Apple to Offer Virtual Classes to Go After Peloton? CR7 & Messi Out of Champions League for 1st Time Since 2004.

Apple to Offer Virtual Classes to Go After Peloton? CR7 & Messi Out of Champions League for 1st Time Since 2004.

Dear Colleague,

We hope you had a great week last week. In US College sports, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have now postponed their fall sports seasons, which could have some serious implications for the sports betting industry. In fact, according to Gambling.com Vice President of U.S. Business Max Bichsel, at least $1B in bets could be lost without college football across the top four legalized markets. The NBA also announced that Victor Williams will be NBA Africa’s first CEO following the company’s plan to grow its popularity in Africa. ESPN also plans to broadcast on ESPN+ 64 MLS regular season games. Fanatics, a leading sports ecommerce company, closed a $350M investment round, and is reportedly gearing up for an IPO, now valued at $6.2 billion. The US Open tennis is also set to go start in NY on August 31 but without spectators due to COVID-19.

In Europe, Bundesliga clubs will also not have spectators in stadiums until the end of October at the earliest after the health ministers of Germany’s federal and 16 state governments rejected the German Football League’s (DFL) proposal to bring fans back. The Champions League witnessed some major upsets last week with Real Madrid, Manchester City, Barcelona FC, Juventus, all exiting the competition. For the first time since 2004/05, the UEFA Champions Leaguesemifinals will not feature Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, Nreal’s augmented reality 5G glasses are shipping this month in Korea. Epic Games is also suing Apple over the removal of Fortnite from the App Store. The app was also removed from the Google Play store. The NBA also tapped Verizon to stream games in VR. In the wearable and connected fitness world, Apple is rumored to soon be launching virtual fitness classes to take on Peloton. New reports are also resurfacing about upcoming Google Pixel smartwatch and the Huawei Fit Watch. 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 “Introducing the idea of Cognitive Fitness”, was from Len Zaichkowsky, world’s class expert in biofeedback/psychophysiology, and cognitive fitness. If you have not read it click on the link below to read the full article.

Read the article on cognitive fitness

As a reminder, 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..). Here is our schedule of guest writers and articles for the coming weeks:

  • 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.
  • September 3: 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, Christophe, Daniel, don’t forget to create your free Upside profile and join our online community by clicking on the button below.

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.

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📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week

👓 Nreal’s augmented reality glasses are shipping this month in Korea

👓 NBA taps Verizon to stream games in VR

🚴‍♂️ Apple Plans Virtual Fitness Classes to Take on Peloton

⌚ Google preps secret smartwatch – we examine what that could mean

⌚ Huawei Fit Watch leaks and it looks truly bizarre

🎮 Formula One Announces $750K Prize Pool For 2020 F1 Esports Series

💸 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

👓 Nreal’s augmented reality glasses are shipping this month in Korea | Via : The Verge

The Nreal Light mixed reality glasses are shipping in Korea alongside Samsung’s newly announced Galaxy Note 20. LG Uplus will sell the glasses as a standalone device for 699,000KRW (around $586), and it’s bundling them with the Galaxy Note 20 or LG Velvet and a 5G data plan for 349,500KRW (around $295). Preorders open on August 11th, and the headsets will be available in stores on August 21st. The Nreal Light (also referred to as “U+ Real Glass”) is a light sunglasses-style headset that tethers to a separate computing device — in this case, the Galaxy Note 20. It uses spatial tracking and projected images to overlay apps onto the real world, and Nreal pitches it as a more spacious alternative to a smartphone when you’re watching videos, playing games, or reading websites. It’s promising to support Chrome, Facebook, and Instagram, among other apps, at launch.

The consumer retail version comes with an array of nose clips to fit different faces, as well as a corrective lens insert and a black “VR cover” that blocks your outside vision to create a clearer picture. Nreal previously shipped a $1,199 developer kit that included a controller and a dedicated mini-computer. The consumer version of the glasses will use a phone-based control system, and Nreal announced that it would bring hand tracking to the glasses at some point as well. Nreal is one of only a few companies still trying to sell general-purpose consumer smart glasses. Competitor Magic Leap — which sued Nreal for “blatant copying” before having the suit dismissed in June — recently switched its focus to enterprise mixed reality. Google acquired the startup North and recently dropped support for the consumer glasses North launched in 2019. Augmented reality company Tilt Five is apparently still preparing to launch a pair of holographic glasses, but they’re specifically made for tabletop gaming. China-based Nreal has also signed partnerships with Japanese carrier KDDI and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, including a mixed reality incubator program with the latter. It hasn’t announced plans for a US launch.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a great move by Nreal and the OEMs (Samsung and LG). It makes sense to bundle 5G glasses with 5G smartphones. Now believe that Nreal is well positioned to become a pioneer in the AR glasses market for the masses. $600 for a pair of 5G enabled AR glasses is a good price. We expect other OEMs to follow suit and offer those types of bundles at a similar price point. We will help bring 5G AR glasses to the masses in the long run. Of note, Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for Smart Augmented Reality (AR) Glasses estimated at 207k Units in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of 31.1M Units by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 104.6% over the analysis period 2020-2027.

