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

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

Dear Friends and Members,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

👓  Google Turns To Augmented Reality To Help With Social Distancing

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

👓  Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz is stepping down

⌚Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 could get imminent release date

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

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

💸 Latest Investment Trends

📊 Tech Stats of the Week

📸 Snapshots of the Week

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

🎮 AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture: Magic Leap CEO

🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

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

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

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

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

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

Picture: Kinexon

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

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

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

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

Picture: Samsung

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

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

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

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

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

Picture: Samsung

🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

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

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

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

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

Picture: McLaren (F1)

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

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

📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

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

Implications of No Football Season

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

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

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

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

Other Notable Numbers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

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

Picture: Danish Superliga club AGFAarhus

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

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

Space Shuttle evolution. We have come a long way when it comes to space shuttle’s navigation systems. Last week, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon was using a full screen navigation system. This is a drastic change from the navigation systems used by Apollo 4 (1967) and Space Shuttle (2002).

No photo description available.


❤️ Cavs (NBA) Make History by Hiring Female Assistant

❤️ Cavs (NBA) Make History by Hiring Female Assistant

Dear Friends and Members,

Last Friday, we published our Sleep Tech Monitoring and Analysis Market, in which we where we discussed the segments, key players, and current and future trends in the sleep tech market for the coming years. To access this analysis be sure to sign up for our premium subscription by clicking the “subscribe now” button below.

Looking for access all of our previously published analysis, insights, data, podcast interviews, and more? Subscribe now to unlock access!

Source: Sports Tech Advisors, 2019

On Friday we plan to publish an analysis on the basketball tech market (AR, VR, wearables, etc.). To access this analysis be sure to sign up for our premium subscription by clicking the “subscribe now” button above.

📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

👀 AR glasses create 3D experience directly from smartphones

📈 Weekly Sports Startup Case Study & ROI: OTT sports, a great way to better monetize sports video content

⌚️Amazfit Verge 2 launches, rivalling Apple Watch with ECG and eSIM support

⌚️Fitbit retires its iconic and versa smartwatch apps

🎮 New York Excelsior Owner Sterling.VC Launches Andbox Esports Branding

❤️ Cavs (NBA) make history by hiring Lindsay Gottlieb as female assistant to their coaching staff

💸 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 Sports News

👀 AR glasses create 3D experience directly from smartphones | Via: Springwise

China-based Rokid is developing augmented reality (AR) glasses with the computing power to generate immersion experiences from a smartphone. The glasses can generate a virtual desktop to work from or an active 3D experience for gaming.

Rokid Vision glasses are different from other models on the market because they include some processing power. It means wearers can plug the glasses into any device with a Type C port, like smartphones and tablets. Rokid promises the glasses will provide immersive sound, be lightweight and be affordable.

⬆️ The Upside: Rokid Vision glasses have a different approach from other competing AR glasses vendors as they include processing power. However we don’t expect Rokid to gain much traction as it does not have a solid brand recognition globally. When it comes to AR glasses, having a solid brand is important which is why vendors like Facebook, Sony, HTC..will prevail there.

Picture: Rokid

📈 Our weekly Sports Tech Case Study / ROI

Each week we’ll highlight a sports tech case study with a technology that helped sports teams get a solid ROI (injury reduction, ticket sales improvement, cost savings, diversity improvement, etc.).

So what’s our weekly sports tech case study?

In the OTT space, content is king, yet who are the knights defending their leader? A successful OTT service needs a robust infrastructure, a seamless authentication (login, registration), the richness of apps, content entitlement, and the right customer care processes. Sports OTT viewers have high standards for quality and tech vendors should comply.

So what is important for a pro team or sports brand when launching an OTT service?

Focus on subscriber retention. The initial acquisition is easy if you have a popular brand, with that in place you then need to increase engagement and satisfaction. The sports OTT market is just too big of a sector to overlook. Massive sports brands with big fan bases have to find a way to lock-in those fans with a great service, and build stable revenue streams.

In this competitive market where subscriber acquisition costs are high, there is a growing need for services to focus on retention rather than solely acquisition. The economics behind this is clear.

“Acquiring a new subscriber is five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one” – Harvard Business Group

Monetising live video remains a top priority for sports organisations. There was a cool stat in a recent Techcrunch article recently. Out of the 100 most-watched live telecasts in the US in 2005, 14 were sporting events; in 2015, sporting events comprised 93 of the top 100 telecasts.

Increasingly, sports businesses choose subscriptions to build stable revenue streams and that fits their drive for sustainability. In a recent example, SportsMax, the leading sports broadcaster in the Caribbean, set up a dedicated sports channel with Cleeng and broadcasted all the live games via a streaming app. They used SportsMax’s access and identity management (IAM), entitlement and payment modules to create a set of passes with synced coupons to run a promotional campaign.

That resulted in obtaining more than 20,000 users.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe that OTT is a great way for sports teams to monetize their video content (Live, VOD). We are seeing 2 new trends in the OTT sports: (1) Integration of a VR/360 experience with e-commerce integration as part of an OTT offering. Companies like The Dream VR are key players there. (2) Integration of live statistical and biometric data as part of the Sports OTT experience. Ultimately if implanted properly pro teams can use OTT services to better monetize video content, reduce churn, increase fans engagement and drive their top line.

🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚️ Amazfit Verge 2 launches, rivalling Apple Watch with ECG and eSIM support | Via: Wearable

Huami has pulled back the curtain on the Amazfit Verge 2 – and it comes packing some of the high-end smartwatch features we’ve only seen from Apple.

Unveiled as part of parent company Xiaomi’s special event in Beijing where the Mi Band 4 was also shown off, the device comes with support for real-time ECG readings, as well as eSIM technology. That means it can work without being connected to a smartphone.

The addition of the ECG monitor is significant, as it propels the Verge 2 into the very select group of watches – including the Apple Watch Series 4 and Withings Move ECG – to offer the feature. It’s facilitated by Huami’s Huanghan No.1 always-on AI chip – something that features a cardiac biometrics engine that allows for more accurate heart rate monitoring.

Screening can take place for heart arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation, with the smartwatch able to store up to an hour of ECG data locally for seven days. As we say, though, that’s not all. The eSIM support means that the Verge 2 is compatible with all of China’s major carriers, allowing it to make and take calls independent of a phone.

Much like the original, the Verge 2 feature set will have an emphasis on tracking. There’s automatic tracking for 10 activities, such as indoor, outdoor and trail running, elliptical, trekking, skipping and more.

And, again, like the predecessor, the new smartwatch will retain its budget price tag. The standard edition will cost roughly $144, while the ECG version $188.

⬆️ The Upside: We think that the Verge 2 is a compelling product as it offers great functionalities (ECG, various activity tracking capabilities..) at a reasonable price. This kind of product should help Xiaomi remain competitive in the highly competitive smartwatch market dominated by Apple.

Picture: Huami

⌚️ Fitbit retires its iconic and versa smartwatch apps | Via: Wearable

Fitbit Labs, the company’s branch that builds apps and watch faces for its smartwatches, has announced it will retire several of its creations.

Fitbit says it will be removing the New Parent, Tennis and Think Fast apps on 15 June, as well as the Mood Log clock face. If you already have them on your device, they won’t disappear, but Fitbit says functionality “will be reduced”.

Fitbit told us it’s retiring them to make way for “more experiments in the future”, but the decision implies users simply weren’t using these apps very much. We’re hardly surprised: smartwatch apps, particularly third-party apps and those that don’t come “baked into” wearables, have struggled to find a footing. Fitbit has fostered a decent community of people designing watch faces, but its app ecosystem feels immature next to the Apple Watch and even Wear OS.

“Since its launch in 2017, Fitbit Labs has developed and tested potential Fitbit features through a variety of experimental apps and clock faces designed to motivate users and help drive behavior change,” Fitbit told us in a statement.

