Inside Track

SportsTech Newsletter #7


Dear SportsTech Community,

It’s been quite a busy last few weeks in sports. 

Two cities were minted champions and we’re working on a third in. Tampa Bay hoisted the Stanley Cup and the LeBron-powered Lakers garnered their 17th NBA championship, tied for the most with the Boston Celtics. In a matter of weeks, we’ll know who emerges at the top of the baseball world. 

If you’re able, we hope to see you at some of our virtual events including Hashtag Sports 2020 and Startup Week Atlanta

Here are some of the highlights of the stories we’re reading right now — with a special topic of importance at the moment.

📸  Photo of the Month

LeBron James capped off a wild nearly year-long NBA season by closing out the Miami Heat with a 28-point, 14-rebound, 10-assist triple-double night. The win delivered the 17th NBA title to the Lakers, tying the Boston Celtics for most championships in league history. In doing so, James tallied his third Finals MVP and his fourth championship. 

Stories We’re Reading 

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the way athletes are training has changed dramatically. For a spell, many were forced to take their workouts to their kitchens, dining room tables, backyard pools, driveway basketball hoops, and yes, even their fireplace mantles. 

For the first time ever, professional athletes and everyday peeps like you and me were forced to workout from our homes and many found creative solutions along the way. Slowly, professional team facilities opened up and allowed players to get back to the grind, but for many, gyms remained shuttered. 

We’ve seen two direct outcomes from this that are going to really change the game for at-home fitness. First, there’s been a huge uptick in demand for tools and equipment we can use from our own home to help keep us in shape. Second, there’s a huge opportunity to connect our digital devices and wearables to the fitness equipment we use. Once that happens, we’ll be able to make headway and understand how physical performance metrics can help reach goals. But, the massive opportunity seems to be how these metrics and data points will unleash the ability for doctors to plug into that data to make informed medical decisions and forecast or predict health outcomes. 

Here’s a few of the big stories we’re reading right now about the changing world of at-home fitness training and exercise. 

 

In-Person Gym Market Faces Change | Via: Fortune, Intelligencer

#AthletePerformance 

The gym market has been greatly impacted by the pandemic. Flywheel gyms and their more than 300,000 members saw many gyms close. 24 Hour Fitness closed 100 locations in the hopes that these moves would help keep more than 300 locations open. And, in the midst of all of this, Gold’s Gym was bought for more $100 million. The industry as a whole was evolving quite a bit before the pandemic struck. We’re seeing a stratification of the gym ecosystem where the higher-end remains boutiques and fitness studios and then volume-based gyms. For many, seeking out a gym helps connect them to expensive equipment, trainers and access to a community of like-minded people. As you’ll see later in this newsletter, some startups are flexing on this opportunity from home in a big way. 

⌚️ Apple Gets Physical | Via: The Verge 

Apple unveiled their new subscription service and digital, virtual training classes — Fitness+. Integration with mobile devices like your iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, the purchase price is $9.99 per year or $79.99 annually. Workouts simply require a dumbbell or nothing and include a variety of workouts like cycling, treadmill, core, strength training, rowing, and HIT routines. Of course, Apple says you’ll be able to tap into your metrics like heart rate and caloric burn rate. And, users will be able to tap into the Apple music offerings, too. Peloton CEO suggests this is a content play and that the magic of a company like Peloton is its holistic family of offerings —  connected platforms and physical hardware, content, training, bikes, and treadmills. 

🎮 Virtual Reality…Tread Mill? | Via: VentureBeat 

What if there was a startup that was willing to take the success and popularity of Peloton and marry it to the engagement and excitement of esports? Well, Virtuix has possibly done just that with their Omni One treadmill, which will appear in the world in the second half of next year. This culminates in a double-pivot for the Austin-based company but they’re moving fast because of the growth they’ve seen in the entertainment and VR market. The creation comes from solving two big challenges:  the core issue of VR where you get to immerse yourself in another world, but you’re limited in how you move, and the pandemic pausing much of the entertainment-based VR experiences found in theme parks, arcades, and elsewhere in the real world. 

