’s plan to make the league safer. Of note, the NFL uses systems like Zebra’s RFID / UWB system to track players’ speed, location and acceleration. It also announced its plan to use a face shields during NFL game. You can check out our latest analysis on Sports leagues’ regulation towards wearables here.

⌚ The Oppo Watch launches in Germany with global release imminent | Via: Wearable

The Oppo Watch has been on sale in China since its launch back in March – and now it’s landing globally. The smartwatch has now gone on sale in Germany, and will be imminently released elsewhere in Europe and the US. At the company’s event on 6 March, but the Oppo Watch was only announced for the Chinese market – and company spokesperson said on stage in the Western presentation that the “Oppo Watch deserved its own event, so you will have to wait.” It was clear that in the wake of the global pandemic, Oppo was scaling back its ambitions. So while the Oppo Watch seems unlikely to get the event we were promised, it’s at least getting a global release. Yes it’s a massive Apple Watch clone – just look at the examples above with the silicone sports bands – absolutely shameless stuff. We doubt most people would be able to tell the difference. But look under the hood, and there’s a serious amount of technology, innovation and features. It has a curved AMOLED display, and ships in 1.6-inch and 1.9-inch sizes – that’s roughly 41mm and 46mm – so quite a difference between the two. It will have a decent specced 326ppi resolution, so it looks pretty smart. It’s also waterproof to 50 metres.

It uses a Snapdragon Wear 2500 processor, which is slightly dated given Qualcomm just announced the Wear 4100. But Oppo still promises 40 hours of battery life, with fast charging offering 18 hours battery from just 15 minutes on the charger. And the reports were correct: the Oppo Watch has a heart rate monitor and it will take electrocardiogram (ECG) readings – again, just like the Series 5. Like the Xiaomi Mi Watch the Oppo Watch runs WearOS, but uses a customised ColorOS skin on top – so it’s not a vanilla Google experience. And that means Google Pay will feature on the global edition. There’s an eSIM so LTE connectivity is an option.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that this new Opportunity watch has interesting specs (HR, ECG..) and a good battery life. But what Oppo 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.

⌚ Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: smartwatch will be unveiled on 5 August | Via: CBS Sport

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is nearly official, and Samsung is set to update its smartwatch range with its biggest update yet. 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. And it will be shown off on 5 August at the company’s Unpacked event for the Galaxy Note 3. That was confirmed in a blog post by TM Roh, President and Head of Mobile Communications.

He wrote: “At this summer’s Galaxy Unpacked, we’ll be introducing five new power devices…you will be empowered to live life to the fullest with these devices in your hand (and in your ears, and on your wrist.)” We’ve been writing about the Galaxy Watch 3 since the first rumors emerged, so here we’ve collated every piece of confirmed information, every leak and every rumor together into one place. We know that the new Galaxy Watch is set to shrink in size to 41mm and 45mm case sizes, packs in GPS, heart rate. The original Samsung Galaxy Watch came in 42mm and 46mm sizes – so this is a significant reduction in size. And there are set to be a series of different skews in addition to the two different sizes. We’re set to see silver and black stainless steel cases, and the 41mm version will have a bronze/gold finish. The larger 45mm will also come in a black titanium case option. And each will have Bluetooth (standard) and LTE editions – except the titanium.

⬆️ The Upside:  It will be interesting to see what type of impact COVID-19 will have on the launch of the Galaxy Watch 3 as in-store retail sales likely got impacted by the pandemic due to lower traffic in store. However Samsung is likely to target its existing watch customers to upgrade them to this new watch. It is likely to leverage the rebound in online sales. For example, Best Buy said last Tuesday that it’s brought back about half of its furloughed employees as sales rebound. The retailer said its second-quarter sales are up about 2.5% through July 18, compared with the same period a year prior. That includes sales growth of 2% in the U.S. and about 8% internationally, the company said. Best Buy’s online sales have also jumped by 255% so far in the second quarter, compared with a year ago. It said customers’ purchases of computers, appliances and tablets are driving those sales.

Picture: Samsung

⌚ MyCoach teams up with MacLloyd | Via: tribuca.net

My Coach and McLloyd, in their own way, glorify the know-how made in France in the digital sports sector. And the tandem, derived from Nice and Millau, should smash their individual records. It is the resumption of the entrepreneurial championship on the side of the Allianz Riviera, headquarters of My Coach, a major player in the digitalization of sports through its content, data and other analysis tools capable of increasing performance tenfold. The objective of this recently announced, but already effective, merger: to strengthen the leadership now shared in the sportech market in France. A reinforcement which for the time being does not cross the line of investment, and focuses on the delivery of a more complete, more solid, more agile, and 100% French product. In the long run, the 2 companies could be fully integrated. Initially they are focusing on soccer and rugby, with the Stade Niçois already a partner.