“Apps and clock faces from Fitbit Labs are designed to be available for a limited time to help us gain valuable feedback and insights for developing future features that enhance our user experience.”

Most of the apps being killed off launched late 2017, to coincide with the arrival of the Fitbit Ionic, while New Parent launched in time for the Versa smartwatch in March 2018.

⬆️ The Upside: This move by Fitbit should not come as a surprise as, according to Fitbit spokesperson, these apps were always intended as “experiments to test ideas and to analyze anonymous user data, adding that it was always the intention they live for a limited period of time”. Plus in December 2017, the company spoke quite candidly about Labs and noted that some apps could be discontinued if they weren’t a success. The news also comes just days after Apple announced it will launch a standalone App Store for its Watch.

Picture: Fitbit

🎮 eSports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 New York Excelsior Owner Sterling.VC Launches Andbox Esports Branding | Via: eSports Observer

Sterling.VC, the owner of the OverwatchLeague’s New York Excelsior, has established Andbox as a new brand for its esports initiatives. The company also recently acquired the New York franchise spot in the upcoming Call of Duty geolocated league. Andbox will also focus on content creation, New York-area events, and fashion and apparel products.

Andbox has brought in Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow, co-founders of New York-based fashion label Public School, to be the creative directors for its apparel offerings. The New York Excelsior previously collaborated with fashion brands such as Undefeated, Champion, and New Era.

“Following the launch of NYXL and our new Call of Duty franchise, we’ve received a tremendous amount of support from our fans, but we recognize that New Yorkers—and gamers everywhere—are still hungry for a deeper, more meaningful connection to esports,” said Andbox co-founder Scott Wilpon, in a release. “We’re incredibly excited to launch Andbox to help people find exciting new ways to self-identify and express themselves as gamers.”

Sterling Equities is the principal owner of the New York Mets, as well as the SportsNet New York (SNY) television network.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a great move by Sterling.VC. This is part of its overall strategy to become a key player in the eSports market. For the New York Mets, it is part of their overall strategy to try to attract a new type of audience (gamers) and improve the awareness of their sports brands beyond traditional sports. In the long run eSports could potentially help the sports franchise drive its top line.

Photo: Andbox

🎮 Social Impact News

❤️ Cavs (NBA) make history by hiring Lindsay Gottlieb as female assistant to their coaching staff | Via: ESPN

Last week the Cavs (NBA) added a female assistant to their coaching staff. Lindsay Gottlieb will make history as the first women’s college basketball coach to be hired in the NBA. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, coach John Beilein is hiring California women’s coach Lindsay Gottlieb to be an assistant.

“Her success at Cal Berkeley speaks for itself and her insight in our meetings, practices and games will hold tremendous value. After sitting with her, it was easy to see how she will connect quickly with our staff and our players, and we all benefit because of that connection. I’m looking forward to merging all of her years of experience and vision for the game with our current and future coaching staff.”

Gottlieb — who will sign a four-year contract with the Cavs and is the first women’s collegiate head coach recruited to an NBA staff — gave credit to commissioner Adam Silver, echoing the sentiments of other women who have found coaching and front-office employment in the NBA. Silver has been vocal about wanting to see more women hired for various NBA jobs, including coaching, administration and officiating.

Silver’s push to expand hiring practices isn’t just posturing; he understands that it makes sense in any profession to widen the talent pool. It’s unlikely we’ll see many women make the move Gottlieb is making between the college game and the NBA, but it’s a start.

“It was an incredibly forward-thinking way of saying, ‘For us to be as good as we can be, we need different thought processes,’ and they value what I’m going to bring to the table,” said Gottlieb, 41. “Part of who I am is about having an ability to connect to people and be open to letting people be who they are even as we’re trying to achieve a mission together. I think some of those characteristics are what made me attractive to the Cavs organization.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a great move by the Cavs. This is part of a new trend in the NBA where many pro teams are hiring female coaches to be part of their coaching staff. The Cavs are not the only NBA team to do so. So which other NBA teams also have female assistants? Including Gottlieb, there are now six female assistant coaches in the NBA. Here’s the list of all of them: Natalie Nakase (LA Clippers), Becky Hammon (San Antonio Spurs), Jenny Boucek (Dallas Mavericks), Kristi Toliver (Washington Wizards), Chasity Melvin (Charlotte Hornets), Lindsay Gottlieb (Cleveland Cavaliers). We think it is only a matter of time before we see a major NBA team hire a female as its new NBA head coach.

Picture: Lindsay Gottlieb

💸 Sports Investment Trends — June, 2019

  • Esports infrastructure company and Rogue parent ReKTGlobal has acquired Greenlit Content, a company that operates videogame and esports-centric websites. Read on here.
  • Immortals Gaming Club has acquired Infinite Esports & Entertainment, parent company of OpTic Gaming and the Houston Outlaws. Read on here.

📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

$9B: At least $9B has been bet legally on sports in the U.S. in the year since PASPA was overturned, according to the AP.

$1.2B: FIFA is doubling down on its goal to further engaged its Chinese fan base. They are doing this by launching official accounts on popular digital platforms Douyin and Toutiao. Between the two platforms, there are 1.2B monthly active users. With Douyin and Toutiao, FIFA will now have an official presence in four platforms in the country with Weibo and WeChat being the other two.

$500M: Wanda Sports Group is looking to raise $500M with its IPO.

$86M: According to Forbes, Roger Federer’s partnerships with companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Rolex, Barilla, Wilson, Uniqlo and others netted him $86M in the 12 months ending June 1, 2019, dwarfing his prize money earnings of $7.4 million over the same period.

7M: According to NBCSports, the St. Louis market saw a 41.8 local TV rating, making it the highest-rated Blues game ever in that market. Game 7 was also the most-streamed NHL game ever, delivering an Average Minute Audience (AMA) of 191,500 viewers. It also drew 9M viewers making it the most watched NHL game since 1994.

732: Kawhi Leonard (Raptors/NBA) scored 732 points in the postseason, which is the third most by any player in playoff history (LeBron James, 2018 and Michael Jordan, 1992).

55%: During the NBA Finals, the Raptors had 55% more Twitter mentions than the Warriors, according to TwitterSports. The eight most Tweeted about Raptors games in history were played since May 12, 2019.

26, 10: Kyle Lowry scored 26 points and added 10 assists in the Raptors’ win. He is just the sixth player ever to have 25 or more points and 10 or more assists in Game 6 or 7 of an NBA Final. He joins LeBron James as the only other player to do it on the road.

16Fred VanVleet hit 16 3-pointers in this series, setting an NBA record for the most shots made from beyond the arc off the bench in a Finals. JR Smith and Robert Horry are now tied for second with 15.

12 hrs: After winning their maiden Stanley Cup title, the St. Louis Blues are generating record sales for merchandising giant Fanatics.It took only 12 hours for Blues fans celebrating the first Cup in the franchise’s 52-year history to shatter Fanatics’  previous sales record for Stanley Cup championship merchandise, set by the Washington Capitals in 2018.

9: Nick Nurse became the ninth rookie coach to win an NBA title. He’s the first since Tyronn Lue in 2016-17.

1: The Raports (NBA) won their first NBA title after beating the Warriors 4-2 in the NBA Finals.

📸 The Upside: Snapshots of The Week

Ahead of the start of Wimbledon, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) debuted the new No.1 Court retractable roof. The roof is 80,000-square-feet of fabric covering that required 11 new 112-ton steel trusses atop the grounds’ second-largest stadium, via ForbesSports.

🔥Upside TV Show: Dr Ting, World’s Class Orthopedic Surgeon.

