The Florida Panthers are enhancing the in-game fan experience at BB&T Center as the first NHL team to debut ProWire’s NHL mobile app integration, featuring ProWire’s cutting-edge audio broadcast technology.
With ProWire’s official NHL mobile app integration, fans attending Panthers home games at BB&T Center will be able to stream Bally Sports Florida’s live in-game commentary and exclusive play-by-play action on their phones, right from their seats, via the Florida Panthers club page on the NHL app. To listen live, Panthers fans can simply connect to the BBT-FREE Wifi using an iOS device and click on the app’s ‘Listen Live From Your Seat’ feature.
ProWire’s patent-pending CrowdFlexTM streaming technology enables venues with existing WiFi or 5G networks to stream real-time audio directly to fans’ phones with no delay. Through ProWire’s official NHL mobile app integration, additional partner teams will be able to activate the audio streaming service through their respective club pages along with their other fan engagement activations.
“As we continue to invest in the fan experience, we’re thrilled to offer fans this exciting new way to engage with the game. Now fans can listen in real-time as the action unfolds in front of them,” said Panthers Chief Strategy Officer Sam Doerr. “Through the seamless integration of ProWire’s high-quality, real-time streaming technology, fans can easily tune into Bally Sports Florida Play-by-Play announcers Steve Goldstein and Randy Moller’s live action commentary from their seats with just the click of a button. We look forward to working with ProWire to develop additional Panthers’ exclusive channels featuring special guest commentary, live interviews and more original content for our fans at BB&T.”
“The NHL App is the go-to resource for fans attending hockey games and the club pages serve as the fan engagement app for the majority of the league,” said Gordon Sumner, Co-Founder & CEO of ProWire. “The activation through the Panthers club page will enhance the in-game experience for Panthers’ fans at BB&T, bringing them closer to the action. Looking forward, our
focus will be working with the Panthers to generate new and exciting original content for fans at BB&T.”
TeamSnap, which provides industry-leading sports management and communication software for amateur sports, today announced a strategic partnership with Waud Capital Partners, a leading growth-oriented middle market private equity firm. The partnership brings new capital to TeamSnap and gives Waud Capital majority ownership of the company. The partnership will accelerate TeamSnap’s growth, providing resources to expand its offering for athletes, their families and sports organizations of all sizes. As part of this partnership, Waud Capital executives Peter Frintzilas and Andrew Rueff will join TeamSnap as CEO and Executive Chairman, respectively. Founder and current CEO Dave DuPont will retain a financial stake in the company and play a critical role on TeamSnap’s executive team, working directly with key customers and partners.
"This is an exciting new phase for TeamSnap that will greatly benefit our team, our customers and our partners,” said Dave DuPont, TeamSnap’s founder. “Waud Capital is a well-capitalized partner and will help us solidify our position as the premier software platform for team sports management and communication. Peter and Andrew have extensive experience successfully scaling software companies. Their addition to the team, along with the additional resources Waud Capital provides, allows us to accelerate our current plans and sets us up for our next phase of growth.”
TeamSnap provides end-to-end solutions for communication, scheduling, payment collection, registration and real-time game sharing through its proprietary software platform and mobile applications. By taking the work out of play, TeamSnap has become the trusted platform for 25 million coaches, administrators, players and parents. The new investment from Waud Capital will enable TeamSnap to deepen its partnerships with coaches, leagues and administrations and to develop innovative new tools and features for its platform.
Mr. Frintzilas, TeamSnap’s new CEO, brings 20 years of software experience to TeamSnap. He previously served as SVP and Head of Marketing, Strategy & Innovation at Intralinks, where he helped create significant value for customers and shareholders, culminating in a $1.5B exit from the Siris Capital Portfolio to SS&C Technologies. As Executive Chairman, Mr. Rueff will help support TeamSnap through its next phase of growth. Mr. Rueff brings more than 25 years of software leadership experience and currently is a Waud Capital Operating Partner. He also leads its Sphere Commerce platform as Executive Chairman.
“I am excited to lead TeamSnap through its next phase of growth and realize our vision to become the #1 software platform in youth and amatuer sports,” Mr. Frintzilas said. “Accomplishing this will require a continuation of TeamSnap’s strong culture, outsized growth, celebrated customer service and the pursuit of new innovation and product development. Dave and I share a strong alignment on values, culture, and the belief that a relentless focus on our people, our customers and our community is critical to our future success. I look forward to working with him and the rest of the TeamSnap team to realize the potential of helping increase access to sports for all of our communities,” Mr. Frintzilas said.
