ImagineAR an Augmented Reality Company that enables sports teams, brands and businesses to instantly create mobile phone AR immersive engagement campaigns, is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Global Sports Initiatives (GSI). GSI markets "digital infrastructure as a monetization service" to Sports, Esports, and Leagues throughout the world.
Joseph A. Molloy, Managing Director of Global Sports Initiatives, Inc. stated "Based on my personal experience as a former Owner and Managing Partner of the New York Yankees, I know that if today I were a current Owner of any sports team around the world, regardless of location, and I found out I could globalize fan engagement in seconds to exponentially create more revenue streams with very modest changes, that is something that I would certainly embrace. Sports globalization and technology are clearly the future and here to stay." Mr. Molloy maintains regular communication with owners of Major League Baseball teams, as well as various NFL, NBA, NHL and MLS owners as well European football club leagues.
"We can quickly and cost effectively turn any stadium or venue around the globe into its own "Smart" content production studio. ImagineAR technology is our exclusive Augmented Reality provider, and we are now the only company in the world who can globally distribute content in new immersive and interactive ways" stated Kevin J. Meredith, Esq., CEO of Global Sports Initiatives, Inc..
"ImagineAR has started working with GSI targeting sports franchises and leagues," said Alen Paul Silverrstieen, CEO and President of Imagine AR. "We are optimistic this partnership will generate new revenue opportunities for both companies."
The Daytona 500 is the Super Bowl of auto racing, and like the actual Super Bowl, the race serves as a showcase for several new or improved production technologies that enhance viewer enjoyment—this year in the form of shots from multiple in-car cameras enhanced with interpolated super slow motion and a high-speed drone capable of bursting to speeds of 100 mph, says Michael Davies, senior vice president, field operations at Fox Sports.
“Daytona, as it is every year, is the biggest race of the year. It’s also the first race of the year, and this is no different in COVID times. You know, Daytona, even in COVID times, is the Super Bowl of racing—after the Super Bowl of Super Bowls,” says Davies with a chuckle.
(The Fox telecast of the Daytona 500 starts Sunday, Feb. 14, at 2:30 p.m. EST. Live streaming coverage will be available via Fox Sports Go. Clint Bowyer, a former Cup Series driver, NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon and play-by-play announcer Mike Joy will call the race.)
Fox Sports is deploying nearly 100 cameras, including a GoPro suspended from a racing drone and a Sony P1 from a heavy-lift drone, mirrorless DSLR-like Megalodon cameras from Sony and Canon and multiple in-car cameras per car, to heighten its coverage of the 63rd running of the race.
Russell Wilson and Spencer Rascoff back MOJO, an app to help parent coaches find fun in youth sports
A search on YouTube for “youth sports drills” returns an endless scroll of every type of practice workout you could imagine. All levels of athletic skill and coaching style are on display in a dizzying stream of content aimed at players and parents looking for a better way to kick a soccer ball or pitch a baseball.
A new mobile app backed by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, former Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and others is looking to become a singular, simplified destination for parent coaches and families of young athletes.
MOJO launched Tuesday as a “one-stop, coach-in-a-box” format that blends instructional know-how with technological ease. The goal is to make youth sports appealing for kids and parents, stem the tide of drop outs and build a business that taps into what makes youth sports fun.
The Super Bowl isn't just the most important NFL game of the year, it's also the biggest night for brands to bring their most creative advertisements to a vast television audience.
Over the past few years, augmented reality has shared the Super Bowl stage as well, with advertisers increasingly integrating the technology into their campaigns.
For the Super Bowl LV, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs faced off on the field, big brands leaned on AR more than ever before.
Professional Fighters League to leverage IBM technologies to innovate next-gen proprietary SmartCage
The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the fastest growing and most innovative sports league in the world, today announced it will be leveraging Flagship’s capabilities to deliver IBM’s suite of advanced cloud and AI products to enhance the league’s delivery of next-gen SmartCage data and analytics, both live in-broadcast and via the league’s OTT platform, Fight Central.
Flagship Solutions Group, an IBM Gold Business Partner and recognized provider of IBM solutions, managed services, and cloud solutions worldwide, will partner with the PFL to manage, design, and deliver the experience leveraging IBM’s technology solutions. PFL and Flagship Solutions Group will also work closely with the IBM Garage’s unique framework for enabling innovation at speed and scale through a team of leading technologies and multidisciplinary experts, to turn big ideas into tangible results.