Last week we had the honor to interview Dr Ting, a world’s class orthopedic surgeon. Dr Ting, who has worked with top athletes like Tiger Woods, Yao Ming (NBA), Joe Montana (49ers/NFL), Landon Donovan (MLS), Kenneth Roberts, and many teams (SJ Sharks/NHL, Warriors/NBA, 49ers/NFL, etc.), just to name a few.

📝Show Notes: He gave us a tour of his clinic in Fremont CA and showed us the latest and greatest technologies (Cryotherapy, laser therapy, cool/hot therapy, etc..) he has been using for his clients.

Video: Dr Ting

Please note that this is the beginning of a video interview series with top sports and tech executives to discuss the latest and greatest technologies used in the world of pro sports.

🏆 Nadal Makes History. Cryotherapy is Elite Sports’ New Secret Sauce

🏆 Nadal Makes History. Cryotherapy is Elite Sports’ New Secret Sauce

Dear Friends and Members,

Last Friday, we published our Tennis Tech analysis, in which we where we discussed the segments, key players, and current and future trends for the coming years. To access this analysis be sure to sign up for our premium subscription by clicking the “subscribe now” button below.

Looking for access all of our previously published analysis, insights, data, podcast interviews, and more? Subscribe now to unlock access!

Source: Sports Tech Advisors, 2019

On Wednesday, we will publish our video interview with Dr Ting, a world’s class orthopedic surgeon. Dr Ting, who has worked with top athletes like Tiger Woods, Yao Ming (NBA), Landon Donovan, just to name a few, gave us a tour of his clinic in Fremont CA and showed us the latest and greatest technologies he has been using for his patients. Of note, please note that this is the series of video interviews with top experts, pro teams, leagues in the world of sports and tech to discuss the latest trends and technologies. It will be available to “premium” members only so don’t forget to sign up for the premium membership.

Picture: Dr Ting, Video interview

On Friday we plan to publish an analysis on the tech sleeping and analytics market where we will discuss the key segments, players, current and future trends. To access this analysis be sure to sign up for our premium subscription by clicking the “subscribe now” button above.

📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

👀 Apple reveals ARKit 3 with RealityKit and Reality Composer

👓 Apple seeks AR glasses patent for hiding secret documents at work

👓 Google works with augmented reality tech startup Hello TeamSolar

🚀 Mojo Vision shows off display technology for augmented reality

📈 Weekly Sports Startup Case Study & ROI: Cryotherapy, The Elite Sports’s New Secret Sauce

🎶 Flow headset is now approved to use neuroscience to treat depression

⌚️ Apple announcements: Apple Watch gets an upgrade at WWDC 2019

🏎 Ferrari Joins F1 New Balance Esports Series for 2019

🎮 ESPN launches EXP, a new gaming series focusing on eSports competitions

💸 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 Sports News

👀 Apple reveals ARKit 3 with RealityKit and Reality Composer | Via: VentureBeat

Apple has used the last two WWDCs as opportunities to show off its latest and greatest augmented reality innovations, the ARKit and ARKit 2.0 software development kits for iOS, along with annual hands-on demos. This year, it’s unsurprisingly showing off new augmented reality initiatives including ARKit 3, RealityKit, and Reality Composer, a collection of tools to make AR development easier.

ARKit 3 adds support for two major features: automatic real-time occlusion of people viewed by the host device’s camera, and real-time motion capture with the camera. Face tracking now supports up to three people at a time when viewed by the front-facing TrueDepth cameras on iPhone X/XR/XS devices and iPad Pros, and developers can simultaneously access both face and world tracking on the front and back cameras at once. Live collaborative sessions are supported between multiple people, using a shared world map.

RealityKit is a high-level framework to enable developers to easily blend virtual objects with real world environments, automatically scaled to perform properly on multiple Apple devices, and handle the networking demands of shared AR experiences. It supports photorealistic rendering, new environmental and camera effects, and additional animation, physics, and audio effects. It natively integrates with ARKit, and has a Swift API.

⬆️ The Upside: This is a logical move by Apple to keep improving the capabilities of its mobile AR product. In our view, Apple has been smart by focusing on the mobile AR maket first a market that generated $3B in revenue last year. Why? Because there is essentially no consumer AR glasses market today. Apple is laying the foundations for its upcoming AR glasses, is already monetizing mobile AR, and learning about what iOS customers like, do not like about mobile AR.

Picture: Apple’s keynote

👓 Apple seeks MR glasses patent for hiding secret documents at work| Via: VentureBeat

Apple’s on-stage revelations of new augmented reality initiatives have largely focused on ARKit software, but the company has also been working on mixed reality hardware, as patents and reliable reports have amply established. While some of the patent documents are just nuts-and-bolts pieces, others have been eye-catching and unusual, including a newly filed application (via Patently Apple) that appears to be targeted at the business world: a plan to let headset wearers see real versions of secret documents and input devices, while outside observers are presented with fakes.

The patent application suggests that a person will sit down with physical typing and trackpad surfaces while looking at a screen. To observers, the screen might show an image of a “dummy document” or screen saver, while the headset wearer will see an augmented image of the actual document in the same place. Similarly, the typing surface could have virtual key labels overlaid to prevent people from knowing what’s actually being typed on either physical or flat touchscreen keys; a touchscreen’s keys could be blacked out to people outside the headset.

⬆️ The Upside: This should not as a surprise to see Apple file this type of patent for MR glasses. Based on our internal sources, Apple is set to introduce an MR glasses product in the fall of 2020. We expect Apple to charge a premium for its MR glasses which will have an Hololens look and feel. Apple will be able to convert a good portion of its mobile AR users to its MR glasses offering.

Picture: Apple

👓 Google works with augmented reality tech startup Hello TeamSolar VentureBeat

Hello TeamSolar has partnered with Google on a project to create augmented reality (AR) technology focused on customized experiences in specific locations. As part of the deal, Google is working closely with Hello TeamSolar.

Hello TeamSolar is developing a platform for branded custom AR experiences to be played in large-scale settings across multiple devices in real time. The team will also be working with Google to create applications that support AR location-based services. The startup is creating a platform to deliver content via multiple devices with Google Cloud Anchors.

Archie Prakash, who is on the faculty of University of Southern California’s Interactive Games & Media department, founded Hello TeamSolar along with Nick Fortugno, creator of Diner Dash and CEO of Playmatics, and Linda Franke, a former lecturer at UDK Berlin (Berlin Arts University). Hello TeamSolar participated in a game jam sponsored by Google and it won.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is great move by Google. Google is putting the right pieces together to dominate the mobile AR platform war. In a way we see a lot of similarities with Google’s Android or Google Assistant strategy. Google is good at building platforms that scale, so Google’s goal seems to be clear here: Building a highly scalable mobile AR platform that will be used by top brands to create custom location based mobile AR experiences across various platforms (smartphone – tablet – connected glasses – connected cars..). Plus they are set to tap into the fast growing location based AR market expected to experience strong growth in the years to come.

🚀 Mojo Vision shows off display technology for augmented reality Venturebeat

What meets the eye is important—but in the case of entering the realm of augmented reality, how it meets the eye is an issue. A California company is on that case. They have technology to let AR users keep in the flow eyes-up. Hands-free.

They have been working on a tiny display for augmented reality.

The company, Mojo Vision, has had successful funding. Gradient Ventures, for one, pointed to a current interest in “using AI to look beyond today’s mobile form factors and develop new ways to connect the world to important information.”

We can see where a venture capitalist might be drawn to a claim that this is the world’s smallest and densest micro display. VentureBeat said it was a 14K pixel-per-inch display coming out of this Saratoga, California-based company.

In fact, VentureBeat‘s Dean Takahashi said a prototype was shown at the Augmented World Expo event in Santa Clara and he saw a demo. Verdict: “It looks like they’re putting their $108 million in funding to good use.” Takahashi witnessed looking at moving images on a dot via a microscope. He said the prototype powers tiny pixels. 

