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Inside Track

A Comcast SportsTech Success Story

If you joined us live and in person at one of our recent happy hour events, we were delighted to see you. There is something magical about *finally* meeting after the last few years.

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We hope to do more of these events in the future and look forward to chatting about the future of sports tech with you then!

At the moment, we’re looking through the incredible applications we have received for our third iteration of the Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator Program. It never gets old learning about your companies and products as we work to narrow down a list of the best and brightest startups. So, stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks!

Alums in the News

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Betting App Latest Success Story from Comcast SportsTech Accelerator Program | Via: Sports Business Journal 

We felt like we hit the jackpot when we saw MoneyLine (SportsTech Class of 2022) featured in this profile about their latest seed round – $2 million – and securing an investor in one of the best running backs in the NFL, Los Angeles Chargers Austin Ekeler. The excitement for both MoneyLine and our team comes at a great time as we’re days away from the opening of the NFL season. “We are expecting to have a pretty big VC in here rather quickly,” said MoneyLine co-founder and CEO Cole Warner. “The more capital we have in the door just means the faster we can go after growth and marketing and customer acquisition.”

LetzChat Providing Subtitles for Big Time Sporting Events | Via: LetzChat Twitter

A few years ago, language translation startup LetzChat learned that there was a big need for its services in the sports world. It can take hours, if not days, for a human to translate a given contest’s closed captioned subtitles, depending on the language—and by that point, most fans no longer care about the game in question. But LetzChat’s technology translates subtitles in 104 languages within minutes after the final whistle.

Atlanta Falcons Roddy White Invests in MoneyLine | Via: Thefalcoholic 

We already mentioned earlier how proud we were of our own MoneyLine, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that another well-known NFL’er has joined as an investor. White highlights how the app is designed to go beyond pure sports wagering to a point where you can simply follow players, plays, and action as it happens. “You don’t have to know what +20 is or what -140 is to try to do all those things,” Roddy said. “Whatever team you love — if you love Zeke Elliott, you can bet on him if you want to. If you love Austin Ekeler, who’s going to be an investor in MoneyLine, then you could bet with Austin Ekeler. So it makes it easier for the casual fan. Folks out there love wide receivers like Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase; if they want to go against each other and want to bet and parlay that, they can do that through the site. It’s just a platform that you can come in and just have a lot of fun with at first before you actually attempt to even bet money on it.”

Partners in the News 

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Tiger, McIlroy offer Glimpse of Golf’s Future | Via: Front Office Sports 

Two of golf’s brightest stars are teaming up in an effort to bring the world’s top competitors to an entirely new venue: professional stadiums. Woods and McIlroy presented the proposal to a players-only meeting on August 16. If it launched, the event showcase would happen in 2024 and be “technology-forward” and played on non-green-grass stadium environments in front of a live audience.

See NASCAR As You’ve Never Seen it Before | Via: NASCAR Twitter

On the heels of other successful documentary series programming, NASCAR is debuting its own docuseries, “Race for the Championship,” which premieres on Sept. 1, 2022. The idea is to put viewers in the driver’s seat and contextualize the reality of racing and their life on and off the track. The 10-episode series is executive produced by NASCAR Hall of Famer and NBC analyst, Dale Earnhardt Jr. “I have such a passion and love for the sport that I feel like this type of content is something that our fans are starving for,” Earnhardt Jr. told Variety. “It’s always a lot of fun to work on a project that is unique and about something you’re passionate about. So that makes it easy to want to dive in, give input and get feedback — and be a part of the process.”

NASCAR Technical Institute Celebrates 10th Anniversary | Via: Spectrum News 

There’s a lot involved with competing in NASCAR events. The personnel who assist the racing team in the pit crew represent skilled trades that are in demand more than ever. The NASCAR Technical Institute has been preparing students for careers not only in racing, but in welding, trades, and computerized machining. The campus just celebrated its 20th anniversary and has graduated 14,000. Instructor Scott Kazura said he was a member of NASCAR Tech’s first graduating class. Coming back to teach is a full-circle moment, and he is proud to be a part of the school’s history. “It got me my foot in the door in racing when I graduated in 2003, then it’s been great coming back here now. Being able to pass my knowledge on to the next group of students coming through and the next wave of students getting into the sport,” Kazura said.

Sports Tech Stories We’re Reading 

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Minnesota Twins Bring Shared Augmented Reality to Target Field | Via: Stagwell

On August 22, the Minnesota Twins announced the public launch of ARound, a first-of-its-kind stadium-level shared augmented reality (AR) platform, at Target Field in Minneapolis. This first-ever experience in a live sports setting keeps audiences engaged by capturing their attention during game downtime through immersive, interactive, and shared experiences with fellow fans across the venue.

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Big Ten Lands Historic Media Deal | Via: NBC Sports Group Press Box

It’s been less than two months since the Big Ten announced USC and UCLA were joining the Big Ten. Now, the conference has landed the largest media rights agreement in college athletics history. NBCUniversal and the Big Ten Conference will embark on a 7-year agreement for NBC and Peacock to become the exclusive home of Big Ten Saturday Night football, beginning in 2023. Peacock will also serve as the exclusive home for eight additional Big Ten Football games each season. Big Ten Saturday Night will mark the first time ever that Big Ten Football will have a dedicated weekly primetime game on a national broadcast network. NBC Sports will present the 2026 Big Ten Football Championship Game on NBC and Peacock.

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One State’s Love of Pickleball | Via: Axios

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has a special love of Pickleball. Not only was it invented in his state, but it was born in his hometown, Bainbridge Island. Today, that town is a magnet for pickleballers. People worldwide travel to see the court where it all began back in 1965 from inventor Joel Pritchard. Today, the sport is one of the most popular in America. In our latest story on Inside Track, you can read more about the epic rise of Pickleball.

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23-year-old Wisconsin Man Buys Golf Course to Attract Younger Generation | Via: Wisconsin Public Radio

Usually, when you graduate college, the plan is to head off into the world of work with full-time jobs. For Tyler Luedtke, his career is starting off with a blast off the tee–at his very own golf course. He purchased the Sir Lanserlot Golf Course in Sheboygan and hopes to rename and rebrand the course to attract younger golfers and those of all skill levels. “Growing up and playing golf, I was always intimidated by some of the nice, expensive courses — the areas that really good golfers are attracted to,” he said. “Our goal and one of our driving factors are to try to make the course appealing for people of all skill levels.”

Dallas Cowboys Become First NFL Team Worth $8 Billion | Via: Forbes

For fourteen consecutive years, the Dallas Cowboys have been tops in the NFL in terms of their team’s overall value. They cracked $8 billion this year, a 23% jump from last year. The Cowboys are also the first NFL franchise to net over $1 billion in revenue. They got there with some innovative sponsorships, including a 10-year, $200 million deal with Molson Coors. Last year, they saw $220 million in stadium advertising and sponsorship revenue–double that of any other NFL team.

Photo of the Month

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Every college basketball season, a handful of players rise to prominence and climb the pecking order of NBA draft lists. But, there’s something pleasant and refreshing about the consistency of Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, who celebrated her 103rd birthday at Loyola University in mid-August. Sister Jean has worked as the Loyola Ramblers team chaplain since 1994 and rocketed to fame when the men’s college hoops team made a run to the Final Four in 2018–their first appearance since 1963. Her birthday saw appearances from Chicago politicians, the Illinois governor, and university faculty who dedicated a plaza outside the school with her name.

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