Premium content on football analytics site Football Outsiders will be sponsored by fantasy sports app Underdog Fantasy. Underdog, which raised $10 million in a 2021 fundraising round that included Mark Cuban, Kevin Durant and Jared Goff, will be Football Outsiders’ first-ever fantasy presenting sponsor. 
Underdog Fantasy’s sponsorship of Football Outsiders’ premium content will include offseason analysis of NFL prospects, weekly editorials and podcasts. Underdog will also sponsor the FO 40 and Fantasy 40, two boards of pre-draft prospects that will be constantly updated based on their fit with prospective teams and projected fantasy impact. 
Underdog Fantasy’s users will also gain access to Football Outsiders’ fantasy analysis content to inform decisions on Undergod’s pick ‘em and fantasy games.
Amazon Web Services has helped develop new advanced metrics with two of its league partners this week with the NHL’s launch of its new Face-Off Probability stat, as well as Bundesliga’s new insights into a team’s Set Piece Threat and players’ Skill in four areas. 
The NHL face-off metric is calculated live prior to each draw. It relies on data from the league’s puck and player tracking system, NHL Edge, as well as the past decade of historical face-off data. The analysis depends on dozens of inputs, including ice location, player matchups, game situation and tracking data. 
In previously released batches of Bundesliga Match Facts, AWS helped calculate such metrics as shot efficiency, passing profile and expected goals. Set Piece Threat determines a team’s chance of scoring on a corner or free kick, compared to the league average, and also evaluates the quality of the chance. The four new Skill categories are Finisher, Sprinter, Initiator and Ball Winner. 
In recent years, AWS has landed a series of partnerships with major sports leagues: the NFL, Bundesliga, NHL, PGA Tour, NASCAR and Formula 1. It previously was MLB’s Statcast partner before the league switched to Google Cloud. The NBA uses Microsoft Azure. 
The Utah Jazz will release NFTs in partnership with CoinZoom, a Salt Lake City-based cryptocurrency trading app. QR codes are being placed on each seat at Vivint Arena for fans to scan with their phones to access the latest Jazz NFTs.
Jazz tokens will be available exclusively through the NFT Marketplace within CoinZoom’s app. Fans can buy NFTs on CoinZoom through payment options that include credit cards, wire transfers, ACH, direct deposits and more than 40 cryptocurrencies. Users store their NFTs in their digital wallet in CoinZoom’s app.
CoinZoom will also sponsor crypto giveaways and trivia contests for the Jazz, as well as receive branding in the team’s arena, app, radio broadcasts, social channels and merchandise. The Jazz plan to use CoinZoom, which is available to customers in 194 countries, to offer digital collectibles to fans around the world. 
Interactive at-home climbing machine CLMBR has announced a partnership with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, which consists of eight HBCU member schools. Each MEAC school will receive a CLMBR connected machine to help their D-1 athletes train.
CLMBR’s machine stands over seven feet tall and has a touch screen to stream workouts. Investors in CLMBR include NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, tennis star Novak Djokovic and Jay-Z.  The company’s donations will allow MEAC schools to redirect athletics department funds from fitness equipment to other program needs. 
MEAC men’s basketball teams from Howard University and Morgan State University recently played in an HBCU Classic game during NBA All-Star Weekend. The conference joins UFC as leagues to have deals with CLMBR as a deal announced in December saw CLMBR machines added to the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas.
Sports technology-focused venture capital firm SeventySix Capital has led a $3 million seed funding round raised by sneaker rental company KYX World. Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan and Buffalo Bills wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders also invested in round.
KYX World now values itself at $16 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company buys sneakers from other secondary markets and employs authenticators and cleaners to ensure the shoes are delivered in “near new” condition. Brands such as Nike, New Balance and Yeezys are available on KYX.
Subscriptions to KYX range from $59 to $299 per month, with members able to rent or buy a limited number of sneakers per month based on their subscription tier. The company will aim to serve as an alternative to existing sneaker resellers such as StockX, which was founded by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.
KYX currently takes orders through its website and plans to use its new funding to launch a mobile app. SeventySix Capital has previously invested in companies such as augmented reality developer Quintar, sports camera company C360 and basketball shooting analytics company ShotTracker
Sports apparel company Vintage Brand has partnered with NIL-compliant marketplace MOGL to launch a new merchandise shop for college athletes. The online marketplace on MOGL will let athletes leverage their NIL rights to sell their own branded merchandise and earn income.
Vintage Brand will provide its printing, e-commerce, customer service and fulfillment services to help student athletes create their own apparel and merchandise products. Former Notre Dame baseball player Chad Hartvigson is the co-founder of Vintage Brand. Fellow Notre Dame alumni Brandon Wimbush, who played quarterback for the Fighting Irish, is the founder of MOGL.