Lexy Savvides, CNET, also viewed a demo and she wrote that, instead of being shown a screen, “Mojo Vision has just showed me the complete opposite: a tiny monochrome display measuring half a millimeter across that I can only see under a microscope.”

⬆️ The Upside: We think that Mojo Vision is an AR startup to watch for several reasons: (1) They raised $100M as an AR startup, which is something very few AR startups have managed to do. Ask ODG, Meta, and others. (2) Based on our sources, Mojo Vision intends to build some AR connected contact lenses using this tiny display technology. Now trying to put electronics and displays on the contact lenses themselves is something that many AR startups tried and failed to do. It remains to be seen if Mojo Vision will be able to pull this off…

Photo: Mojo Vision’s original AR display technology

📈 Our weekly Sports Tech Case Study / ROI

Each week we’ll highlight a sports tech case study with a technology that helped sports teams get a solid ROI (injury reduction, ticket sales improvement, cost savings, diversity improvement, etc.).

So what’s our weekly sports tech case study?

In the world of elite sports, over the past 5 years, many pro teams, and athletes have started to use what’s commonly known as cryotherapy. The goal? Fasten the recovery and ealing process, boost the energy level, and more.

So how does it work?

Cryotherapy involves immersing the body in air frozen to temperatures that can be lower than minus-150 degrees Fahrenheit for a short spell of time. The idea is the extreme cold helps the body recover faster, while also reducing injury, raising energy levels and even improving sleep. While many athletes have long used ice baths, cryotherapy rooms or machines have become the preferred choice of many top sports stars, including soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo.

“The protocol is they stay 20 seconds in the first chamber at minus-60, then they enter the other chamber at minus-110, for three minutes normally,” said Mathilde Poignard, a PhD student in physiology and sports science who looks after the whole-body cryotherapy chambers and is writing a study examining the benefits.

Other world’s class orthopedic surgeons like Dr Ting have been using cryotherapy rooms for several years now for his patients in the NBA, NHL, NFL, pro Moto racing.. and he believes that it is the future of sports recovery as it shocks the body of athletes which stimulates things like glycogenolysis (a breakdown of glycogen) which is key to recovery. In fact for rapid recovery from prolonged exercise, it is important to replenish muscle glycogen stores and initiate muscle tissue repair and adaptation

“It shocks the body thinking that something bad is happening (..) It stimulates glycogen”, said Dr Ting during our video interview set to be published this week.

As noted earlier, Dr Ting gave a tour and sneak pick of his cryotherapy machine. We plan to publish the video interview on Wednesday.

So which players and teams are using cryotherapy today?

Athletes are prone to soreness and injuries, so whole body cryotherapy can help them heal. Athletes from various sports (soccer, basketball, boxing, hockey, track and field, tennis, etc.) have used cryotherapy.

For example, in 2015 prior to his fight with Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather often used cryotherapy following his training sessions. In a similar vein, athletes like Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Steph Curry have used cryotherapy following their training. Sprinters Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin have used and loved this treatment as well.

Cryotherapy has also become a common practice in the world of pro tennis, with top players like Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka (see picture below), Alexander Zverev, Novak Djokovic, Feliciano Lopez, Grigor Dimitrov, Serena Williams, Eugenie Bouchard, using it as part of their training.

Pro teams have also jumped on the bandwagon. Those include teams like the Warriors (NBA), LA Lakers (NBA), Phoenix Suns (NBA), Dallas Mavericks (NBA), New York Knicks (NBA), 49ers (NFL), SJ Sharks (NHL), Arsenal FC (Premier League), Manchester United (Premier League), just to name a few.

Picture: Pro tennis player Stan Wawrinka using Cryotherapy

Of note Cryotherapy also has become the recovery of choice for Hollywood celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Tony Robbins, Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan, Alicia Keys, Jessica Alba, or Jennifer Aniston, but Poignard said the jury is still out as to just how beneficial it really is.

“The main benefit is for the recovery and muscle soreness,” she said. “But at the moment, there is no proof of other benefits, other than muscle soreness and the perception of muscle soreness. There are several studies about it, but some studies are contradictory and maybe depending on the context. … There is a different exercise, and it’s difficult to compare and make one conclusion.”

⬆️ The Upside: Based on our direct feedback from experts who used Cryotherapy with some of the world’s best athletes, we believe that there is no question that Cryotherapy works and fastens the recovery of athletes. Many teams now are using this as part of their weekly routine. In some occasions, some athletes are even requiring Cryotherapy to be part of the recovery process which speaks to how popular and efficient it has become among the elite sports community.

🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

🎶 Flow headset is now approved to use neuroscience to treat depression | Via: Wearable

Swedish health tech startup Flow Neuroscience has been given regulatory approval in the UK to start selling its headset that’s designed to treat depression without the use of medication.

Tapping into neuroscience and a technique known as Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), the headset is paired with the startup’s AI-powered, app therapy program. It can be used in your own home and aims to reduce the effects of acute depression over an initial period of six weeks, with a follow up phase after that.

The companion app also includes guidance and tasks around how best to eat, sleep, exercise and meditate to combat depression, based on well established behavioural activation techniques.

“By doing this about 30 minutes a day, 18 sessions during a six week period – it’s spread out – you can get a reduction in depression roughly equivalent to antidepressant medication,” said Flow Neuroscience’s CEO Daniel Mansson. “The big thing about this technology is that you get fewer and less severe side effects than with, for example, the newest forms of antidepressant medication.”

⬆️ The Upside: Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 300M people of all ages suffer from depression. Medication to treat depression often has lots of side effects. With that in mind we believe that Flow Neuroscience’s innovative approach with a headset designed to treat depression without the use of medication, is very compelling. And the fact that it has been given regulatory approval in the UK to start selling its product is a great accomplishment and it brings them more legitimacy.

Picture: Flow Neuroscience’s headset

⌚️ Apple announcements: Apple Watch gets an upgrade at WWDC 2019 | Via: Popular Science

The smallest Apple screen is getting a substantial design upgrade. There are several new faces, as well as a “haptic chime” that will buzz slightly on the hour or even make a quiet bird sound like a cuckoo clock.

From a software standpoint, the watch will soon get some new apps including audio books, a voice recorder, and even a calculator. The watch has a built-in tip calculator feature, which got a surprising amount of clapping from the audience.

The apps will run more independently without a companion phone, and as a result, the Watch is finally getting the App Store natively. You can buy and install apps directly from your watch instead of using your phone as a conduit.

The Apple Watch has been focused on health for a few versions now and there are some new health upgrades to go with it in WatchOS 6. The Watch will also track your workout schedule and notice when you start to slack off and try to motivate you. There’s also a new Noise app that uses the device’s microphone to identify when you’re in an area so loud it could damage your hearing.

This year, Apple is officially announcing its Cycle Tracking app for tracking a user’s menstrual cycle. It doesn’t require a Watch so it will work on the phone, too. It’s also free.

⬆️ The Upside: We think these are minor incremental improvements from Apple. But that’s what Apple does. Tracking various types of activities is already a common feature among smart watch competitors. Apple has the luxury of having very local customers with high multiple device ownership. As we mentioned before, what Apple should do is focus on offering new valuable types of biosensors (sweat volume, stress level, fatigue level…) and insights to Apple Watch users.

Picture: Apple’s keynote, WWDC 2019

🎮 eSports & Crypto-Currency News

🏎 Ferrari Joins F1 New Balance Esports Series for 2019 | Via: eSports Observer

The F1 New Balance Esports Series has already announced a longer season and larger prize pool for 2019, and now the league has expanded in another way by adding Scuderia Ferrari to the starting grid.

Ferrari was the lone holdout last year when Formula One and Codemasters  decided to incorporate the official F1 teams into the esports league, as all nine of the other constructors established esports teams for the season. Now the entire pack will participate in the 2019 season.