picture : NReal’s Augmented Reality Glasses

👓 NBA taps Verizon to stream games in VR | Via : SportsPro

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and US telecommunications company Verizon have signed a multi-year partnership expansion that will see betting content and virtual reality (VR) viewing options integrated into the NBA League Pass streaming platform. Verizon-owned Ryot will make at least 12 live games from the NBA’s restart in Orlando, Florida available to League Pass subscribers between 31st July and 14th August via Oculus Quest and Oculus Go VR headsets. Under the terms of the deal, Ryot will be the NBA’s official VR production partner for the 2019/20 season restart, which got underway on 30th July at the Walt Disney World Resort. The move comes a week after Major League Baseball (MLB) announced a similar activation ahead of its 23rd July resumption, including the launch of a new Oculus-supported platform that allows MLB.tv subscribers to live stream out-of-market games in VR.

Verizon chief executive Guru Gowrappan said: “Ryot’s powerful VR capabilities will deliver a truly immersive live experience at home, creating a seamless experience between the physical and digital world. (..) NBA League Pass in VR is exactly the kind of innovative solution we love to create with our partners. Working with the NBA to redefine the fan’s experience of the game has amazing implications for the future of sports and entertainment.”

Meanwhile, the broader deal will also see Verizon-owned Yahoo Sports expand League Pass’ live fantasy and betting offering as an official marketing partner of the NBA. That expanded offering will allow Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Fantasy and Yahoo Sportsbook to distribute live, out-of-market games in League Pass and engage with fans through digital overlays. It will also include the creation of two shows focused on fantasy and betting to coincide with the NBA Conference Finals and NBA Finals.  Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The NBA and Verizon last extended and expanded their partnership in 2018 in a deal worth a reported US$400 million.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a great move by both the NBA and Verizon. For Verizon is will enable the company to drive additional revenue from VR and sports betting to further drive its top line. This is well needed as US carriers’ revenue have declined over the past few years. This is part of the US carriers’ digital transformation. For the NBA, this nicely complement the league’s VR strategy and is part of the league’s quest to embrace emerging technologies to help enhance the fans experience, and drive the sports league’s overall revenue.

🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

🚴‍♂️ Apple Plans Virtual Fitness Classes to Take on Peloton | Via : The Mottey Fool

It’s no secret that Peloton Interactive (NASDAQ:PTON) has been one of the big winners from the lockdowns and the emerging stay-at-home economy. The maker of interactive fitness products and virtual exercise classes has seen its stock soar 130% so far in 2020, as consumers seek healthier lifestyles and additional exercise during the pandemic. Now it appears Apple wants a piece of the action.Apple is reportedly working to offer virtual fitness workshops that would put it in direct competition with online classes offered by Peloton and Nike’s partner ClassPass, according to a report by Bloomberg. The effort, code-named Seymour, would offer a variety of workout classes that could include aerobics, yoga, calisthenics, or even kettlebells, but wouldn’t require expensive web-connected fitness equipment. The company would reach the Apple faithful via an app that could be available via the iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, giving multiple venues to participate in an exercise regimen. Such a move would be a boost to Apple’s aspirations in healthcare, an area of keen interest to the iPhone maker over the past couple of years. The Apple Watch has continued to add health-related features, including a heart rate monitor and the ability to detect atrial fibrillation (AFib), a dangerous condition that causes an irregular and often chaotic rapid heart rate.

In late 2018, Apple assembled the biggest heart study ever, attracting more than 419,000 participants, and early last year reached a landmark deal with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to make its health records feature on the iPhone available to vets. Workout classes could be Apple’s next big move into the field of fitness and healthcare.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a great move by Apple to launch some virtual fitness classes. Apple is well positioned there for several reasons: (1) It can leverage its 55M Apple Watch users globally to try to convert them to its future virtual classes offering. (2) It can also try to convert a fraction of its 1B+ iOS users to this new offering. (3) Tim Cook is an avid fitness enthusiast so this should come as no surprise to see Apple looking into entering the digital fitness market. Of note, the global digital fitness market size is expected to reach an estimated $27.4 billion by 2020. Apple will face fierce competition from Brands like Peloton, Mirror, Tonal, and Strava that have already found global success. We also expect Apple to make strategic acquisitions in the space to increase market share and acquire engineering talent and IP.