PFL’s proprietary SmartCage measures real-time MMA fighter performance analytics along with biometric and positional data providing fans with an elevated viewing experience. Moving forward, SmartCage fight data, called Cagenomics, will be enhanced with Watson machine learning to scour data points and uncover new insights for MMA fans, bringing them inside the cage like never before.
“Every day we strive to push the sport of MMA forward and drive deeper engagement with fans by being at the forefront of technology and innovation, and this infusion of IBM’s solutions into our product through the support of Flagship Solutions Group helps take our efforts to the next level,” said Peter Murray, CEO of the Professional Fighters League. “With the implementation of IBM’s cutting-edge technology, we look forward to creating transformative experiences for fans before, during, and after PFL events across platforms, further strengthening our position as the most innovative MMA organization in the world.”
“We’re thrilled to deliver Flagship’s InfralyticsTM on IBM’s leading Cloud and AI platforms to the Professional Fighters League, an organization committed to reimagining the sport of MMA through technology and innovation,” said Mark Wyllie, CEO of Flagship Solution Group. “The solutions we are partnering to create will provide fans with a deeper, more immersive and engaging experience; one not seen in combat sports before.”
Professional Fighters League has quickly established itself as the No. 2 MMA company in the world with distribution on ESPN in the U.S. and to more than 160 countries via premium sports networks and platforms. The league has experienced tremendous YoY growth across digital channels* – 68% follower increase on Instagram, 30% total audience growth across digital and a 200% social engagement spike.
PFL’s portfolio of leading brand partners includes Anheuser-Busch InBev, GEICO, Acronis, Air Force Reserve, and Rich Energy. The U.S. Marines are the presenting partner of Inside the Season on ESPNews and ESPN+, leveraging the national platform and compelling content to engage with qualified youth considering a military career.
The Sacramento Kings NBA basketball franchise has stepped up its partnership with Intel Sports by introducing Intel True View technology at its Golden 1 Center arena.
As part of the collaboration, fans will receive access to unique video content, including 360-degree highlights and new perspectives of the game through the Sacramento Kings + Golden 1 Center App and team social channels.
The Kings first linked up with Intel in February 2020, creating the NBA’s first research and development site at Golden 1 Center to deliver broadcast enhancements and deploy next-generation technology.
Over the past year, a collection of Intel True View HD cameras have been installed throughout the arena to record entire NBA games in volumetric data, which captures height, width and depth. This content can then be rendered into never-before-seen highlights, including views in 360 degrees or through the eyes of a player.
John Rinehart, president of business operations for the Kings, said: “We are excited to bring our fans closer to the game through engaging highlights that place them at the centre of the action on the court. Through the use of Intel’s advanced technology, fans will have the opportunity to see unique viewpoints and angles, fostering deeper engagement with the team and players.”
Intel True View has been implemented at a number of sports venues in recent years, including Etihad Stadium, home of Premier League football club Manchester City. Other NBA teams to use the technology include the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards.
Intel Sports’ general manager James Carwana said: “The Sacramento Kings have been brilliant partners for us at Intel Sports. They have an incredible track record of incorporating innovative technology into the game. As avid Kings fans demand more customisation and personalisation in a next-level viewing environment, we’re thrilled to work in tandem to create unique, immersive media experiences with unbounded perspectives in True View.”
The Kings have a long history of using technology to enhance the fan experience inside and outside the arena. Last month, the team struck a deal with wireless networking technology company Mixhalo, whose free-to-use technology will be made available through the Kings app.
Mixhalo technology will supplement the PA and ADA systems enabling fans and concert-goers to access crystal-clear audio, including enhanced real-time radio and play-by-play commentary. Mixhalo’s no-latency, network-based technology delivers real-time audio to all attendees.
Ken Rodgers had long been drawn to the idea of doing a documentary on the story-rich career of Al Davis, who was at the center of so many of the key events in pro football during his more than half-century in the game.
The rebellious former coach and owner of the Raiders built one of the great franchises while battling the league and former commissioner Pete Rozelle in court for years.