The F1 New Balance Esports Series 2019 began its expanded online qualifiers in F1 2018 on April 8 across all three platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The top performers on each platform will be invited to the Pro Draft in July, where race-off events will determine the final pool of eligible draftees. Each of the 10 teams must draft at least one driver for its roster. Of note, the 2019 season is longer than last year, and has more than doubled the prize pool at $500K USD.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a good move by Ferrari which is an iconic brand in the world of F1. It was only a matter of time before seeing Ferrari part of this eSports league for F1 teams. F1 teams have become among the most active pro sports organizations to launch their own eSports teams and whenever a world’s class F1 team like Ferrari join eSports it bring more credibility to the whole eSports industry.

Photo: Ferrari

🎮 ESPN launches EXP, a new gaming series focusing on eSports competitions | Via: eSports Observer

ESPN announced last week the creation of EXP, a new gaming series featuring esports competitions at ESPN-owned events. Through a collaboration with Electronic Arts, Apex Legends will continue the EXP series at two ESPN events this summer: the ESPYS and X Games Minneapolis.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a great move by ESPN as one of eSports’s most unique aspect is the ability to bring people from various backgrounds and give them a chance to start a pro career as eSports gamers. Because of that, unpacking the stories of those individuals is critical and ESPN understand that. They are not the only ones. The NBA had a similar strategies as it developed a document-series of the players in its 2K League.

We had all these really amazing backgrounds and stories and just stories we had to tell. (..) We learned that really in season two that that story needed to be unpacked more. So we’ve developed a docu-series that we now are releasing every week, just really telling those behind-the-scenes stories of the players behind the League and really their life stories (..) We had amazingly strong feedback about it, said Brendan Donohue, Managing Director of the NBA 2K League, during our podcast interview with him last week.

💸 Sports Investment Trends — June, 2019

  • eSport company MCES raises $2M seed, begins Series A fundraising. Read on here.
  • City Masters Operator MateCrate secures $1.57M Investment. Read on here.

📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

42B: According to GumGum Sports analysis, during the NBA season, jersey patches received 42B impressions, 121k total exposures and 3.2B total engagements on social media.

1B: In 2015, more than 760 million people tuned into the Women’s World Cup, according to FIFA. This year, FIFA is aiming for 1 billion.

$225M: Serena Williams became the first athlete on Forbes’ richest self-made women list. Forbes estimates that Williams has an estimated fortune of $225M.

$75M: The Dolphins are getting a new $75M+ practice facility. This is what it is going to look like.

$40M: Fox network owns the domestic broadcast rights for the Women’s World Cup tournament in France and has seen brands like Coca-Cola, Verizon, and Volkswagon come on board for this year’s tournament. According to Patel, the network did $40M in ad revenue during the last Women’s World Cup in 2015. This year? Interest has “grown considerably.”

$30M: The total prize fund for this year’s Women’s World Cup tournament in France is $30M, with the winners are set to receive $4M. That number is double what it was in 2015. In comparison, the Men’s World Cup champion France brought home $38M from a prize pool of $400M (Source: USA Today).

$5.8M: Days before the Kawhi trade, McDonald’s promised to hand out free fries whenever the Raptors hit 12 three pointers. They figured they would give away 700,000 medium fries in the season. Instead it was 2 million. That’s $5.8M in French fries.

950K: According to Tom Gary of the BBC, a total of 950,000 tickets have been sold so far for this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.1.3M: According to France24, there are 1.3M tickets for sale for this year’s World Cup tournament in France.

$500k: The NBA took swift action against Warriors Co-Owner Mark Stevens last week after it was discovered that Stevens was the fan who pushed Kyle Lowry during Game Three of the NBA Finals. Thanks to his actions, Stevens is banned from NBA games for a year and has been fined $500,000 by the league, a punishment that Adam Silver said is “appropriate” for what transpired.

60%: Forbes reports that 60% of Serena Williams’ investments have gone to companies led by women or people of color.

45%: Viewership at the Women’s World Cup tournament in France was up 45% for men aged 18-34 and it was up 75% for boys aged 12-17.

18: Yesterday Rafael Nadal won his 18th Grand Slam singles title (12 Roland Garros, 1 Australian Open, 2 Wimbledon, 3 US Open). He is only two lengths away from Roger Federer’s record.

14: Last Friday Federer and Nadal met in the Roland Garros semi-finals for the first time in 14 years. The last time they met, the Spaniard was a 19-year-old en route to winning his first Grand Slam while his opponent was the top seed. Before the semi finals, Nadal and Federer have met 12 times at Grand Slams with the Spaniard leading 9-3.

12: Rafa Nadal is now the first player, male or female, to win the same major twelve times.

11: In the 69-year history of the NBA, teams that were down 1-2 in the Finals after the first three games won the title just 11 times. The 2-1 team, therefore, has an 84% chance of winning the championship while the 1-2 team’s chances are at a low 16%.

📸 The Upside: Snapshots of The Week

Here is a a closer look at TomBrady’s SBLIII Championship ring as he becomes the most decorated player in the league of all time. The New England Patriots SBLIII Championship ring is the largest Super Bowl ring ever made, according to @Jostens. Crafted in 10-karat gold, the ring features 422 diamonds and 20 blue sapphires.

As the FIFA Women World Cup kicks off last week, Google showing its support with its homepage Doodle.

🔥Upside Chat: Walid Fattah, Kourts CEO

🔥Upside Chat: Walid Fattah, Kourts CEO

This week we had the honor to interview Walid Fattah, the CEO of Kourts, a leading tech startup in the world of tennis.

Picture: Kourts’ mobile app and desktop app

📝Show Notes: Throughout our conversation, we talked about how Kourts got started, how Kourts’ technology helps tennis clubs today, what kind of benefits they get from it, Kourts’ future product roadmap, and what he believes will be the future of AI based solutions for tennis clubs.

🚀Best Quotes: Here’s some of the key discussion points and best quotes from our conversation with Walid:

  1. On how Kourts got started: “ I was fortunate enough to live in many different cities and different continents, and I always faced the same frustration of trying to find a tennis court, trying to find a program, trying to find a coach, a player, someone to play with. For me, it was always very, very frustrating (..) IIn 2015, I was living in Dubai. I spent quite a bit of time there working with Credit Suisse. While I was there, a very dear friend of mine who had built the largest real estate portal of the region called propertyfinder.ae, and I shared with him the frustration of the tennis world, and he says, “Walid, in today’s world, with the technology that we have, we can fix all those problems.” I looked at it a little bit deeper. I came to the US thinking that the US would be the biggest market. It was a tech project as well so I thought it was the right place to start this. I did about six or seven months of research to try and understand the demographics of tennis in the US and try to understand how people were addressing all the different issues in tennis (..) this really started on the back of frustration of myself and so many other people that I had heard on how complicated it was to try and find, as I said, anything linked to tennis”.
  2. On how Kourts is different from other SaaS solutions for tennis: We also obviously looked at the space and we looked at competitors and no one had built a marketplace like the one we built and still no one has, but there was a lot of those SaaS products out there and we looked at how they were built. It was all very out-dated. It was all very difficult to put settings for a club. For us, that’s when we realized, “Okay. If we want to get more players to play, we need to have the buy-in of clubs,” but then it’s the chicken and the egg because obviously now that we’ve built a platform”.
  3. On how Kourts is helping tennis clubs today: We have a marketplace with more than 80,000 tennis players, we’re directing players towards facilities that are on our platform and I’ll give you an example. We’re based in Venice Beach, California, which is one of our biggest markets mostly because we are headquartered here, we are currently in 24 different states in America. We’re only in the US for the time being. One club in particular, which was one of the first four clubs that was on the platform, when they started with the Kourts platform, they had 42% on average court occupancy. In today’s situation, and this is 18 months in, they have more than 72% court occupancy”.
  4. On how Kourts is helping clubs attract new members: Interesting enough, and I’ll take the same club as an example because we use it a lot, but that club that currently has about 470 players, 164 players are players that have come through the Kourts app. We know because obviously it goes into the database, and the database obviously shows that this booking came through the Kourts app, and those were not members. A lot of the clubs out there allow non-members to come to a private club but only for clinics, only for programs and classes”.
  5. On why they decided to build Kourts on mobile first: “At 9:47 p.m., your front desk of your club is closed. Now, the fact that you have the ability of booking at any time, it’s made things so much easier. There are some SaaS products out there, which are web-based, but I always tell tennis players and say, “Oh, why don’t you have something that’s web-based?” I’m like, “Do you have your laptop with you right now?” He’s like, “No, it’s at home,” but that’s my point. Today, everyone is mobile. If you look at when Facebook did their IPO, most of all the traffic on Facebook was through computers, desktop. Today, 80% of all the traffic on Facebook is mobile. I.e. phones and tablets. That’s where the market is today and that’s what pushed us towards that direction”.
  6. On the new features to be added to Kourts: Now, let’s say you, Julien, you come to Los Angeles and you’re going to spend three days here and you’re looking for an instructor. Well now, through the Kourts app, what you’ll be able to do is whoever is on the Kourts platform as an instructor, you’ll be able to say, “I’m looking for an instructor. I am in Santa Monica,” and now what the app will do is will show you all the available instructors in Santa Monica at the specific time that you’re looking for (..) The other thing that we’re adding as well, which I think is almost as important as that is player matching. There’s a lot of player matching apps out there, which work great, but the issue they have is they have very little content.  (..) As I said, almost 100 thousand players. It’s very likely now that depending where you go, if you use the Kourts app, and if we have player matching, you’d be able to find a player”.
  7. On how those new features could impact instructors: “It’s going to create more revenue for instructors, it gives them more exposure, and now once we really start marketing the app, it allow players to not have to worry about getting an instructor, getting a court wherever they travel. That’s one thing that we’re adding that’s extremely important”.
  8. How Kourts could potentially mine the data it is collecting to unlock new revenue opportunities and work with brands: “Well, we could. We’re not so much in that business, but what the data helps us with obviously is we can now tell you the average occupancy rate of tennis clubs per ZIP code, per state, per city, per country soon, but what we can soon do as well, thanks to our point of sale, we can tell you which brand is the most sold at a tennis club because a point of sale has an inventory so you would know if they sell Coca-Cola, if they sell rackets, if the sell stringing, whatever they process through our point of sale.
  9. How the kind of targeted ads that could be placed inside Kourts app down the road: “Now, in our case, because we know the habits of our players, it is so easy for us to go and say, “Yup. Well, let’s put a banner on all the men adults that play on clay only.” Now, for you, that ad is obviously interesting because it’s relevant just for the sheer fact that you’re an adult male and you play on clay, so when there’s a new pair of shoes that come out, you want to hear about it, but I want to pollute you when that brand comes out with a new pair of tennis shoes for women for hard court because you have no interest in that (..) Again, obviously for us what’s important, we don’t want to pollute our app here. We have many ways of getting revenues. Of course, it’s something that we think of, but we’ll see further down the road”.
  10. How their future international plans: “We’ve been approached by many federations of many countries and it’s like feeling someone’s giving you a tap on the shoulder when someone like those big federations come to you and they ask about your technology, but I think you need to walk before you run and one of the important points here is we have a very big focus on our customer care (..) That’s why, until today, it’s my role obviously I’ve decided that we need to hold back for as long as we can and continue building our product so that once we’re pretty big in the current market in which we are, it’s so much easier to go abroad”.
  11. On the size of the US tennis market, which is the largest market for tennis today: Now, the estimation is that in America, where there’s approximately 18 million tennis players across America. Last year in 2017, about 9.6 million players played on average 39 times last year. That gives you a bit of size of the market in America. What we’ve realized is that the US market represents approximately one fifth of the sales of racket manufacturers. If you just do simple math, that means there’s approximately 100 million tennis players across the world”.
  12. How AI has become so powerful that it can even predict the players’s next plays: “The other thing that it brings as well is if you were to look at every single match that Roger Federer played against Rafael Nadal just to take them as an example, you could almost predict what each player is about to do on the next shot. That’s all thanks to AI. I think that AI can help you to a certain extent. It won’t allow you to beat Rafael or Roger, I have to warn you, but it definitely will help you understand what’s about to happen”.
  13. On their future plans: Obviously, what we’re going to do in the next two years is we’re raising more money right now where we should’ve been pretty successful (..) and we’re going to add more features (..) As I explained, I think one of the important features that will grow in the next couple of years will be player matching.(..)We’re going to go into other countries. A lot of people are asking us about other sports. What we’re going to do is we’re going to branch out into other racket sports, which is the exact same logic as tennis. (..) We’ll be promoting the app within the tennis player community and that’s something that we’re looking forward to”.
⚽️ Real Madrid Back on Top as World’s Most Valuable Soccer Team

⚽️ Real Madrid Back on Top as World’s Most Valuable Soccer Team

Dear Friends and Members,

Last Friday, we published our eSports analysis: Hype Vs Reality, in which we where we discussed the segments, key players, and best practices for pro teams and leagues to successfully enter the eSports space. To access this analysis be sure to sign up for our premium subscription by clicking the “subscribe now” button below.

Looking for access all of our previously published analysis, insights, data, podcast interviews, and more? Subscribe now to unlock access!

On Wednesday, we will publish our other podcast interview with Walid Fattah, the CEO of Kourts, a leading tech startup in the world of tennis. On Thursday, we’ll also publish our podcast interview with Brendan Donohue, Managing Director of the NBA 2K League. On Friday premium members will also be able to get access to our Tennis Tech analysis, where we will discuss the key segments, players, and trends.

📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

👓 Oculus Quest sold out across multiple retailers

👓 Meta View acquires assets of AR pioneer Meta

📈 Weekly Sports Startup Case Study & ROI: Kinduct & LA Dodgers (MLB)

⌚️Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 is already in development

🔊 Triton 2 will coach you to become a better swimmer with AI

🎮 Rick Fox to remain with Echo Fox in fight to oust investor

💸 Puma, Cloud9 plan full retail play under multiyear extension

🎮 Re-emerging from the Shadows: McLaren Shadow Project season 2 launches

🏈 Robert Kraft urges public “not to be afraid and stand up” against anti-semitism

💸 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 Sports News

👓 Oculus Quest sold out across multiple retailers| Via: Variety

Facebook’s new Oculus Quest virtual reality (VR) headset seems to be a hit with early adopters, causing inventory shortages at a number of retailers. A week after its official launch, the headset was sold out at Amazon, Walmart and Newegg Tuesday.

A Facebook spokesperson acknowledged the inventory issues in a statement sent to Variety: “We’re so glad to see the excitement and interest in Oculus Quest. While some of our retail partners are temporarily out of stock online, we’re working to restore availability in all channels as soon as possible. That said, people can still buy Quest from Oculus.com and from many stores around the world.”

Newegg listed both versions of the Quest (64GB and 128GB) as out of stock Tuesday. Amazon listed the 64GB version as “temporarily unavailable,” but promised to ship the 128GB version within 1-2 months. Walmart listed both models as unavailable for online orders or in-store pic.

⬆️ The Upside: This should not as a surprise to see the Oculus Quest being sold out at various locations. The price ($400) and specs are very attractive. It is also great news for the VR industry as a whole. It shows that there is a demand for VR headsets that are affordable and have great features. We expect competitors to follow suit.

Picture: Facebook

👓 Meta View acquires assets of AR pioneer Meta | Venturebeat

New spatial computing company Meta View today announced it has acquired the assets of Meta, a pioneer in augmented reality head-mounted displays.