⌚ Google preps secret smartwatch – we examine what that could mean | Via : Wareable

Speculation about a Google Pixel watch has been on-going for longer than we can remember, and the old rumor mill is cranking up again that Google could be about to build its own smartwatch. A report in ETNews and deciphered by 9to5Google has spotted a large order of processors ordered from Samsung, which have the capacity to use and capture body movement via sensors. The deal would see Samsung design and create the semiconductors. According to the report, Google has designed its own Pixel chips in the past, so this is clearly new ground for the company. Of course this could be for Pixel phones, but the report has tongues wagging that it could be about to re-ignite its own smartwatch project.

The first thing to note is that any silicon being designed now will not be on our wrists for a long time. And with the current state of play in the Fitbit and Google deal, that could mean a lot of things. With Google’s Wear OS still lacking a big leader in the wellness space, it could easily be Google preparing its first smartwatch hardware – aka a “Pixel watch.” One theory is this could act as a reference design, perhaps for a revamped Wear OS in 2021. That would be nice, but we’ve given up hope. Surely it would have happened by now. But with Google planning to absorb Fitbit into its midst, which has been widely been publicized to be about “devices, not data,” Google could be prepping next generation Fitbit smartwatches. We’d be surprised if Google’s strategy for Fitbit wasn’t already planned out for the next few years, and that work was already being done regardless of the EU probe. Wasting a year would seriously undermine the strategy of buying Fitbit anyway, given the $2.1bn deal is all about playing catch up. But it appears Google is set to make a wearables move – and about time too.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a good move by Google to build its own smartwatch. It would also be a nice complement to its Pixel hardware product line. It will be able to leverage Fitbit’s engineering expertise there and push this new watch to Fitbit’s 27M active users. This will help Google to gain share in the smartwatch market. Currently Apple is the clear Smartwatch market share leader with 48% of the 2018 global Smartwatch market, followed by Fitbit with 12% share and Samsung with 11% share. It will be critical for Google to be innovative and introduce new types of biosensing capabilities (e.g. hydration/electrolyte, BP assessment..) to its Pixel watch.

Picture : Google smartwatch

⌚ Huawei Fit Watch leaks and it looks truly bizarre | Via : Wareable

Huawei looks like it’s set to drop a bizarre looking smartwatch, with leaks suggesting the impending launch of the Huawei Fit Watch. It’s one of many IFA 2020 leaks, including whispers of Huawei Watch GT2 Pro with Honor MagicWatch equivalents and possibly four new Amazfit devices, including Amazfit GTS 2. The fact we have pictures, specs and even price probably indicate this is an accurate leak – but as usual all the caveats about taking unverified information with a pinch of salt apply. The most striking detail of the Huawei Watch Fit is the stretched, rectangular design. The screen has a 456×280-pixel resolution, and measures 1.64-inch diagonally. That offers plenty of room for on-screen data, although we’re unsure why that would be necessary.

A tall screen – like we saw in the old days of the Microsoft Band and Samsung Gear S – can be pretty uncomfortable on the wrist, and a 1.64-inch display will struggle to be unisex. Lots of people don’t want their wrist being dominated by a screen. But the rest of the specs look pretty complete. GPS, heart rate and even a barometer. And there’s 10 days of battery life and 5ATM water resistance. The leaks also suggest a pretty base level price of €119 (around £119.99), so it looks designed to compete with Fitbit more than perhaps the Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. The Huawei Fit Watch is clearly aimed at a fitness audience, and we’re going to presume the screen enables specific outcomes related to working out. If that’s something like on-watch guided workouts it could be an attractive proposition – but the screen shots show a cartoony, pretty entry-level looking experience that doesn’t quite gel with the form factor. The Huawei Watch GT2e featured some decent guided running features, so we could see Huawei expanding to more HIIT and body workouts. These are all first impressions, the Huawei Fit Watch isn’t official yet. It could get an outing at IFA 2020…whatever that looks like.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a great move by Huawei. This low end smartwatch offering should help Huawei gain share at the low end of the smartwatch market dominated by Fitbit. Of note, Huawei ranked second in global Q1 2020 smartwatch shipments, records 118.5% growth. Thanks to the spurt in shipments, the global smartwatch market share of Huawei in Q1 2020 stood at 15.2%, sitting only behind Apple.

picture : Huawei Fit Watch

🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 Formula One Announces $750K Prize Pool For 2020 F1 Esports Series | Via: Insider Sport

The F1 Esports Series presented by Aramco announced the start of its fourth installment of the F1 Esports Pro Series. The sim racing series organized by Gfinity will see all 10 Formula One teams field drivers to compete for the $750K USD prize pool. The series main sponsor, which is also title sponsor of several Formula One races throughout 2020, Saudi Aramco, is a Saudi Arabian petroleum and natural gas company that went public in December 2019 in the world’s largest initial public offering (IPO) to date.