“We see an immense opportunity to expand TeamSnap’s mission of providing coaches, players, parents and organizations with the superior resources and information they need to participate fully in sports. We’re incredibly impressed by the strong base TeamSnap has built, with a beloved product that is already the trusted market leader for tens of millions of users. We look forward to unveiling expanded solutions in the coming months that will permit deeper integrations with partners and increase the already best-in-class platform functionality for which TeamSnap is known,” added Mr. Rueff.
While the COVID-19 pandemic initially curtailed amateur sports activities, TeamSnap has shown impressive resilience over the past nine months, with app usage and financial performance currently above pre-pandemic levels. TeamSnap has played an integral role helping families around the world return to sports safely, consulting with organizations and launching Health Check, an integrated health screening feature, which has been used more than 14 million times since launch. The company also announced a partnership with the Aspen Institute last fall to commit $1 million to expand access to sport for underserved youth athletes.
The National Football League (NFL) and Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), a leader in enterprise networking and security, today announced a new multi-year partnership naming Cisco an Official Technology Partner of the NFL. Central to this partnership, Cisco will use its industry-leading expertise to jointly develop a Connected League platform with the NFL, unifying the league on a singular foundation of connectivity with greater speed, intelligence, and security.
"We are excited to have Cisco as an official partner of the NFL. We have relied on Cisco for many years now and it is a natural fit that they now have become our partner," said Michelle McKenna, NFL Chief Information Officer. "In an increasingly digital world, speed, reliability and security are paramount to our success and we welcome the leadership Cisco will bring to the NFL for these key aspects and more."
"The NFL shares our view that a connected world offers incredible opportunity, and we are excited to become an Official Technology Partner of the league," said Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO at Cisco. "When Cisco started its journey in sports and entertainment years ago, we knew the right technology would reshape the fan experience, and with this partnership, we are continuing our progress toward creating a more dynamic future."
In 2008, Cisco introduced the idea of a single converged network supporting the future of connectivity for a venue. Fast forward to today and Cisco's view remains the same regarding a single unified, intent-based networking architecture, but instead of being building-centric, it is focused on developing a league-wide infrastructure to support gameday operations such as security and digital signage solutions.
Currently, every NFL stadium's replay control room is built on Cisco technology and connected back to the Art McNally Gameday Central in New York City via a Cisco network. In addition, nearly all of the league's Official Partners and two-thirds of NFL stadiums rely on Cisco technology, including SoFi Stadium and State Farm Stadium, sites of the next two Super Bowls.
"We have deep experience in this field creating innovative solutions that have enabled the sports industry to deliver superior fan experiences, streamline business operations, and drive incremental revenue," said Brian Eaton, Director of Global Sponsorship, Cisco. "We look forward to working with the NFL to implement a platform that will bring significant value to the entire league ecosystem."
In addition, Cisco and the NFL believe that technology will help build an inclusive future and bridge the digital divide. Cisco will contribute to the NFL's Inspire Change initiative by collaborating with the league to deliver technology education and career advancement opportunities to people in underserved communities. Cisco's belief is that connecting everyone not only creates more equality, but also meaningful and positive impact.
The Topps Company today announced the release of 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball NFT (non-fungible token) collectibles, ushering in a new era of baseball card collecting in partnership with Major League Baseball and MLB Players, Inc. Launching Tuesday, April 20 at 1PM ET, Topps will build on its legacy as an innovator of digital collectibles by releasing its flagship yearly baseball card collection for the first time as NFTs. Artwork from the physical 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball release, including iconic throwback card templates, anniversary sets and more, will be digitally enhanced and creatively reimagined as officially licensed Topps MLB NFT collectibles.
“The partnership between Major League Baseball, MLB Players, Inc. and Topps has delighted collectors and fans for generations, celebrating the legendary players and iconic moments that have defined America’s Pastime,” said Tobin Lent, VP & General Manager of Topps Digital Sports & Entertainment at The Topps Company. “Our MLB blockchain NFT series debut marks a historic moment in the modern evolution of collecting for both traditional and new collectors. We’re excited to bring almost a decade’s worth of digital collectibles innovations to 2021 Topps Series 1 and provide another fun avenue for fans to collect their favorite heroes and moments with secure digital ownership on the blockchain.”