Meta, which shut down earlier this year, captured global recognition for its Meta 2 headset and wide field-of-view (FOV) display system that gave users an immersive view of digital content on the physical world.

Former Qualcomm executive and Vuforia president Jay Wright will take the reins as CEO, bringing fresh focus and experienced leadership as he charts the new company’s course. San Mateo, California-based Meta View is a wholly new and unaffiliated entity, backed by Olive Tree Ventures and BNSG Capital. The company acquired the intellectual property assets of Meta Company from its lender.

“The potential for spatial computing is intoxicating,” Wright said in a statement. “It has fostered a highly competitive and dynamic landscape that I’ve traversed for more than a decade. This experience and insight have equipped me to identify a different approach, and I couldn’t be more excited to build a new company, a new product, and a world-class team to drive it forward.”

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is great news for Meta. The company’s new CEO brings a lot of knowledge and experience in the AR enterprise space. They also appeared to have identified a specific AR industrial use case which is a good move. That being said, like for any AR enterprise startups, we believe that effectively competing with companies Microsoft Hololens or magic Leap will be a challenge for Meta.

Photo: Meta’s original AR enterprise glasses

📈 Our weekly Sports Tech Case Study / ROI

Each week we’ll highlight a sports tech case study with a technology that helped sports teams get a solid ROI (injury reduction, ticket sales improvement, cost savings, diversity improvement, etc.).

So what’s our weekly sports tech case study?

The LA Dodgers were looking for a system to integrate all the teams within their organization together onto one organized platform. The implementation goal was to have 8 teams from the MLB down to the Dominican League using the system. Allowing the sharing of information and enhancement of communication within each team from the medical staff, athletic therapists and the strength and conditioning staff was another use case requirement. With many players being moved within the minor league teams the system was quickly able to bring the strength coaches up to speed on the current training status of the player.

Solution and Benefits: Kinduct’s system gives the Dodgers ability to provide and share information throughout the entire organization from top management, down to current roster players. Brandon McDaniel was able to sit down with one of Kinduct’s Client Success Managers, to figure out a solution as to how the AMS platform was going to work the most efficient for the baseball club. With the Dodgers swinging at full force, here were some benefits they gained from Kinduct.

  • Communication with the Dodgers internal database to create reports linking performance baseball data from the games to workload metrics from practice and the weight room.
  • Integration of MLBAM Statcast information to look at pitching, hitting and fielding values.
  • Tracking muscle soreness from the players to identify potential scenarios of excess volume or maladaptation to training stimulus.
  • Establishing a consistent medical screening/performance testing database to evaluate year to year performance of player while allowing the comparison of players to track the development of upcoming prospects.
  • Providing recommended meal plans and nutritional menus for players in the offseason.

Picture: Kinduct

⬆️ The Upside: We believe that companies like Kinduct have built great platform capable of helping coaches prevent potential injuries by leveraging the myriad of wearables out there. Kinduct also helps sports organizations be more efficient. It is also worth point out that Kinduct has done a great job building its business in North America, but we believe that her solutions could appeal to many pro teams and academies in Europe.

🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚️Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 is already in development | Via: Wearable

Samsung is reportedly already working on the next Galaxy Watch smartwatch, with details suggesting the next generation watch will get some 5G love.

The usually reliable folks at Sammobile claim to have the first evidence from sources, offering model numbers that are tied to the new smartwatches. That’s SM-R820 and SM-R830 for the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth versions, and SM-R825 and SM-R835 for the LTE versions. So, it looks like there will be two versions, just like the first Galaxy Watch.

There may well be a Galaxy Watch 5G option, too, with SM-R827 and SM-R837 model numbers speculated to be linked to what could be Samsung’s first 5G-ready smartwatch.

There are no details on what the new watches will look like, or whether they’ll come in the same 42mm and 46mm sizes as the current models. We do appear to know the color options, though, with the watches said to come in black, silver and gold and with more colors possibly available closer to launch.

The only other bit of information shared is that it will feature 4GB of internal storage, which would mean it matches what pretty much every Samsung smartwatch has offered in the storage department.

⬆️ The Upside: This should not come as a surprise to see the Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 likely to be embedded with 5G. However, if true it will be interesting to see what will be the impact on the battery life and the price of the smartwatch.

Picture: Samsung

🔊 Triton 2 will coach you to become a better swimmer with AI | Via: Wearable

Canadian startup TritonWear is ready to upgrade the swimming wearable it launched back in 2015 in the form of the Triton 2.

Like the first version, the device is still worn underneath your swimming cap or clipped to your goggles analyses your stroke based on the movement of your head. It can monitor key swim metrics like push-offs, turns, breathing events, dolphin kicks underwater, breakouts and more.

That data is sent wirelessly to a secondary, poolside unit called the Triton Connect. This then sends the data over Bluetooth to the coach or swimmer’s tablet, where it’s presented in real-time as graphs rather than as a stack of numbers to trawl through. others, the documents show.

If you fancy giving Triton 2 a try, you can pre-order it now from TritonWear’s website setting you back $149 per year for one unit. If you want to add motion analysis to better analyse swim technique, that adds on an extra $39 onto that yearly total.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a great tracker for swimmers. $149 is a reasonable price for this type of tracker. That being said there are other trackers for swimmers out there such as Swimmo, the Moov Now, the Apple Watch 4, the Samsung Galaxy Watch, the Fitbit Versa also have some swimming tracking capabilities.

🎮 eSports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 Rick Fox to remain with Echo Fox in fight to oust investor | Via: eSports Observer

Last week former NBA star and top esPorts investor NBA Rick Fox said that he will stay with Echo Fox amidst a fight to remove a shareholder who used racist comments towards him.Fox previously said that he planned to depart the team following the comments and threats to his family. In mid-May, Riot Games directed Echo Fox to remove the investor within 60 days or face potential consequences in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS).

“My initial exploratory decision of leaving the organization I started—because I personally cannot support or be a part of something where there’s an individual in the organization that is blatantly as racist as this person is, or that is also threatening my family. I don’t want to be a part of that,” said Fox on The GG Podcast. “I’ve decided over the last few months to change that approach of leaving.”

“For me, I think it’s important not only when there’s injustice in society, that we not only point to it, that we not only expose it, that we not only put a light on it, that we don’t stand for it,” he continued. “But at times, if you don’t pick up the fight yourself, there’s a chance that that situation or that individual may go on to hurt others—may go on to continue to think that it’s OK to conduct themselves that way. And so I made the decision that I’m going to fight to get this person out of Echo Fox, to get our company in a situation where it moves forward.”

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a good move by Rick Fox as he is a key player in the eSports industry. We believe that Rick Fox has been one of the reasons why many athletes and celebrities has invested and been involved in the world of eSports. It is also important that Rick Fox stands for what what he believes in.

Photo: Riot Games

💸 Puma, Cloud9 plan full retail play under multiyear extension | Via: eSports Obverver

Puma has signed an expanded sponsorship with Cloud9 esports, locking in a multiyear deal to develop a full apparel collection, and claim the apparel/footwear category for the entire organization except for its Overwatch League franchise.

Precise terms were not disclosed, but the parties said it is an “eight-figure” deal. The prior Puma-Cloud9 deal, announced in January, only covered the League Championship Series  (LCS) League of Legends team for the spring season. 

Cloud9 lifestyle apparel will be available by September on Puma and Cloud9’s websites to start, and in the Puma flagship store in New York. The goal, said Puma team head/digital marketing & gaming Matt Shaw, is to have the Cloud9 line across Puma’s global retail channels by early summer of 2020.

“This is a big step in a new direction and one we’re really excited to take,” Shaw said.