The season will start with a draft in which each of the F1 teams must select at least one driver for their three-driver rosters from a pool of 45. Initially, 237K candidates tried to qualify for this year’s competition. Existing and rookie drivers will compete in the F1 Esports Pro Series 2020 running between October and December in a 12-round championship format played on Codemasters’F1 2020 game.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this aligns well with the F1 Federation to keep pushing in the esport market. Esport has become very strategic for the F1 Federation which has doubled down on esport during the COVID-19 pandemic to try to offset the effects of COVID-19 and keep the fans engaged. As we noted before, F1’s Esports Virtual Grands Prix achieved 30 million views across TV and digital platforms during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown period.

Picture : Formula One

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

📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

$66B: Tencent lost $66B in stock value in 2 days after Trump issued an order to ban its WeChat app. Tencent reported earnings last week.

$1B: Gambling.com Vice President of U.S. Business Max Bichsel said at least $1 billion in bets could be lost without college football across the top four legalized markets: Indiana, New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Those four markets brought in more than $4 billion in the last four months of 2019.

$350M: Fanatics has closed a $350 million investment round. As the company reportedly gears up for an IPO, it is now valued at approximately $6.2 billion.

Fanatics Rundown:

— $2.5 billion in 2019 revenue.

— 30% online sales growth in 2020.

— $20 million revenue hit projected because of the pandemic.

— 80% of revenue comes from direct-to-consumer sales.

$64M: Sportsbook operators generated $64.2 million in revenue during the second quarter, a 46.3% year-over-year drop, according to the American Gaming Association. It was the first quarterly decline since sports betting became legal in the U.S. in 2018.

$17.8M: A big piece of the strife between MLB and its players prior to the launch of the 60-game shortened season was salary. The players ultimately ended up with the salary they agreed upon in March: 37% of their original 2020 pay. The pay cut has taken MLB salaries to their lowest level in nearly 25 years. Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer is taking home a league-high $17.8 million — the lowest amount the highest paid player has made since 2000.

Top 5 2020 MLB Salaries, via AP

– Nationals Max Scherzer: $17.8 million

– Dodgers Clayton Kershaw: $16.3 million

– Angels Mike Trout: $15.8 million

– Padres Manny Machado: $15.1 million

– Astros Zack Greinke: $14.1 million

$20M: The KPMG Football Benchmark Club Finance and Operations Tool now provides a new feature on sponsorships including stadium naming right deals and more than 5,200 other commercial deals across 400 football clubs and competitions from 35 countries, enabling important sponsorship benchmarking activities. As seen below, the naming rights for Manchester City’s Etihad stadium are valued at $20M (17M Euros) per year.

156: F1 star Lewis Hamilton breaks record with now 156 podiums in his F1 career, following his win this weekend.

74: Barcelona‘s 8-2 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final was not the worst defeat in the club’s history. Friday evening’s match at Estadio da Luz was the first time in 74 years that the Barca had conceded eight goals in a game – when they were beaten 8-0 by Sevilla in the Copa del Rey in 1946. But the Bayern masterclass was short of the biggest loss ever suffered by Barcelona, with the Catalans twice losing 11-1 in the 1940’s.

29: Major League Baseball has struggled with COVID-19 outbreaks among its teams, with 29 games postponed thus far.

95%: 95% of Chinese Users surveyed would rather give up their iPhones than lose WeChat.

-95%: Liberty Media’s quarterly earnings reports gave a peek at the massive loss the coronavirus pandemic dealt Major League Baseball teams. Liberty owns the Atlanta Braves and reported the team suffered a 95% year-over-year second quarter revenue loss. Between April and June, the Braves generated only $11 million, down from 2019’s $208 million. There was a 97% drop in baseball revenue and a 40% drop in the team’s Battery Atlanta development.

-30%: iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple is Forced to Remove WeChat From Worldwide App Store due to the size of the Chinese market

1: For the first time since 2004/05, the UEFA Champions League semifinals will not feature Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.

📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

Not a farmer’s league: Following Olympic Lyonnais’s 3-1 win against Man City, Mbpappe tweeted “Farmers League”. This is a direct response to some critics who believe that the Ligue 1 and Bundesliga are “farmers leagues”. This year, for the first time in years, there are only Ligue 1/Bundesliga (PSG, OL, Bayern, Leipzig) soccer clubs left in the Champions league finals.

Bayern Munich’s video tribute: This week Bayern Munich FC, now in the semi finals of the Champions League, published a new video about the club’s legacy, and what makes Bayern Munich’s a special club.


