Fresno State’s Cavinder Twins Sponsor Sleeper, First College Athletes to Endorse Fantasy Sports
Fresno State basketball players Hanna and Haley Cavinder have reached marketing deals with fantasy sports app Sleeper. The twin sisters are the first college athletes to have a paid sponsorship with a fantasy sports brand.
The Cavinder twins will join their friends and family in an NBA fantasy league on Sleeper and will post updates on their fantasy teams to their social media accounts throughout the NBA season.
As sophomores during the 2020-21 season, Haley was named Mountain West Player of the Year, while Hanna made the All-Mountain West Team. Their large social media followings have helped the duo land other NIL deals with brands such as Boost Mobile, Six Star Pro Nutrition and PSD Underwear.
Sleeper’s fantasy sports platform has more than three million users. The company raised $40 million last month with investors such as NBA stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.
Perfect Game Will Expand Tech-Infused Batting Cage to 140+ Baseball Recruitment Events
Amateur baseball showcase company Perfect Game and K-Motion, makers of a popular biomechanics sensor vest, announced the wide availability of their tech-laden batting cage at more than 140 upcoming PG events in 2022.
The PG Tech cage offers a full suite of player evaluation tools. The K-Motion vest assesses motion in 3D and, in particular, a hitter’s kinematic sequence—the order in which his body segments generate force. Edgertronic high-speed cameras capture movement in rich visual detail. Pocket Radars will calculate ball speed. TrackMan radars will provide ball tracking data, such as exit velocity and launch angle. Diamond Kinetics bat sensors are used to evaluate swing path and speed.
The widespread release of PG Tech follows a beta trial of 4,000 players that began in early 2021. Data collected from the cage is uploaded to a player’s profile for review by pro scouts, college coaches and the player himself to use as a guide for improvement. Perfect Game considers itself the foremost scouting organization in baseball, claiming a cumulative 1,647 Major League players and 13,325 MLB draft picks have attended their showcases and tournaments.
“PG Tech sits at the intersection of old-school and new-school methods of coaching and scouting,” former MLB general manager Bill Bavasi said in a statement. “What we see with our eyes is confirmed through PG Tech data analysis, which also picks up what our eyes do not see or are not capable of seeing.”
Coinbase has signed a multi-year deal to become the exclusive cryptocurrency platform partner of the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and USA Basketball. Coinbase is the first crypto company to sign with the NBA.
Coinbase’s brand will appear during nationally-televised NBA broadcasts, starting with tonight’s tip-off games on TNT. The company has also been named presenting partner of the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup and USA Basketball men’s and women’s exhibition tours, as well as with the G League Ignite — a team that consists mostly of top high school basketball recruits.
“As a trusted cryptocurrency platform used by millions, Coinbase is a natural fit as the NBA’s first-ever partner in this thriving category,” Kerry Tatlock, the NBA’s SVP of global marketing partnerships and media, said in a statement. “We look forward to collaborating with Coinbase to provide fans with new ways to engage with the league and each other, while also enhancing the experience for fans who are already Coinbase users.”
Coinbase, which lets users buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin, was founded in 2012 and went public on the Nasdaq in April. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Coinbase has asked Congress to create a new regulator to oversee crypto assets in the U.S., rather than handing that responsibility to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
While Coinbase is the NBA’s first cryptocurrency sponsor, several teams have already partnered with crypto firms. Cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which also sponsors MLB, bought naming rights to the Miami Heat’s arena in April. Crypto rewards app StockX is the jersey patch partner of the Portland Trail Blazers, while the Philadelphia 76ers made Crypto.com their jersey patch sponsor last month.
New Jersey Bettors Exceed $1 Billion in Sports Wagers in September, Breaking Their Own One-Month Record
Bettors in New Jersey placed $1.1 billion in sports wagers in September, making New Jersey the first U.S. state to see $1 billion bet on sports in a single month.
The record-breaking month included $918.4 million wagered via online sportsbooks — 90.8% of the state’s total sports betting. FanDuel was New Jersey’s leading online sportsbook for September, while PointsBet had the second-biggest market share in the state, according to PlayNJ.com.