Puma will also be developing custom products for Cloud9 team members to be worn “off stream and on stream,” Shaw said. The deal is limited by Riot Games’  league-level apparel deal with We Are Nations, which produces and sells LCS jerseys that include a Puma logo, and by the Overwatch League’s league-level apparel deal with Fanatics, which blocks Cloud9’s London Spitfire  team brand from Puma. The Puma logo also appears on a generic Cloud9 jersey. Under this deal, Puma will make all Cloud9 kits other than LCS.

⬆️ The Upside: We think that this deal makes a lot of sense. Puma can leverage the growing popularity of eSports and Cloud9’s solid brand in the eSports world. For Cloud9, it is a good deal financially speaking, and they can leverage Puma’s solid brand recognition globally, as well as its expertise in sports apparel products.

Picture: Cloud9/Puma

🎮 Re-emerging from the Shadows: McLaren Shadow Project season 2 launches

Last week, McLaren announced the season 2 launch of the McLaren Shadow Project, the most inclusive and diverse esports racing competition on the planet, which attracted more than half a million competitors in 2018. The competition format, which will span multiple games and platforms, continues McLaren’s search for the brightest and best racing talent in esports.

From early July, gamers around the world will be able to enter qualifiers via mobile, PC, and console on the respective titles – Real Racing 3, rfactor 2 and Forza Motorsport 7 – as well as via multiple rounds of the Logitech G Challenge around the world to be in with a chance to be crowned the 2019 McLaren Shadow Project Champion. The prize offers winners once in a lifetime experiences and prizes including a seat on the McLaren Shadow esports team and access to the McLaren DNA driver development programme. In addition to going racing with McLaren, the champion will have a custom sim-racing set up installed in their home with help from McLaren Shadow Project partners, Logitech G and Alienware.

Alongside the online qualifiers, motorsport fans and racing gamers will have more opportunities to engage with McLaren Shadow Project in key markets across the world. Physical qualifiers will also be taking place later in the year with details to follow soon.

Winners from each qualifier will be invited to the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking UK in early December for the grand finals. As well as game play, finalists will be put through their paces in a programme that truly shadows McLaren’s real world. They will be put through the same tests an F1 driver faces by the Human Performance division of McLaren Applied Technologies, and even get out onto a real-world track behind the wheel of a McLaren Automotive supercar.

In January 2019 20-year old Brazilian Igor Fraga won the McLaren Shadow Project. Igor has over 16 years of racing experience, competing in more than 200 races across multiple platforms and spanning four continents in his trailblazing career. His journey has taken him from karting through Formula 3 to esports and sim racing, with an unrelenting ambition to one day reach Formula 1. He is currently racing in the all new European F3 Regional Championship.

Alongside searching the elite end of the talent pool, this year’s programme is also focused on engaging a broader, more diverse audience with the fun of racing gaming – with new initiatives including a monthly magazine show, keep an eye on mclaren.com/esports over the summer as these initiatives are announced.

Ben Payne, Head of esports at McLaren commented:

“We’ve said before that the transference of skills between virtual and real racing are both direct and profound. Seeing both Igor and Enzo racing single seaters is incredibly exciting, and we couldn’t be more excited to launch the second season of the McLaren Shadow Project.

“Following the success of last year’s competition, we’ve been working hard off-season with our best-in class technology and gaming partners including Logitech G, Alienware, Sparco and Huami to deliver a format and prize that excites and engages gamers and fans around the world. We are looking forward to the qualifiers kicking-off soon and seeing who we get through the qualifiers to join us at finals in December.”

⬆️ The Upside: We think that this is a great move by McLaren (F1) which has become a key player in the eSports space. McLaren is a great example of how a sports organization can successfully enter the eSports market. You can listen to our podcast interview with Ben Payne, the head of esports at McLaren here.

🙌🏻 Social Impact Sports Tech News

🏈 Robert Kraft urges public “not to be afraid and stand up” against anti-semitism | Via: CNN

Robert Kraft has warned that failure to tackle anti-Semitism will open the door for other forms of racism and discrimination to flourish with the help of social media.

Kraft, owner of NFL franchise New England Patriots, stepped up his fight against anti-Semitism two weeks ago after his Major League soccer side New England Revolution team hosted Premier League Chelsea in a game that raised over $4 million for groups fighting against hate.

The match, which drew an attendance of around 25,000 at Gillette Stadium two weeks ago and was also attended by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, comes at a time where anti-Semitic incidents in the US have remained near historical levels in 2018 after surging the previous year, according to an annual report from the Anti-Defamation League.

“I think it’s unfortunate in today’s world that we still have this hatred,” Kraft told CNN Sport when asked about the rise in anti-Semitism and the deadly attacks on synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, California.

“I think part of it is the growth of social media and the lack of discipline or being able to control people who are out of control in that area and can just say anything and it becomes fact.

“I believe humankind basically wants to do the right thing and that’s what we have to do, to appeal to, and not be afraid to stand up. It’s anti-Semitism today but that just opens the door to everything and so that’s where we’re at.”

The decision by Kraft and Chelsea to hold a charity match came in the aftermath of last October’s attack in Pittsburgh.

“When we saw this event happen in Pittsburgh we mutually wanted to do something to show our respect and concern and so it was really magnanimous of him (Abramovich) to bring his team here, especially when they are still competing for the Europa League and fly over here for seven hours,” Kraft, who watched the game alongside Abramovich at Gillette Stadium, told CNN.

“They’ve visited schools, been to the Holocaust memorial in Boston, they were all at my home last night, both teams for a program. A lot of people talk about things but Chelsea actually does it and stands behind it.

“Chelsea has been a great role model and show great leadership and a great partner. We are honored to do this. I think it has turned out pretty well.”

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a great move and a great initiative by both Robert Kraft and Chelsea FC. Anti-semitic incidents are a real problem. In fact, according to this year’s figures from the ADL, which tracks such incidents across the United States, 2018 was the third-highest year on record for assault, harassment and vandalism against Jews since the audit was begun in 1979. There were a total of 1,879 attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions across the country, according to the report.These numbers are down slightly from the 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents in 2017, the ADL said.

💸 Sports Investment Trends — June, 2019

  • Meta View acquires assets of AR pioneer Meta. Read on here.

📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

$4.24B: Real Madrid is back on top of the rankings with an estimated valuation north of $4.2B, and is now the world’s most valuable soccer team in the world, according to Forbes. Barcelona ranked second ($4B), followed by Manchester United ($3.8B), Bayern Munich ($3B), and Manchester City ($2.69B).

$1.75B: The 20 most valuable soccer teams are worth an average of $1.75B, 3.4% more than last year.

$499M: The average revenue for the 20 most valuable teams during the 2017-2018 season was $499M.

14.7M: According to Bob Hardt, about 14.7M people went to Broadway shows last season. That’s five million more people than went to Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Islanders, Giants and Jets games combined.

26.8k: Major League Baseball’s overall average attendance of 26,854 is 1.4% below the 27,242 through a similar point last season, according to the AP.

71%: The winner of Game 1 of the NBA Finals has gone on to win the NBA Finals 71% of the time.

25.8%: The Apple Watch is helping the company rule the wearable roost in 2019, according to the latest report from analytics firm IDC. In 1Q19, Apple captured 25.8% (12.8M units shipped) of the wearable space, followed by Xiaomi (13.3% or 6.6M units shipped).

-14%: TV Viewership for the NBA playoffs down -14% heading into the NBA finals. Across 76 telecasts on ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV, this year’s playoffs are averaging 3.95M viewers, compared to 4.61M viewers over 78 games through the same point last year.

6: Liverpool FC, after beating Tottenham FC in the champions league final this weekend, has now won 6 Champions Leagues finals.

📸 The Upside: Snapshots of The Week

FinTech company SoFi is reportedly set to put their name on the new home of the Rams and Chargers in Los Angeles. According to Don Muret of VenuesNow, the deal, which has not been officialize yet, is worth $400M+ over the course of 20 years.

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