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

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

Dear Friends and Members,

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

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

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

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

📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

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

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

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

⌚ Three new features land on Fitbit Charge 4 in update

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

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

🎮 Esports’ integration into media and betting

💸 Latest Investment Trends

📊 Tech Stats of the Week

📸 Snapshots of the Week

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

🎮 AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture: Jio

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

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

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

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

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

Picture: Zoom

🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture: NFL

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

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

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

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

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

🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

📊 Key Tech & Biz Sports Stats of The Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

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

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

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

Dear Friends and Members,

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

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

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

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

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

📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

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

👓Facebook reveals holographic optics for thin and light VR headsets

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

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

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

⌚ Why Garmin buying Firstbeat is big news for sports watches

🎮 Everton announces ‘eFriendly’ initiative with Inter Miami CF

💸 Latest Investment Trends

📊 Tech Stats of the Week

📸 Snapshots of the Week

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

🎮 AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture: North’s Focal AR glasses

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

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

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

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

Picture: Facebook

🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture: Samsung

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture: Garmin

🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

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

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

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

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

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

Picture: Inter Miami FC

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

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

📊 Key Tech & Biz Sports Stats of The Week

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

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

Stadiums in the works:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

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

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

⌚ ⚽ 🎮 Beckham Enters Esport. Ronaldo Breaks Record. Lebron Raises $100M. Contactless Biosensor Gets FDA Approval.

⌚ ⚽ 🎮 Beckham Enters Esport. Ronaldo Breaks Record. Lebron Raises $100M. Contactless Biosensor Gets FDA Approval.

Dear Friends and Members,

Last week Liverpool FC won its first Premier League title in 30 years. The Major League Baseball (MLB) also officially unveiled its 2020 campaign plans with the competition set to begin on 23 July under a proposed 60-game regular season schedule. The F1 is also scheduled to restart on July 5 while the NHL is also set to restart training camp on July 10. In addition the MLS Back tournament is scheduled to start on July 8, while the WNBA, PLL, and NBA are set to resume their seasons on July 24, July 25, and July 30, respectively. Lastly the Champions league is scheduled to resume on August 7.

In the coming weeks, preserving the safety of players will be critical as many cases of COVID-19 are already emerging across several leagues (MLS, NHL, NFL, NCAA, Pro golf, Ligue 1..), forcing some teams to close their facilities in some occasions. This is why some leagues such as the NBA are taking the proper measures and will be offering 2000 smart Oura rings to NBA players to try to detect early signs of COVID-19.

David Beckham is also the latest high-profile sports star to segue into esports. Guild Esports launched last week with Beckham as co-owner, initially focusing on Rocket League, FIFA and FortniteCristiano Ronaldo is now the highest scoring Portuguese player in Premier League, LaLiga and Lega Serie A history, with a total of 438 goals scored in those leagues.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and his longtime business partner Maverick Carter also raised $100 million, combined their three media companies to make SpringHill Company and named a board of big names including Serena Williams and Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, Bloomberg reported. The company will attempt to distribute content from “creators and consumers who’ve been pandered to, ignored, or underserved,” according to Bloomberg. Mourad Boudjellal is allegedly part of a project in the middle Easy to try to purchase l’Olympique de Marseille (OM) for 800M Euros.

Health and wellness company GNC Holdings Inc. also filed for bankruptcy protection with the aim of selling itself and closing stores after its latest effort to manage its debt load unraveled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, Facebook killed the entry level Oculus Go VR headset and acquired Ready at Dawn VR game maker. In the wearable and connected fitness world, Oura will supply the NBA with 2000 smart ring to help detect COVID-19. Apple also unveiled Apple Watch07. Amazfit also added nap tracking to its smartwatch and Circadia Health got FDA approval for its contactless biosensor product. In the world of esport, David Beckham entered the esport market.

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

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📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

👓 Facebook kills entry-level Oculus Go VR headset

👓  Facebook acquires Lone Echo VR game maker Ready At Dawn

⌚ watchOS 7: ​Apple Watch gets native sleep tracking at WWDC

⌚ Amazfit adds automatic nap tracking to its smartwatch line-up

⌚Circadia Health Announces FDA Clearance of the C100 System for Contactless Respiratory Monitoring

🎮 David Beckham Co-Owned Guild Esports Launches, Seeks $31M Investment

💸 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

👓 Facebook kills entry-level Oculus Go VR headset | Via: VentureBeat

After Facebook successfully released Oculus Quest as a standalone VR entertainment and gaming platform, selling out over the 2019 holiday season, the days appeared to be numbered for its less capable entry-level alternative Oculus Go. Today, following a post-holiday price drop to $149, the company officially pulled the plug on Go, leaving Oculus with only two current VR devices: Quest, which now also supports PC tethering, and the fully PC-dependent Rift S. Facebook is positioning Go’s discontinuation as going “all-in” on headsets with 6DOF (six degree of freedom) tracking, capable of sensing a player’s movements through physical space rather than the simpler position- and angle-limited 3DOF system used by Go. “We won’t be shipping any more 3DOF products,” the company says, noting that sales of Go will end this year “as we double down on improving our offerings for Quest and Rift.” Although Facebook has committed to providing some level of support for the Go platform, there were hints last year that it didn’t have much of a future. Last July, then-Oculus CTO John Carmack said that the company would add a Go emulation mode to the newer Quest headset, while noting that developers would be able to convert “older apps” to run on the more advanced platform. Soon thereafter, Facebook’s development partner Xiaomi reportedly disbanded the team behind the Mi VR headset, which was Oculus Go-branded elsewhere, though Facebook said in August that it was still producing and selling Go units.

