SportsTech Monthly Roundup #4: Ramping Up and Dialing In
Dear SportsTech Community,
At this very moment, a number of professional sports leagues are in the process of ramping back up. What seemed almost impossible a few months ago, now brings a dash of hope back for both fans, players, and teams.
Even so, numerous challenges remain for leagues to compete safely. There’s no tried and true model, but for the few sports that are beginning to return to action, there’s plenty of things we can watch and learn from to see what is working and most importantly, how technology is helping fuel the comeback.
Before we dive into the biggest stories we’re reading at the convergence of sports + tech, we want to remind you of our exciting upcoming webinar about our accelerator:
🚨📹 Join Our Webinar To Get Answers About Our Accelerator
In the first episode of Sports Tech Nation (cool name, huh?), we’ll deep dive into how we built this amazing accelerator to pair startups with innovation initiatives and industry partners. If you’re looking to learn the ins and outs of what we’re doing, check it out and join Investment Manager, Jeffrey Donenfeld, and Portfolio Director, Jose Vietiez, for an informal discussion and dive deep into what our partners are looking for and what we’re excited to see in the future of sports technology. Get your questions answered about applying and the application process. Click here to register now.
Sports Tech Nation: Accelerator Application Q&A
Tuesday, July 28 at 5:00pm (EDT)
Moderator: Amy Wright
Speakers: Jeffrey Donenfeld, Jose Vieitez
🙌 Stories We’re Reading About in Sports
Comcast Fights Social, Racial Inequality With $100 Million | Via: Comcast
Comcast committed to a multiyear plan to allocate $100 million to fight injustice and inequality. That spend includes $75 million in cash and $25 million in media spend, distributed over the next three years. According to Comcast Chairman and CEO, Brian L. Roberts, “We know that Comcast alone can’t remedy this complex issue. But you have my commitment that our company will try to play an integral role in driving lasting reform. Together, we hope to help create a more equitable, just and inclusive society.”
🐅 This Next Doc Will Be A Roar | Via: GOLF
Tiger Woods just returned to the PGA tour with his season debut at Muirfield Village for The Memorial Tournament. The last time we saw him play was the nationally-televised charity match against Phil Mickelson back in May. On the heels of successful hit sports documentaries, Tiger has been selected for his own two-part docu-series which was acquired by HBO Sports. Interview subjects for this project will include Woods’ former caddie, Steve Williams, among a handful of golf pros and celebrities.
🀾 Dominoes Begin To Fall for College Athletics
Even as professional leagues begin to return or resume their sports, college leagues are scaling back. In the last few weeks, the complexion of fall sports in Division I college has drastically changed. The Ivy League canceled all their fall team sports. The Big Ten announced a “conference-only” format, eliminating nonconference games which impacts big-revenue games like Wisconsin hosting Notre Dame at Lambeau Field. It’s also impacted colleges, Stanford eliminated 11 of their varsity sports altogether.
⏰ Tick-tock, Tik-Tok? | Via: Front Office Sports
The future of Tik-Tok (in America) remains up in the air, but the ability for sports teams and leagues to create and publish long-form content continues to lead the way in leveraging an emerging platform for content.
⚾️ Baseball Teams Make Adjustments to Stadiums | Via: NBC Sports Chicago
When the Chicago Cubs return to the field in a few days for true, competitive games, they want to socially-distance as much as possible. At the same time, the team wants to ensure they still protect the team camaraderie and collaboration and keep them close, especially as fans will be kept from viewing games in Wrigley. Ironically, Cubs Manager David Ross is doing what fans can’t do in a pandemic – allowing bench players to hang out on the bench instead of elsewhere in the stadium. To do this, the team physically constructed a longer bench that extends deeper into foul territory. His goal: Get players “just a little bit closer to the action and to help with the energy in the dugout and root guys on.
Case Study in Adapting: How a MiLB Venue Pivoted | Via: Front Office Sports
As venues remain closed to live sports, teams are getting creative. With Minor League Baseball canceled, teams are left to question revenue opportunities. Not so, for one Florida club. Pensacola Blue Marlins will salvage a quarter of their $8 million revenue due to smart transition into an “event business”:
🏟 To Cheer, Or Not To Cheer | Via: Pro Football Talk
NBC Sports, NBCSN, and NBC will pump in “atmospheric audio” from EA Sports for Premier League action giving fans the opportunity to listen to it or not. To tune into the natural experience, tune in to NBC Sports Gold via Premier League Pass or choose fan noise on Peacock. U.K broadcasts will use artificial fan noise.
💰 Lebron’s Big Media Investment | Via: Bloomberg Businessweek
Lebron James and his business partners raised $100M to expand their media conglomerate. SpringHill Company will partner with his three previously-built companies: UNINTERRUPTED, SpringHill Entertainment, and the Robot Company showcasing how James can leverage his athletic brand to empower others.
📈 Stats & Numbers of the Month
$503M: The record-breaking contract signed by Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes.
500: The number of sporting organizations and teams that took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program.
$3.4M: No sports, no problem for Peyton Manning. He still earned $3.4 million in marketing and royalties this year.
$36.2M: FC Barcelona, according to a study from KPMG, is expected to lose $36.2M in revenue due to match-day losses this season due to home games being forced to be played behind closed doors both in their domestic leagues and in a European tournament.
📸 Picture of the Month
8 minutes, 46 seconds — the time MLS player Thierry Henry spent taking a knee in memory of George Floyd in the opening moments of Montreal’s game against the New England Revolution.
The next few weeks will reveal a lot about the sports landscape and how technology is helping improve the experience for fans and players.
If you are working on a product that can help in any capacity, be sure to learn more about our application process here. And, if you know anyone working on something cool, we’d love to hear their story.
— The SportsTech Team