“We said everyone else would be targeting the top 2% of athletes that have professional careers, but we want to benefit and provide value and opportunities to those other athletes who still provide value at that local level,” Wimbush told SportTechie in March regarding MOGL’s target market.
Turner Sports, through parent company WarnerMedia, has secured eight years of U.S. Soccer broadcast rights that include the first live sporting events to be streamed on HBO Max. Sports Business Journal reported the agreement, which begins in 2023 and will be worth $25-27 million per year. 
The US men’s and women’s national teams will collectively play more than 20 matches annually, inclusive of World Cup qualifiers and the women’s SheBelieves Cup. Premium subscription service HBO Max will stream all of them with a linear television simulcast on TBS and TNT for about 10 each year. 
The remaining 10 will be exclusive to HBO Max, which was announced as part of Turner’s NHL rights agreement, although it has not aired any games yet. Bleacher Report receives rights to share digital highlights in the US Soccer deal. 
Elite soccer is a proven market for premium streaming services in the US, with NBC’s Peacock carrying most English Premier League matches; Disney’s ESPN+ broadcasting La Liga and out-of-market MLS; and CBS’s Paramount+ airing Serie A. 
The NHL is suspending its relationships with business partners in Russia due to the country’s invasion of the Ukraine, the league announced Monday. The NHL’s Russian language social and digital media sites have also been paused.
Suspended deals include the NHL’s link with Moscow-based gambling company Liga Stavok, which signed a three-year deal in November to become the league’s first exclusive sports betting parter in Russia. NHL games will also stop streaming on Yandex, the Russian internet giant that first partnered with the league in 2019 and, in January, announced a two-year renewal that included a 24-hour NHL channel launched on Yandex’s streaming platform. 
The NHL’s announcement came shortly after the International Ice Hockey Federation placed an indefinite ban on teams from Russia and Belarus competing in its competitions.
Tennis star Naomi Osaka has partnered with Epic Games to incorporate the four-time Grand-Slam event winner into their franchise title Fortnite through the game’s Icon Series. Osaka’s cosmetics in the game include two unique outfits, as well as pickaxes, gliders and a tennis-themed emote. 
Epic Games launched the Icon Series in 2020 to include celebrities in gaming, music, film, fashion and sports in Fortnite, incorporating outfits and characters based on each icon. Other Icon Series athletes have included LeBron James, Harry Kane, and Neymar Jr.
In addition to in-game purchases of unique Osaka-themed player outfits and gear, Fortnite will hold the Naomi Osaka Cup on March. 2. The Cup will allow players to compete in an in-game tournament to win points which can be redeemed for Osaka outfits and gear. 
Fortnite has emerged as an avenue for sports brand sponsorships with Epic, who has recently signed deals with the NBA, NFL and 23 global soccer clubs to incorporate themes from each league and their respective teams into the game.
Catapult, a provider of wearables and video analysis for elite sports teams, has integrated its tools into one platform for soccer and rugby teams. Expanded rollout into football, basketball and ice hockey is expected within the next 12 months. 
Developed in collaboration with MLS club Nashville SC’s performance team, Catapult has combined its Vector performance data solution with its MatchTracker video analyzer. Previously, users of both technologies had to review them separately and cross-reference the results, but now they automatically are synced for increased efficiency and contextualized insights. Nashville SC was also the primary beta tester. 
Vector is the latest iteration of Catapult’s signature wearable, replacing the OptimEyes series with a device that combines GPS and LPS capabilities. Catapult acquired SBG Sports Software for $40 million last June and, with it, the company’s MatchTracker tool. 
Catapult supplies more than 3,400 elite teams with its technology, including a majority of the English Premier League and MLS and the entirety of Bundesliga. 
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has named Amazon Web Services its new cloud provider to help develop fan experiences that span augmented reality, virtual reality and sports betting. MLSE owns the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, NBA’s Toronto Raptors, MLS club Toronto FC and the CFL’s Argonauts. 
AWS’s AI and machine learning software will analyze data from in-arena cameras, sensors in players’ jerseys and sensors in the puck or ball. Metrics such as how fast a player skated or situational shot percentages will be presented through each team’s mobile app or on mixed reality devices for a more immersive view.
“The technology we are developing could enable existing sportsbooks to provide new and enhanced experiences,” Christian Magsisi, VP of technology & digital at MLSE, said in an emailed statement to SportTechie. “Our partnership with AWS will work on enhancing fan experiences, and this will include areas such as: mixed reality and advanced analytics, that has an intersection with free-to-play gaming and sports betting in the future.”
AWS helped create the NHL’s shot and save metrics that debuted as on-screen graphics during broadcasts of last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. MLSE’s Digital Arena launched inside apps for the Raptors and Maple Leafs last year to let fans answer trivia questions and participate in virtual t-shirt tosses among other features—and will now run on AWS. The Maple Leafs’ 2020-2021 season was chronicled in a five-episode docuseries called All or Nothing on Amazon Prime Video. 


By faress

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