Go headsets will continue to work once sales end this year, and there will be bug fixes and security patches for Go’s system software through 2022. But there will be no new Go features, and developer app submissions will be stopped after December 4, 2020; the final Go apps will hit the Oculus Store on or before December 18, 2020. To placate Go developers who were accustomed to enjoying greater publishing freedom on the entry-level platform than Quest, Facebook also notes that it will alter Quest’s controversial curation mandates in early 2021. At that point, it will provide an official way for developers to distribute Quest apps without sideloading or using the Oculus Store, enabling Go apps (and others) to be offered for Quest without participating in Facebook’s formal approval process. There will also be a dedicated business channel for the Oculus for Business program, enabling enterprises to distribute apps across multiple headsets. Additional details on the programs are scarce, but available to developers here.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that this is a good move by Facebook to phase out the Oculus Go to focus on other SKUs such as the Oculus Quest that have done really well. In fact, standalone VR headsets, like the Oculus Quest, accounted for 49% of all VR headset sales in 2019. VR game revenues rose 41%, mainly thanks to the Oculus Quest. If you are interested into VR, you can check out our analysis on the VR sport market.

👓  Facebook acquires Lone Echo VR game maker Ready At Dawn | Via: VentureBeat

Facebook has acquired Ready At Dawn Studios, the maker of the Lone Echo series of virtual reality games as well as console games like The Order: 1888. The deal comes the same day that Facebook Gaming said it would accept transfers of streamers and viewers after Microsoft said it would shut down its Mixer livestreaming service on July 22. Taken together, both moves show that Facebook is committed to providing social networking for gamers and VR games on the Oculus VR headsets. Mike Verdu, the vice president of AR/VR content at Facebook, announced the deal today in a blog post. He said that Ready At Dawn’s storytelling and innovation DNA were on full display in Lone Echo and set the standard for VR narrative adventure, showcasing how virtual reality offers players more immersive, memorable, and emotionally charged experiences.

Ready At Dawn has been a big advocate of VR and Facebook’s Oculus platform. Irvine, California-based Ready At Dawn started out in console games and shipped Sony’s 2015 alternate history shooter The Order: 1888. But when Facebook acquired Oculus and launched the Rift VR headset, Ready At Dawn dove into VR.

⬆️ The Upside:  We think that this is a natural move for Facebook. This makes sense for Facebook as it will enable the company to improve its content VR strategy, bring new VR engineering talent in-house. Facebook has done a number of acquisitions in the VR space starting with Oculus in March 2014 for $2B. More recently in September 2019 Facebook acquired CTRL-LABS which we believe will help Facebook create mind controlled VR headsets in the long run.

Picture: Facebook

🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚ watchOS 7: ​Apple Watch gets native sleep tracking at WWDC | Via: Wearable

Apple has taken the wrappers off watchOS 7 at WWDC 20, and as expected, the company has unveiled native sleep tracking for the first time. As is traditional, watchOS 7 will land in the fall, when we could see the Apple Watch Series 6. It will be compatible with Series 3 onwards, so Series 1 and 2 miss out for the first time. As we predicted, Apple has taken a different approach to its sleep tracking skills, and the company said it’s a more “holistic” approach to sleep. The Apple Watch focuses on sleep and wake time consistency. Expanding the existing Bedtime features in iOS, both your Apple Watch and iPhone now work together when it’s time to hit the hay.

  • Native sleep tracking
  • New complications and Face Sharing
  • New Workout activities
  • Better on-watch Maps and cycling directions
  • Automatic hand-washing detection

Before bedtime your iDevices will start Wind Down, and attempt to minimise distractions by entering do not disturb, screens are dimmed, Night Mode minimises blue light and shortcuts to apps such as Calm, Headspace and bedtime playlists on Apple Music are displayed. The Apple Watch will also dim the screen and enter sleep mode, where the display is turned off and a sleep timer is shown when tapped. When you fall asleep the Sleep app will track your slumber using machine learning to monitor movement from the wrist, and it analyses for micro-signals such as breathing. The data will be fed into a newly revamped Sleep section of Apple Health, where your sleep and sleep schedules are tracked with an aim to promote bedtime consistency. When it’s time to wake up, you can set subtle alarms on the Apple Watch that take advantage of the Taptic Engine to gently rouse you. You’ll then see Good Morning screens on both iPhone and Apple Watch – the latter will show you the battery level to remind you to charge.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that the new features (improved sleep tracking features, automatic hand washing detection…) make sense, especially in the COVID-19 pandemic we are living in. Apple has a history of providing incremental improvements over the years. However in our opinion, Apple should go one step further and offer advanced biosensors to measure hydration, blood pressure, and more. Apple could possibly go down that path as it recently filed a patent showing an Apple Watch concept which would make the Apple Watch upgradable with new biosensors on the fly.