“Generations of Major League Baseball fans have expressed their passion for the sport and the players through Topps baseball cards. We are thrilled to see Topps extend that experience through NFTs,” said Jamie Leece, Senior Vice President, Major League Baseball Games & VR.
The Topps Series 1 Baseball NFT release will include standard and premium collectible packs for purchase, with card rarities ranging from Common to Legendary and even Legendary Limited-Edition 1-of-1 Platinum Anniversary cards. Collectors will be delighted to find all types of NFT collectibles in this release including motion graphics, nostalgic card templates and other digital flourishes that provide deeper engagement.
“As collectibles enjoy a breakout moment with NFTs and blockchain technology, we can’t think of a better way to honor the legendary players from years past and look forward to the incredible careers ahead of today’s stars and breakout rookies,” said Evan Kaplan, Managing Director of MLB Players, Inc. “These Topps cards offer a new innovative way for today’s collectors and fans to connect with their favorite stars.”
Topps has been bringing digital collectibles to market since 2012, with the launch and continued growth of their suite of mobile sports and entertainment digital collectibles apps, including their flagship baseball app, Topps® BUNT®. With this release, Topps Series 1 joins a rapidly growing collection of officially licensed Topps NFT collectibles on blockchain.
In celebration of the monumental release, the first 10,000 people who sign up to receive email alerts for Topps Series 1 are eligible to receive a free, exclusive Topps MLB Opening Day NFT Pack. To learn more about the release and to enroll in the Opening Day NFT Pack air drop event, collectors can visit here. Sale begins on Tuesday, April 20 at 1PM ET until sold out. For more information on Topps and for future announcements about Topps MLB releases, visit the Topps App's website, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
Soon, baseball fans may be able to experience a game from the vantage point of their favorite player, see bathroom lines from their seats or have a device giving them stats using AR (augmented reality) or VR (virtual reality).
Major League Baseball has partnered with Extreme Networks as its official Wi-Fi solutions provider. However, this partnership goes beyond improving media and fan experiences.
MLB and Extreme are committed to advancing women in sports technology. They will co-create programs and events to champion and celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion in the sports and technology industries.
These once-futuristic ideas for improving the fan experience are not so far off, but wouldn't be possible without women in sports tech.
On a panel titled "EXTREMEly Important Conversation: Women in Sports Tech," women from MLB, Extreme Network and the Atlanta Braves spoke on their journey and the importance of hiring women in tech roles.
"Hiring women on any team leads to a more diverse group, both in experience and thought,” said Titania Richard, senior director, business IT for Extreme Network.
Golf has followed the same path as any other sport you can think of. It has used developments in science, technology, fitness and nutrition to produce better outcomes. Some of these changes are focused on the players themselves, who are bigger and stronger than their 1930s counterparts. Part of the reason why Usain Bolt could outrun Jesse Owens is because he has a longer stride and is in better physical condition. Likewise, it is a fair bet that Rory McIlroy is a better athlete than Byron Nelson was. Bolt and McIlroy also have the advantages bestowed by more advanced equipment. Bolt sprints on synthetic rubber tracks wearing very light shoes. Owens ran on cinder and wore heavy leather boots. McIlroy benefits from the research and development of a golf equipment industry worth $9 billion (£6.5bn) a year, which continues to design lighter and more energy efficient clubs and more aerodynamic balls. Athletes across all sports also now have access to data that measures the impact on their performance of even minuscule changes to their technique, to help them achieve marginal gains. From these innovations, sport gathers momentum. All sports, but particularly individual endeavours such as golf, would lose much of their grit and competitive edge if players were not getting better.
SSB and Trak Software announce the launch of Sponsorship Central, an innovative partnership management platform designed for the sports and entertainment industries. SSB and Trak are industry veterans that work with over 150 professional sports, collegiate athletics and entertainment organizations. Sponsorship Central is the first comprehensive partnership management solution that accelerates and simplifies every step of the sponsorship lifecycle – from prospecting to activation – to maximize ROI with real-time measurability and automated reporting.
“Partnership and sponsorship groups have previously worked out of spreadsheets and disparate systems. Sponsorship Central creates a new reality for sales and activation teams to work in tandem to understand relative data and prescribe action,” explains Mike Banville, CEO of SSB. “Now, every facet of sponsorships including prospecting, contracts, activation, fulfillment, and reporting can be managed in one place.”