⬆️ The Upside:  We think this is a good partnership for both companies. Mycoach has a strong presence in the world of soccer, especially in France. By fully integrating McLloyd’s data (GPS) into its players’ management system, it will make Mycoach’s offering more appealing to customers. For McLloyd it will enable to company to acquire new customers. So overall it is a win win partnership for both companies. In the coming years, MyCoach is also likely to forge similar partnership with other wearables/hardware companies to acquire new types of biometric and statistical data.


🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 Real Madrid and Arsenal on board as Twitch launches sports channel | Via: SportsPro

Spanish champions Real Madrid are among four elite European soccer clubs to sign strategic partnerships with Twitch as the global streaming service launches a dedicated sports content channel. The La Liga club will be joined by Italian Serie A leaders Juventus, French champions Paris Saint-Germain and English top-flight outfit Arsenal in expanding their live content on the Amazon-owned platform. Initially, Twitch will collaborate with each club on the production of behind-the-scenes content. As the partnerships progress there is also the potential to showcase live youth and first-team friendly matches on the platform, as well as club press conferences. The concept is designed to help engage younger audiences by leaning on content which provides more interactive viewing experiences.

The strategic partnerships have been confirmed alongside the launch of the Twitch Sports standalone content stream, /twitchsports, which was previously coupled with the platform’s health and fitness segment, which now also takes on its own channel. The deals with the European soccer clubs are also part of a greater push for streaming rights, SportsPro understands. Twitch recently signed a deal to become the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) exclusive international broadcast partner and is seeking opportunities of a similar stature. Day one of the relaunch will see the Twitch Sports channel showcase a range of live programming, with the likes of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Arsenal, House of Highlights and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) each allocated two-hour time slots to release interactive content. Twitch has previously simulcast live sports content licensed by the Amazon Prime Video over-the-top (OTT) service, including most recently four Premier League matches as part of the resumption of English soccer’s top flight in June.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a great move by Real Madrid, Juventus and PSG. Twitch is more commonly known for esports and gaming, with more than 70 per cent of its audience under the age of 34. That demographic is considered a massive draw for sports properties to attract new fans and also to create branded content opportunities. Other sports properties already using Twitch include the NWSL, which has been live streaming Challenge Cup matches on the platform; the National Hockey League (NHL); the Rugby Football League (RFL); and the UFC. Alongside those major rights holders athletes such as Los Angeles Chargers’ running back Austin Ekeler and Formula One driver Lando Norris also regularly stream on the platform.


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


📊 Key Tech & Biz Sports Stats of The Week

$4B: The NFL could lose up to $4 billion of its annual $15 billion in revenue if fans are not on hand to buy tickets, suites, parking passes, merchandise, and concessions, among other gameday revenues.

$1.7B: The expanded MLB postseason will help maintain the estimated $1.7 billion in national TV media rights revenue MLB receives annually. Offset losses from fans not being in attendance. Forty percent of the league’s $10.7 billion in annual revenue typically comes from game-day revenue, including tickets, concessions, parking, and merchandise.

$1.5B: UBS secured the naming rights to the New York Islanders’ new $1.5 billion arena in a 20-year deal.

$650M: The Kraken, the new NHL team in Seattle, will take the ice in the 2021-2022 NHL season as the league’s 32nd team. It is owned by a group led by financier David Bonderman and movie director Jerry Bruckheimer, who paid an NHL-record $650 million for the expansion spot.

$365M: The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed outfielder Mookie Betts to a 12-year, $365 million extension. It’s the second-largest MLB contract ever, behind the $426.5 million deal Mike Trout signed last spring with the Los Angeles Angels.

$200-$250M: Nike has leaned into its training and exercise apps during the pandemic to connect with at-home athletes – those platforms also have e-commerce tie-ins. Roughly 30% of Nike’s revenue in its last quarter came from digital sales, an increase of 75% year-over-year. These changes will lead to a “net loss of jobs across the company” which will result in a one-time employee termination cost of between $200 to $250 million, Nike said in a statement.

$75M: Coronavirus testing across the proposed season is expected to cost the NFL more than $75 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

90%: Fox has sold more than 90% of its ad inventory for its MLB games this year, and there’s reportedly a rush to buy space on the regional sports networks that air games. An estimated $217.7 million in advertising is normally spent across Fox, Fox Sports 1, TBS, MLB Network, and ESPN for the 162-game slate. Advertising revenue in May was down 31%, largely because of the lack of sports on TV.

59%: After the pandemic is over, 59% of Americans won’t be renewing their gym memberships, according to a recent survey by TD Ameritrade. While many gyms have been closed the past four months, 56% of respondents have found “more affordable” ways to get their workouts in.

55%+: Sports betting is widely expected to attract a younger, more affluent fanbase, according to the American Gaming Association. With betting expanding across the U.S., the AGA expects MLB will see a 55% increase in baseball bettors.

59: It’s been 59 years since the Tottenham Spurs have won the last Premier League title.


📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

Baseball players taking a knee. During the game between the Yankees and the Washington Nationals MLB players took a knee in support for the Black Lives Matters movement.

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