Inside Track

SportsTech Monthly Roundup 20: Thankful for New Partners WWE & PGA TOUR

As we return from Thanksgiving gatherings, we turn our attention to the future.

There’s no better place for that than CES, the most influential tech event in the world. From January 5th until the 8th, we’ll be hanging out at the coolest booth in Las Vegas, talking sports tech and connecting with startups, investors, and innovators.

If you’re going and would like to tech-tailgate with us, just let us know and we’ll make sure that you get you on the schedule (we’ll also update you on the cool stuff we’ll be doing).

Okay, now are you ready to catch up on what’s been going on in sports tech? Well, we’ve curated the meat and potatoes of November news with our partners and startups but we’ve also added in some delicious morsels of tech junk food as well.

🖥 Startup Showcase 🖥

We’ve spent the past few months highlighting the founders from our first class and learning what they’ve been up to since they completed our program. Check out two founder’s insights featured in these stories below:

“It’s almost like the accelerator never really stopped as far as I was concerned.” — Karlos Walkes, CEO, and Co-founder of XiQ

🔑 XiQ is the Key to Next-Gen Auto Tech

“The moment when we gained interest with three U.S. Olympic Teams really confirmed to us that this partnership with Comcast SportsTech was a great decision.” — Ashish Agrawal, Eon Media’s CEO and founder

📺 How Eon Media is Boosting Streaming for Broadcasters

👏 SportsTech Partners Announcement 👏

⛳️ SportsTech Welcomes PGA TOUR | Via: Golfweek 

The PGA TOUR is investing in the tech future of the game via a new partnership with Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech. The aim will be to find, fuel, and fast-track new tech to improve sports and how fans enjoy them. “Technology and innovation are incredibly important to the PGA TOUR,” said Lance Stover, PGA TOUR Senior Vice President, New Ventures. “Consider the challenges of showcasing over 140 players competing on 18 holes and hundreds of acres. By embracing emerging technologies like those uncovered through the Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator, we aim to deliver an unparalleled, fan-first experience whether you’re attending a tournament or watching on your favorite screen.”

🤼 WWE Brings SportsTech to Center Ring | Via: SportTechie 

Technology is at the center of everything WWE is working on, and the new relationship with SportsTech only seeks to solidify those efforts. “WWE has always adopted new technologies to allow us to provide our fans with the most compelling content across platforms,” said Rajan Mehta, Executive Vice President, Chief Product & Technology Officer at WWE. “Disruption is in our company’s DNA and considering SportsTech’s innovation categories from fan engagement to venue and event innovation, we’re extremely excited to invite these disruptive entrepreneurs into WWE and identify ways to enhance our fan experience and reach a new generation of consumers.”

👏 SportsTech Partners in the News 👏

🏆 The State of NASCAR | Via: NASCAR

“We are the most stable sport on television since 2018,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps announced at the state-of-the-sport event held in early November. Much of the speech highlighted the success of the sport and looked to the future, which appears very bright. “No other sport—none—can match what NASCAR has done from a stability standpoint with our ratings. If you consider our share numbers since 2019 in our Cup Series, it’s up 18 percent, which is hard to do at this point. It’s just hard. Then you look at our ratings for Xfinity and our Camping World Truck Series, they’re up double-digits. The share in both of those series is up 25 percent to 30 percent. We are having a moment as a sport. It’s important that we keep it going, which is exactly what we’re going to do.” Growth in attendance, fueled by imaginative scheduling, has paralleled the increase in television share.

📚 Sports Tech Stories We’re Reading 📚

⛳️ The Future of … Putt-Putt. Upscale. Tech-Infused | Via: Secret Chicago

It’s been a spectacle watching how tech has transformed golf in the last five years. Puttshack calls itself an “upscale, tech-infused mini golf experience” leveraging “Trackball” technology which tallies automated scoring (no more tiny pencils and scorecards!), bonus points, and different interactive gaming options at each hole.

This continues the trend of bringing the sport of golf closer to fans in innovative ways, including 

Tiger Woods golf concept, Popstroke, just broke ground in Orlando. It will feature two 18-hole courses designed by Woods in addition to a retail store, restaurant, and bars.

TopGolf has transformed sports stadiums across the country into driving ranges including stops at Fenway Park and Chase Field.

🎮 Record-Breaking Audience of OVER 4 MILLION Watch League of Legends Championships | Via: PC Gamer

Chinese team EDward Gaming (EDG) has claimed the Summoner’s Cup in the League of Legends World Championship 2021, beating out rivals DWG KIA for the organization’s first win at Worlds. EDG won the five-game series 3 to 2, with not even one of the games being anything but an evenly matched back-and-forth struggle. The match drew over 4 million viewers outside of China, with millions more likely to come once those figures are tallied.

📱31-Year-Old Earning $120,000 in TikTok Basketball Side Hustle | Via: CNBC

Jay Wey, a former professional basketball athlete in Taiwan, has found success parlaying his talents into the world of social media. The physical demands of the sport and the pay—he earned $2,000 to $3,000 as a rookie—led him to create content for 1.7 million followers on TikTok that have garnered him deals with Ford and eBay showing a new way for athletes to earn money in creative ways.

⛷ Mikaela Shiffrin, Queen of Killington, gets a fifth consecutive slalom win. | Via: U.S. Ski and Snowboard

In yet another exciting battle between Mikaela Shiffrin and Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, Shiffrin has once again been crowned the Queen of Killington, winning her fifth consecutive slalom race on home soil in Vermont. With her 71st World Cup victory and 46th World Cup slalom victory, Shiffrin has officially tied with the legendary Swede Ingemar Stenmark’s 32-year-old record for wins in a single discipline.

🦾 Niantic (creators of Pokemon Go) is focusing on creating a “real-world metaverse” | Via: Niantic

You’ve probably heard a lot about the “metaverse” lately. Many people have an interest in bringing this virtual reality to life. With that comes many questions about how emerging tech will impact our lives. So, what if the question became: How can technology make us better?

We hope you had a truly memorable Thanksgiving feast with family, friends, and sports. The coming winter months offer some exciting sports from our partners, and we cannot wait to follow them as we lead into the Winter Olympics.

— The SportsTech Team

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