“As impressive as September was, New Jersey’s sports betting market hasn’t yet reached its ceiling. The NBA and college basketball seasons could really send wagering into another stratosphere in the coming months,” Eric Ramsey, an analyst for PlayNJ.com, said in a statement.
The previous single-month sports betting record for a U.S. state was $996.3 million, also set by New Jersey in Dec. 2020. Last month saw $400.8 million bet in New Jersey on NFL and college football alone — dwarfing the $185.2 million bet on baseball.
Garden State sports betting operators generated $82.4 million in revenue last month, nearly double the $45.1 million made by operators in Sept. 2020. Sports bettors produced $12.1 million in state and local taxes for NJ last month.
SeventySix Capital Invests in Three Startups Spanning AR, NFTs and Sports Betting
Sports technology investment firm SeventySix Capital has announced it will fund augmented reality developer Quintar, marketing company NFT Pro and sports betting social network app Lucra Sports.
Quintar partnered with the PGA Tour in August to launch an augmented reality app that lets fans view ShotLink data and 3D graphics during tournaments at certain PGA Tour courses. NFT PRO creates marketing campaigns for brands executing NFT activations and has worked with Italian soccer club Juventus and Lamborghini.
Lucra Sports is a social betting app that lets users create betting props to send to their friends. For example, a user can wager $10 on Tom Brady to throw more touchdowns than Patrick Mahomes, and choose how much the bet would pay out. The terms of the bet are then sent to their friend to be accepted or declined.
SeventySix Capital has previously invested in startups such as ShotTracker, Swish Analytics and U.S. Integrity. Last month, SeventySix Capital launched its second fund that’s aiming to secure at least $50 million in investments. The fund’s investors include Pittsburgh Pirates owner Robert Nutting, Arthur Blank’s AMBSE Ventures and Buffalo Bills wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
DraftKings NFT Marketplace Partners With Blockchain Developer Polygon
DraftKings has signed a strategic partnership with Polygon, an infrastructure developer for the Ethereum blockchain. Polygon’s network will expand the blockchain capabilities of DraftKings Marketplace, the digital collectibles site that launched in partnership with Tom Brady’s NFT platform Autograph in August.
“Scalability and sustainability remain among the critical challenges of blockchain technology, so as we lay the groundwork today for the vision of DraftKings Marketplace tomorrow, the vast insights and proven products from Polygon around scalable solutions are invaluable,” DraftKings co-founder Paul Liberman said in a statement.
DraftKings now has the option to become a validator for the Polygon blockchain, which would let DraftKings create blocks and provide infrastructure security for Polygon. The deal also aligns DraftKings with Polygon Studios, which has helped create blockchain-backed games such as Zed Run virtual horse racing.
DraftKings Marketplace has enabled users to buy and sell NFTs of star athletes partnered with Brady’s Autograph platform, such as Derek Jeter, Wayne Gretzky, Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles. DraftKings plans to eventually let its collectors transfer NFTs to their own digital wallets on Ethereum Mainnet.
Spalding Releases Easy-to-Install Basketball Hoop, Claims Assembly Is 30 Minutes or Less
Spalding has designed a new basketball hoop it says can be assembled in 30 minutes or less rather than three-to-five hours, like most portable baskets. The company also introduced an augmented reality feature that enables prospective buyers to visualize what the hoop will look like in your driveway prior to purchase.
Spalding’s new Momentous EZ Assembly hoop is manufactured to be more pre-assembled than prior models. Much of the unit can simply be unfolded and placed upright for use. The hope is to make the product—and the sport—more accessible. Premium versions of the Momentous also include the first clear glass backboard for portable baskets. The rim height can be adjusted from 8-feet-to-10-feet and comes with a breakaway rim.
“The basketball hoop assembly process needed to be easier and more enjoyable – that was made clear to us through analyzing reviews throughout the category and from focus groups of athletes, parents and coaches,” Spalding global marketing manager Ben Simms said in a statement. “Our challenge was creating a mostly pre-assembled hoop, without increasing price or packaging size, or losing quality/stability, in an effort to produce a fast-to-assemble product.”