When Rodgers embedded himself with the Raiders while filming “Hard Knocks” during training camp in 2019, he got a firsthand look at how the once contentious relationship between the team and the league that ran so deep that Davis would complain to NFL Films about perceived slights over the years had cooled in the nearly decade since Davis died.
After fighting with the league over moves to and from Los Angeles in 1980s and ’90s, the Raiders now had gotten the league’s blessing -- and some funding -- to move to Las Vegas in 2020 with the fancy new stadium that had always eluded Davis.
“It seemed like the perfect time to tell story of the Al Davis-Pete Rozelle war,” Rodgers said. “The building of the stadium marked, to me, the end of hostilities between the two organizations.”
The idea turned into the latest film in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, “Al Davis vs. The NFL,” which will air on Thursday night on ESPN.
The film focuses on the relationship between Davis and Rozelle, who were adversaries starting with the battles between the AFL and NFL in the 1960s, all the way through the end of Rozelle’s tenure as commissioner in the 1980s after a heated trial over the Raiders move to Los Angeles.
With such compelling main characters, Rodgers wanted to tell the story from their vantage point rather than the perceptions of outsiders. That led him to use the innovative technology known as “deepfake” that allowed him to narrate the story from the perspective of the “spirits” of Davis and Rozelle.
“We needed the framework of telling the story from today,” Rodgers said. “Ten years ago, we would have done that with actors and put a wig on them. With the new technology of deepfake, we thought this was a great opportunity to do what hasn’t been done in sports documentaries and bring Al Davis and Pete Rozelle back to tell their stories themselves.”
The process required several steps to make it to the screen. The filmmakers spent a day at Allegiant Stadium this past season filming stand-ins for Davis and Rozelle, who were of similar height, weight and build.
The stand-ins were fitted with prosthetics for their hair and necklines and then their faces were placed digitally with the “masks” of Davis and Rozelle.
Rodgers and his staff then pored over the voluminous record of interviews that the two stars gave over the years from the NFL Films library to courthouse step interviews for the trial to other footage to determine what they would say about different aspects of the relationship. Impressionists read the words that served as the narration of the documentary.
By filming the scenes with the “spirit” versions of Davis and Rozelle in a dark, empty stadium that didn’t even exist when the men were alive, Rodgers believes makes it clear to viewers that this was a fictional recreation.
“The purpose was to bring it into that science fiction setting,” Rodgers said. “We wanted to avoid any sort of morality issues with people thinking Al Davis or Pete Rozelle were somehow alive or some sort of footage was discovered of them. This eliminated any sort of confusion and make it clear these were science fiction creations. Doing so allowed us to write that dialogue based on fact.”
Interspersed with that dialogue was extensive footage of the two men talking about their battles from the days of AFL-NFL merger to the trial in the 1980s when the NFL tried to block the Raiders from moving from Oakland to Los Angeles in 1982.
That all leads to Davis telling the story of how he and Rozelle hugged after the commissioner announced his retirement during a 1989 owners meeting.
That scene provided the inspiration for the ending when the two former adversaries marvel over the $2 billion stadium that Davis’ son, Mark, got built in Las Vegas with help from the current commissioner, Roger Goodell.
“I believe if there is an after life and if their spirits are spending time together, that they would indeed walk away peacefully together rather than continue their fight,” Rodgers said. “It feels to me that the current generation has put to rest the war and if they were still around, the previous generation would lay down their arms as well.”
In a year when large gatherings are limited, finding ways to bring people together safely, in-person and virtually, is more important than ever. Verizon is using the power of the 5G built right to elevate the Super Bowl LV fan experience and make it accessible whether at the game or at home. Verizon is introducing in-stadium 5G solutions for fans attending in-person in Tampa, delivering immersive and interactive viewing experiences and creating the first-ever 5G Stadium in Fortnite Creative. Verizon will wrap up Super Bowl weekend by bringing together communities across the country to benefit small businesses with host Tiffany Haddish and featuring performances by Alicia Keys, Brandi Carlile, Brittany Howard, Christina Aguilera, Eric Church, H.E.R., Jazmine Sullivan, Luke Bryan and Miley Cyrus.