⌚ Amazfit adds automatic nap tracking to its smartwatch line-up | Via: Wareable

Amazfit has added support for nap time to its smartwatches, boosting the health credentials of the Chinese company’s devices. Off the back of Apple announcing native sleep tracking via watchOS 7, an update to the Amazfit GTS and Amazfit GTR now means that sporadic day time naps will be tracked just like sleep. For those who love (or need) some afternoon downtime, most fitness trackerscome up short. For many, this is an issue with differentiating between when you’re asleep or just watching TV.

However, if you drift off in the day time with your Amazfit smartwatch, it will now be logged alongside night time naps. There is one caveat, however. Your nap must be longer than 20 minutes for it to be logged, but otherwise, there’s no manual action required on your part. Very few leading fitness trackers have the ability to track naps manually. Any system that uses manual sleep tracking would be able to log a nap, although not all apps are geared up to log two distinct sleep sessions in a 24 hour period. So this small update from Amazfit actually offers something new for the wearable industry. We heaped praise on the Amazfit GTS’s sleep tracking prowess in our review period, and was impressed by the detail and analysis of night-time tracking. And this can be seriously useful. New mums, shift workers, and those with health or lifestyle needs rely on naps. If you’re taking sleep monitoring seriously, then all sleep should be tracked – and nap tracking make that possible. How it’s analysed in the app, however, remains to be seen. The update is rolling out now, starting in Vietnam – so it’s not fully clear when we’ll see land in the US or Europe. Look out for firmware versions Amazfit GTR and version for Amazfit GTS. You will need Amazfit app version 4.5.3.

⬆️ The Upside:  This should not as a surprise to see Amazfit add nap tracking to its smartwatch. It will help make its smartwatch more appealing. At a higher level, sleep has become a major issue globally. In fact, some studies have also shown that 30% of the world’s population suffer from sleep issues. You can check out our analysis on the sleep tech monitoring market here.

⌚Circadia Health Announces FDA Clearance of the C100 System for Contactless Respiratory Monitoring | Via: Yahoo Finance

Circadia Health announced last week that it has received expedited FDA clearance for Contactless Respiration Rate (CResp®) monitoring due to COVID-19. The C100 System™ uses radar to sense wirelessly, from up to 4 feet away in adult patients. Continuous CResp will support clinicians and save patient lives, by predicting and preventing respiratory complications through early warning scores, enabling timely interventions. The C100 features a radar sensor, proprietary radar Signal Analysis Technology (rSAT®), and cloud-based software for early detection of patient deterioration to augment clinical decision making. Contactless respiration rate, CResp, has been shown to be accurate, reliable, easy-to-use, and scalable for both continuous and spot-check monitoring across the continuum of care (general care floors, skilled nursing, and home health). CResp addresses the known limitations of pulse oximetry and other wearables, offering long-term respiration data effortlessly to enable effective triage and ongoing care management. Circadia will be launching the C100 immediately to play a critical role in helping hospitals and skilled nursing facilities combat respiratory-related illnesses including COVID-19, pneumonia, COPD exacerbations, and other forms of respiratory failure, in a wide range of patients, both in-hospital and at home. Designed for convenience and scalability, Circadia’s aim is for the C100 to become the gold standard for respiratory monitoring. The C100 eliminates patient compliance issues and helps clinicians monitor proactively and remotely to improve patient outcomes, reduce readmissions, and reduce the risk of infection transmission from patient-to-patient and patient-to-clinician.

Alongside CResp, Circadia rSAT® and AI-powered algorithms offer monitoring of motion, presence, and sleep quality. This facilitates early detection of adverse events such as falls, and recovery analysis. In addition to physiological monitoring, the C100 also offers ambient sound and light monitoring for detecting disturbances and coughing. Circadia’s Data as a Service (DaaS) model allows the C100 to be available under a subscription model with zero upfront cost to healthcare providers. The C100 generates reimbursement revenue of $123 per patient per month under CPT codes 99454, 99457, and 99458.

Fares Siddiqui, Co-founder and CEO of Circadia, said, “Our goal is to provide a frictionless solution to clinicians in order to help improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of care. During this COVID-19 crisis, the FDA has recognized the life-saving potential of our technology. We are now able to deliver the most convenient and powerful method to monitor fragile patients both in-facility and remotely at home.”

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a key milestone for Circadia and for the contactless biosensor market as a whole. Next gen wearables with contactless biosensors. We expect to see the emergence of a new wave of contactless wearables with biosensors capable of measuring HR, HRV, sleep quality and even blood pressure without any contacts to the skin. You can check out our analysis on the contactless biosensors market here.