🚵 Train Together, Win Together | Via: VentureBeat

Zwift, a digital platform for helping runners and cyclists train, raised $450 million in the ever-competitive digital fitness space. The bulk of this funding will help Zwift build and bring their software and hardware to the market. The entire Zwift platform is built to help motivate people through virtual events like the Tour de France and bring classical outdoor athletic events such as biking and running, indoors with immersive, 3-D worlds. Timing is everything. This announcement came just a day following Apple’s announcement of their Fitness+ program. 

🚲 Peloton Aims for 100M Subscribers | Via: CNBC

In September, Peloton delivered earnings that were far better than expected including $607.1 million in revenue and sales growing 172 percent. Their success in the current quarter can be attributed to growing market penetration. CEO John Foley’s goal: 100 million paying subscribers. 

“100 million subscribers, we believe is a reasonable goal,” Foley said during Peloton’s first investor meeting as a public company. “There’s close to 200 million gym-goers in the world. That’s 200 million people paying hard money, month after month, to access what we believe to be inferior fitness equipment in an inferior location.” 

Most recently, they debuted a new bike, Bike+ and a treadmill. 

💰 Peloton Competitor Raise Big Money | Via: Bloomberg 

Icon Health & Fitness, owner of the NordicTrack, ProForm and Freemotion brands as well as streaming platform iFit, raised $200 million in its latest funding round, led by early Peloton backer L Catterton. NordicTrack and ProForm both make connected stationary exercise bikes at a lower price point than Peloton. The new raise values Icon at more than $7 billion and is likely a signal of a forthcoming IPO. “Health and fitness have never been more important to consumers globally, and we are seeing explosive growth across our subscription software and fitness equipment businesses,” Icon founder and Chief Executive Officer Scott Watterson said in a statement. “We saw this fast-growing demand going into 2020, and this has accelerated sharply as people’s desire to stay healthy has intensified.”

🚀 Follow Us For More on Convergence of Sports & Tech 

To learn more about the fast-moving world of sports technology, be sure to follow us on all our social channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Also, you can check out our updates and stories that we publish to our blog, Inside Track

🛣 We’re Hitting The Road! And, A Webinar! 

Check us out as we make appearances at these events in the coming weeks:  

    #Hashtag Sports 2020

    October 20-22, New York City 

    Join 1,200 media and marketing professionals along with hundreds of athletes, content creators and CMOs to talk about how the future of sports media will shape the fan experience and be sure to check out panel:

    How Startup Innovation is Revolutionizing Fan Engagement”

    The way fans consume sports is changing – from live to streaming and back again. With an increasing demand for multichannel entertainment and more personalized interactions with teams and players, fans are getting closer to the action and real-time engagement before and after sporting events. As startups build the next generation of tech, sports brands are looking to bring their fan base new and exciting ways to connect. 

    Join us to discuss what it takes to bring ideas to the playing field. Hear from startup founder and CEO, Josh Bryant of Fangage, as well as serial startup founder and investor, Jose Vieitez, from Comcast SportsTech. Moderated by Jenna Kurath, VP of Startup Partner Development, Comcast. 

    Back on Track: The Transition from NASCAR iRacing to Live Racing

    Wednesday, Oct 28th at 4 PM ET/ 2 PM MT 

    Panelists:

    • Tyler Reddick, Professional NASCAR Driver
    • Christine Stoffel- Moffett, Vice President, Enterprise  Technology NASCAR

    Startup Week Atlanta – November 9-13, 2020, Atlanta

    Right in The Farm’s own backyard, Atlanta Startup Week will be a celebration of everything that makes startups and innovation so exciting. 

    We hope to see you at these or other events. Let us know if there are any amazing sports tech events that you’re going to and we’ll do our best to join.

    Sincerely, 

    — The SportsTech Team


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