With every dollar now being under a thick financial lens, Sponsorship Central gives brands the ability to assess performance and measure ROI in real-time rather than waiting until the end of the sales period or season for results. This speed and flexibility allows organizations to create an unparalleled client experience for their partners and via the automated systems, reclaims 38% of time for activation teams, allowing them to focus on innovation and relationship building.
“Outside of creating a solution that was scalable and could easily manage the sponsorship lifecycle, it was important to deliver an engaging experience for all of our end users,” states Cameron Oliver, CEO and founder of Trak. “The integrated process we’ve built removes the manual hurdles and enables teams to focus on maximizing the value of their sponsorships.”
Sponsorship Central is also now part of the Global De Facto Hub, an industry-leading intuitive and robust fan relationship toolkit, from SSB and Sports Alliance that helps sports organizations organize, personalize, and grow with scalable technology. The Hub supports clubs and entertainment entities through big data management, relationship development, and digital marketing strategies to grow loyalty, engagement, and revenue.
Delaware North, a global leader in hospitality and food service, today announced the opening of two checkout-free convenience stores at TD Garden using Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology – a first of its kind in the City of Boston. MRKT, located on Levels 4 and 7 of TD Garden, is stocked with an assortment of snack and drink options, and will leverage Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology to allow fans to shop and pay without stopping to check out.
“We are always looking to leverage technology to bring fast, easy and touch-free amenities to our guests, and we are excited to collaborate with Amazon to use their Just Walk Out technology in these MRKT stores,” said Amy Latimer, president of TD Garden. “These stores will deliver a fast, frictionless experience, helping to eliminate lines and get our guests back to the action on the court and the ice faster.”
Delaware North is initiating its use of Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology at TD Garden, which the company owns and operates. This modern and checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by a combination of technologies including computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning to eliminate checkout lines for shoppers. Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology allows shoppers to quickly enter the store using their credit card, then detects when products are taken from or returned to shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. After a shopper leaves the store, they are charged for the items they selected and left the store with—offering them a seamless fan experience.
“We are very excited to be employing Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology in our MRKT stores at TD Garden in Boston and look forward to our guests experiencing this great amenity on their next visit,” said Jeff Wilkinson, chief information officer for Delaware North.
The two MRKT stores feature a spacious, streamlined and modern design. The exterior of the spaces are framed by glass walls, making it easy to see what is in stock and how many other shoppers are inside. The entrance is outfitted with electronic gates where customers can insert their credit card to access the store and the merchandise. TD Garden associates will serve as greeters and provide in-store assistance. Various food, beverage and other retail items will be stocked on easily accessible shelves and refrigerators, making it simple for fans to quickly and effortlessly grab what they want and leave the store thanks to Amazon’s technology.
“Venues like TD Garden are great locations for Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, which allows shoppers to simply enter the store with a credit card, take what they want, and just leave when they’re done,” said Cameron Janes, Vice President, Physical Retail at Amazon. “With TD Garden’s two MRKT stores powered by Just Walk Out technology, fans can quickly grab a snack or beverage of their choice without missing the action waiting in lines. We’re excited to see how the fans in Boston like this easy, convenient experience.”
NBA basketball franchise the Minnesota Timberwolves has ramped up its partnership with point-of-sale solutions provider VenueNext by announcing that its Target Center arena will offer an entirely contactless fan experience.
The venture will leverage VenueNext’s mobile commerce platform, with the two parties having initially joined forces in June 2017 to launch the team’s new mobile app. The mobile-only fan experience through the Timberwolves app will now include all tangible fan touchpoints, from buying and storing tickets to scanning and paying for food and beverage and merchandise.
Timberwolves chief operating officer, Ryan Tanke, said: “When we introduced mobile ticketing in 2015, we believed a completely mobile experience would be the future. Timberwolves fans are early adopters and mobile ticketing naturally led us down the mobile-only path for concessions.
“This put us in a position to quickly transition to a fully mobile experience as we welcome fans back to games. The Timberwolves app provides a safe and navigable experience inside Target Center and eliminates waiting in lines and cash exchange. Fans are encouraged to order in the app from their seat and never have to miss a moment of game action.”
The Timberwolves will welcome back season ticket members and limited fans to Target Center for the April 5 game versus the Sacramento Kings. When back in Target Center, fans can pay for items by using their stored credit card in the mobile app or by using Court Cash, a loyalty currency for season ticket members.
The Timberwolves said its partnership with VenueNext also allows for flexibility to add new self-service kiosks that accept mobile payment, while it will reintroduce mobile ordering for in-seat delivery once safety protocols allow. All tickets will be digitally delivered to fans via the Timberwolves app. A new, limited concessions menu will also be available to fans via the app.