On Sunday, Verizon will bring fans as close to the game as possible at home and in the stadium. The Verizon 5G SuperStadium in the NFL mobile app allows fans with an iPhone 12 model an opportunity to engage with seven different camera angles while in the stadium and five angles at home, as well as project AR overlays of NFL’s Next Gen Stats for players. Verizon Media’s Watch Together, a free co-viewing experience in the Yahoo Sports mobile app gives fans the ability to co-watch Super Bowl LV with friends and family on their phones. Both SuperStadium and Watch Together are powered by Verizon Media Platform’s real-time streaming technology. Fans can access these viewing experiences when Super Bowl LV kicks off on CBS on Sunday, February 7 at 6:30pm ET.
The fan-first experience with the Verizon 5G Stadium in Fortnite Creative, the largest activation ever built in Fortnite’s Creative Mode, will give gamers the opportunity to interact with their favorite NFL players and pro gamers in a way that’s never been done before. The activation will feature four football-inspired games and a few hidden surprises for players. Highlighting the power of 5G for gaming, the virtual stadium was built utilizing the low lag and high speeds made possible by the Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband network.
On Tuesday, February 2 and Friday, February 5, fans can tune in to Twitch and @Verizon on Twitter at 7:00 p.m. ET to watch NFL players, including Tua Tagovailoa, Kyler Murray, Tarik Cohen, Saquon Barkley, Joey Bosa, Ryan Shazier and pro gamers Myth and KittyPlays compete in a variety of games created specifically for the Fortnite Creative stadium. The two livestreams will be hosted by Late Night Hosts, Podcasters and Authors Desus Nice and The Kid Mero.
“With 5G, we are beginning to see the transformation of various industries and the innovation that comes with it,” said Diego Scotti, CMO, Verizon. “Reimagining live events is one of the best use cases for the power of 5G. During a year like this one, it is a thrill to transform the Super Bowl experience by creating a first-of-its-kind virtual stadium in Fortnite that brings a new level of gaming to life, while at the same time we’re innovating the in-stadium experience.
Verizon has invested over $80 million dollars to enhance its award-winning network to support the Super Bowl. Raymond James Stadium and the surrounding areas received substantial 5G enhancements, including 70 miles of high speed fiber, an upgraded distributed antenna system (DAS), and 281 small cell antennas that will provide coverage at events in and around the stadium as well as Downtown Tampa, Ybor City, and the Tampa Riverwalk. These permanent network enhancements will benefit Tampa residents and visitors for years to come.
The stadium won’t be at its maximum capacity this year, but Verizon’s 5G is there and ready to bring solutions to life when we do return fully. Over the last year, Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G Edge have been used to develop next gen solutions working with teams and other venues around safety, access, and crowd management. These solutions, when implemented at stadiums and venues around the country, can enable a return to live events.
"We're excited to bring 5G to Raymond James Stadium, home of Super Bowl LV," said Kyle Malady, CTO, Verizon. "As the number of arenas and stadiums with Verizon 5G continues to grow, we’re seeing how our technology brings a new dimension to all aspects of the fan experience, from public safety to how fans interact with the action on the field."
Verizon, America’s #1 network for public safety, is working closely with local first responders to ensure that public safety and attendees stay connected. Teams on the ground are working closely with the Tampa Police Department to provide deployable assets and boost capacity as needed.
Verizon’s own virtual command center will be operating and actively monitoring network activity. The Verizon Response Team, who deploys during large events and emergencies and is available 24/7/365, is at the ready to provide WiFi hotspots, free charging stations and other devices and solutions to local governments if needed to enable communications and/or boost network performance.
Loupe has created the streaming platform the surging sports card market desperately needs, secures $3m in funding
Loupe Tech Inc., a new sports card breaking app, launched their service in October and have since closed $3 million in funding with a first round led by Upfront Ventures. Notable card collector Nat Turner has also contributed capital to help accelerate Loupe's innovative business model.
Sports and trading cards are a multi-billion dollar market, with eBay selling 45 million cards in 2020, and rookie cards of star athletes like LeBron James and Mike Trout selling for more than $1 million each at auction. An emergent trend within the hobby is a craze called “box breaking.” In box breaks, audiences watch live as a seller opens a buyer’s cards on video. Box breaking has specifically been credited as one of the primary reasons the sports card hobby has undergone a renaissance and has spiked in popularity.