Picture: Circadia Tech

🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 David Beckham co-owned Guild Esports launches, seeks $31M Investment | Via: Engadget

David Beckham is the latest high-profile sports star to segue into esports. Guild Esports launches today with Beckham as co-owner, initially focusing on Rocket League, FIFA and FortniteThe UK-based company will operate through a traditional academy model, with the most promising players coached by industry experts to professional level, and a roster of scouts continually on the hunt for the best new talent. While Beckham already has a wealth of experience in sports business development (most recently through his co-ownership of Inter Miami CF in the MLS), most of the day-to-day running of Guild will fall to Carleton Curtis, who’s left his role of vice president at Activision — where he set up leagues for Overwatch and Call of Duty — to pursue the new venture.

Beckham is a global superstar, so his involvement with Guild will definitely earn it a lot of interest. But he’s certainly not the first footballer to move into esports. Ex-Chelsea player Ruud Gullit runs Team Gullit, Gareth Bale heads up Ellevens Esports and Ronaldinho Gaúcho has launched R10 Esports. Mesut Özil’s M10 company, meanwhile, represents the first duo winner of the Fortnite World Cup.

Esports is obviously a natural move for former footballers, and it’s certainly a lucrative one. The global esports market is currently valued at around $1.1 billion, expected to grow by 42% to $1.56 billion by 2023. This would certainly explain why so many other celebrities and athletes are looking to get a piece of the pie. Drake, Michael Jordan, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Odell Beckham Jr. are just some of the major names attached to the rapidly growing sector. We can definitely expect to see more in the future.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a logical move for David Beckham to enter the world of esport. This is part of David Beckham to build an empire as he already owns an MLS team (Inter Miami FC) and his net worth is valued at $450M. Beckham is part of a global trend of athletes (Shaq, Steph Curry, Jordan..) that have jumped on the esport bandwagon in order to take advantage of this fast growing market which is set to reach $1.1B in revenue this year. You can check out ourlatest analysis: Esport: Hype Vs Reality.

Picture: David Beckham

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

📊 Key Tech & Biz Sports Stats of The Week

800M Euros: Mourad Boudjellal is alledgedly part of a project in the middle Easy to purchase l’Olympique de Marseille (OM) for 800M Euros.

$300M-$400M: Amazon will allegedly spend $300M-$400M to name the future home of the NHL expansion team and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm in Seattle. The company has opted to name the venue Climate Pledge Arena. This is part of a project to be net zero carbon certified by 2040.

$100M: LeBron James Gets $100 Million Investment to Build Media Empire. LeBron James’ SpringHill gets $100M backing, names Serena Williams, Red Sox chairman to board.

2000: Oura will supply the NBA with 2000 smart rings to help NBA players and the medical staff detect early signs of COVID-19.

438: Cristiano Ronaldo is now the highest scoring Portuguese player in Premier League, LaLiga and Lega Serie A history.

56%: In the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s most recent survey of 18,000 participants across the U.S. regarding the impact of the pandemic’s effects, 56% of respondents reported sales growth from April to May.

33: Lionel Messi turned 33 years old last week.

30: Liverpool FC won its first Premier League title in 30 years last week.

22: NBA star Vince Carter announced his retirement last week after playing 22 seasons in the NBA.

-10%: The Apple Watch has lost 10% of its market share, as the likes of Huawei, Samsung and Garmin posted record sales in Q1 2020 – according to new analysis. The latest figures from Canalys back up previous reports that Huawei has taken the smartwatch market by storm with its Huawei Watch GT range over the last year, with a 113% year-on-year increase in sales.

-38%: Nike’s fiscal fourth-quarter revenue fell 38% year-over-year to $6.3B as stores across the globe shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic.

📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

NFL Vs NASCAR: Tweet of the week. Agree?

🔥Upside Video Peer Review: Fullpower Technologies

🔥Upside Video Peer Review: Fullpower Technologies

Upside video peer reviews of sleep tech company Fullpower Technologies (Philippe Khan / CEO, Arthur Kinsolving / CTO) by top sports performance experts (Derek Lawrance, Director of Health and Performance at SJ Earthquakes/MLS, Daniel Hayes, Performance Director at LA Dodgers / MiLB, Brian Lee, Sports Medicine, Program Manager, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Skylar Richards, Director of Physiology & Performance at Orlando City FC / MLS).

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

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

Dear Friends and Members,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

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

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

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

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

⌚Fitbit Versa 2 could get Google Assistant on the wrist

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

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

💸 Latest Investment Trends

📊 Tech Stats of the Week

📸 Snapshots of the Week

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

🎮 AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture: Facebook

🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture: Fitbit, Google

🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

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

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

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

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

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

Picture: F1

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

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

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

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

Picture: F1

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

📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

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

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

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

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