“Recognising the new fan experience reality, together, we’ve created a complete mobile environment,” said Anthony Perez, VenueNext CEO. “The integration of VenueNext’s mobile commerce platform within the Timberwolves app means that fans can now control their entire in-venue shopping experience from their phones.
“As leading innovators in this space, the Minnesota Timberwolves continue to create ways to make the live experience as seamless as possible and we’re excited to bring that to life for Timberwolves fans.”
Earlier this month, VenueNext was acquired by payment processing solutions provider Shift4 Payments.
While the 2021 Major League Soccer season kicks off its schedule of games on April 16, the League today flipped the switch on a game-changing, reimagined website heralding that MLS is Back in a big way. In addition, further reflecting the optimism and energy heading into the new season, MLS unveiled its “Our Soccer” campaign, championing the distinct and inclusive soccer culture and movement that exists in the US and Canada.
“The launch of our innovative transformation of MLSsoccer.com and the reveal of the style, tone and imagery of the ‘Our Soccer’ campaign for 2021 are the ultimate signals that Major League Soccer is ready to produce another unforgettable season for the fans,” said Chris Schlosser, MLS SVP of Media.
The League’s new website completely reimagines the fan experience. One of the first global soccer leagues to adapt cutting-edge functionality, MLS has always been a step ahead in providing the best digital platforms.
The all new MLSsoccer.com features a shape-shifting homepage, flexible content platform and enhanced match-day experience. On gamedays, the brand-new MLS Match Center will allow fans to follow the action from around the League with new visualizations, and comprehensive data that has never been accessible to fans. While fans will continue to have a chance to showcase their knowledge of MLS and to compete for weekly prizes through “Predict 6,” MLS’ weekly free-to-play prediction game on MLSsoccer.com and the League’s award-winning app.
Just as important as the leading technology throughout the website, MLS Soccer’s engaging fan programming, including “Extratime” and the all-female-led show “The Call Up,” features a range of talent reflecting the diversity of the league and the sport. Among those appearing in programs or authoring regular columns this season are former players Charlie Davies, Steve Zakuani, Michael Lahoud, and Calen Carr, along with Susannah Collins, Jillian Sakovits, Matt Doyle, David Gass and Andrew Wiebe. The increased roster of talent on the website represents the most former players in its history with a combined nearly 30 seasons in the League and numerous international and World Cup appearances.
As continued effort to expanding our MLS content offering within our operated platforms among diverse audiences, MLS Media’s Spanish-language content division, MLS Español, will continue delivering the best content experience in-culture and in-language to the diverse Spanish-speaking audiences in the United States and Latin America. From real time coverage of 460+ game on @MLSes social media platforms, the flagship content series such as ‘Minuto MLS’, ‘Perfiles’, to the debut of fan-focused series ‘Tribuna’ and ‘Culturas’, MLS Español will be offering in-depth storytelling of our players and clubs through their operated platforms: Website, Twitter and Instagram.
To signal MLS’ return and unify the soccer community, the popular "Our Soccer" campaign will kick off the 2021 season with "Ready for It," a spot capturing the one-of-a-kind spirit of MLS on and off the field. “Ready for It ” highlights what it is like being a fan today, the League’s star players, exhilarating moments, culture of inclusivity, and diverse fan base that make MLS the League that will inspire in 2021. The spot showcases the tremendous optimism for the league and sport as players get back on the pitch to kick of the League’s 26th season.
Reflecting MLS’ multicultural fan base, the broadcast spots have been produced in English, Spanish, and French Canadian. The campaign will run on MLS partner networks including ESPN, FOX Sports, Univision, TSN and TVA Sports, on regional sports networks and across international broadcast partner platforms, as well as on the league’s digital channels.
The “Our Soccer” brand campaign, produced by THE FADER and Cornerstone, MLS’ creative agency of record, debuted in 2018 with Atlanta-based rapper and Atlanta United fan 2 Chainz and singer, songwriter, producer, and LA Galaxy fan Miguel. The sport in 2019 was fronted by the multi-platinum Latin music superstar Prince Royce. The League’s 25th Season campaign featured Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, who is also the co-owner of Austin FC, and depicted the story of the League in “25 Years in 25 Seconds.”
The new MLSsoccer.com is the first manifestation of the previously announced MLS Deltatre relationship.