Loupe provides the first unified platform for breakers to live stream and sell sealed packs and single cards to collectors. The service thrives because it’s able to maintain a deep pool of buyers and a solid stable of sellers, all in one place. Loupe also removes the friction of other sports card box breaks by providing all tools —from start to end of the transaction —for a seamless experience with nearly no latency. On any given night, you will find card collectors joining together in one place to chat about sports cards and adding to their fast-growing collections. Loupe Tech’s approach to eagerly supporting box breaking has been validated by strong 100% month-over-month revenues.
“Demand for sports cards has skyrocketed over the past 12 months and it’s clear the hobby wasn’t prepared for the surge in buyers,” says Loupe founder and CEO Eric Doty. “Our mission is simple: We want to bring modern technology to the card collecting hobby. The initial reception to Loupe has been so tremendous that we’re confident this segment has been itching for its own dedicated streaming platform. We’re fortunate to have partnered with fantastic investors, like Upfront Ventures, who share that vision with us at an early stage in our company’s history.”
"The surging consumer interest in sports collectibles, live interactive video content, and new commerce platforms make Loupe a special opportunity," said Greg Bettinelli, Partner at Upfront Ventures. "Eric and his business are combining the three elements of breakout marketplace success -- current segment fragmentation, passionate fandom, and product scarcity -- and we are thrilled to support him on this journey."
Loupe Tech, Inc. recently relocated to the Miami area from Los Angeles with most of its team coming from backgrounds of video games and live video tools. The company intends to aggressively hire in the coming months to support the service’s faster-than-projected growth. It also plans to quickly expand on the service by developing a host of user-requested features, signing high-profile sellers, and inking strategic partnerships in the pro sports space.
WaitTime Pilots Cutting Edge Crowd Management Technology, Enabled by Cisco and Intel, at Atlantic City Convention Center
As convention centers across the country and around the world develop strategic plans to resume operations, the Atlantic City Convention Center (ACCC) today announced it is piloting a new, AI-accelerated crowd intelligence technology developed by WaitTime and made possible by Cisco and Intel. Spectra, venue manager of the Atlantic City Convention Center, is conducting a trial to determine how the tool may aid in the facility’s responsible reopening for conventions, meetings and community events by monitoring crowd capacity and movement.
WaitTime is a patented technology that has been used by entertainment venues around the world to enhance attendee experiences through sophisticated crowd intelligence and management innovations. The technology will provide ACCC with real-time information in each of the # convention center halls, so management is able to ensure capacity and social distancing requirements necessary for the health, safety, and personal privacy of their guests. This information is essential for venues, like ACCC, to confidently welcome visitors back into their spaces. Intel has provided support for the company to optimize its technology and extend Cisco's infrastructure capabilities.
WaitTime will be made possible by an integration with Cisco technology including Cisco Meraki MV cameras, Cisco UCS Servers, and key elements from the Cisco sports and entertainment portfolio.
"WaitTime is uniquely positioned to help ACCC, as we've studied the behavior of crowds totaling more than 50 million people. While our goal was always to reduce the frustrating need for people to wait in line, our mission becomes that much more important when that wait time and crowd density could impact the health and safety of visitors," said Zachary Klima, CEO of WaitTime. "We provide real-time behavior intelligence that shows the ACCC the capacity of their halls, how individuals are moving within them and whether or not people are congregating in ways that may put social distancing at risk."
The Atlantic City Convention Center, located at 1 Convention Blvd, Atlantic City, New Jersey, was designed to incorporate and highlight its beautiful seaside location. It is made up of 500,000 contiguous square feet of event space, five exhibit halls and 45 meeting halls. WaitTime’s go-to systems integrator, KLA Laboratories, will be installing its technology in 10 different locations that will allow ACCC to assess and foster visitors’ efficient progression through the exhibit halls. The solution installation at ACCC was executed from initial presentation to full deployment in just three weeks.
"Technology can play a key role in helping our communities safely re-open,” said Rose Schooler, Corporate Vice President, Global Data Center Sales, Intel. “By optimizing WaitTime’s crowd management solution, fueled by Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel SSDs, combined with Cisco’s Meraki and analytics solutions, the Atlantic City Convention Center will now be able to better manage crowd dynamics in real time.”