Google Pixel smartphone has been named the official fan phone of the NBA as a result of Google’s new multi-year deal with the league. Google Pixel will now be the first-ever presenting sponsor of the NBA playoffs broadcast on ESPN and TNT.
Google’s smartphone will also serve as the presenting partner of the NBA G League Playoffs and NBA 2K League All-Star Game. Google and the NBA will also make apps on the Google Play Store for fans to engage with Google’s 3D and AR technology.
The expanded NBA deal also sees Google become the official fan insights partner and search engine of the NBA. The NBA, G League, and 2K League will utilize Google Trends to share real-time Google search data related to each league throughout their seasons.
Google also owns YouTube, whose YouTube TV streaming service has been the presenting sponsor of the NBA Finals since 2018. In May, Google announced a deal to become an official marketing and technology partner of the WNBA.
MLB Considers New Streaming Service to Let Fans Watch Local Teams Without Cable
Major League Baseball is considering the launch of a streaming service that would let fans without cable watch their hometown teams in their local markets. The nationwide service could launch as early as 2023, according to the New York Post.
The streaming platform would reportedly offer the same game broadcast carried by local TV networks and would cost between $10 to $20 per month, depending on a user’s home market. MLB.TV, the league’s out-of-market service that does not allow fans to stream games within their home television territory, would continue to operate alongside this new service.
“The accurate statement would be that Sinclair does not have enough digital rights from enough clubs in order to have a viable direct-to-consumer product,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said at last week’s CAA World Congress of Sports conference. “We believe those digital rights are crucial. We want to own and control the platform on which they’re delivered, we may have partners in that process.”
The Post adds that the NBA and NHL might partner with MLB to launch the new streaming service. Complicating the league’s plans is Sinclair Broadcast Group’s desire to launch its own streaming service. Sinclair televises 14 MLB, 16 NBA and 12 NHL teams on its Bally Sports regional networks after paying $9.6 billion for those rights in 2019 as part of Disney’s sale of 21 Fox regional networks.
“They [Sinclair] paid $10 billion. It’s not clear it’s a good deal with $5 billion,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said at the World Congress of Sports. “For now, clearly, the [cable] bundle’s broken. We’re trying with them to work through those issues.”
Seattle Seahawks to Begin Hosting Online Esports Tournaments
The Seattle Seahawks have launched Seahawks Sandbox, a new gaming community that will host weekly esports tournaments throughout the NFL season. Esports tournament software Rival will organize the online tournaments.
Seahawks Sandbox will host tournaments across sports games such as Madden, NBA2K, FIFA and NHL, as well as non-sports games Minecraft, Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. Participants can play across Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch and PC. More than $5,000 will be rewarded in prize money.
Gamers can also earn rewards points through Rival to be redeemed for Seahawks merchandise. The Seahawks also launched a new YouTube channel to create videos with gaming influencers, making Seattle the first NFL team to have its own YouTube channel dedicated to gaming.
“We are always looking for opportunities to further engage with our fans off the field, and we know esports and gaming is something both our fans and players enjoy,” Seahawks chief operating officer David Young said in a statement.
FuboTV Bets on NASCAR, Signs Gaming Deal With the Racing League
Fubo Sportsbook has reached an agreement with NASCAR to become an authorized gaming operator for the league. The gaming deal is Fubo’s first in auto racing and will see Fubo’s mobile sports betting app promoted at NASCAR race tracks.
Fubo, which began as a sports streaming service before forming its gaming subsidiary earlier this year, plans to launch its Fubo Sportsbook app in Q4 of 2021. The company has also recently signed gaming sponsorships with the New York Jets and Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Whether it’s the casual viewer or die-hard race fan, Fubo Sportsbook’s innovative approach to sports wagering brings a more exciting experience for our audience as they’re able to interact with the sport in new ways,” Joseph Solosky, managing director of sports betting at NASCAR, said in a statement.
FuboTV began its pivot to become a betting operator in January when it bought sports betting startup Vigtory. Fubo plans to launch an interactive experience that merges its betting app with its live sports streaming platform.