Genius Sports Becomes Exclusive Official Data and Integrity Partner for Australian Professional Leagues
The Australian Professional Leagues, which oversees the top men’s and women’s soccer divisions in the country, has selected Genius Sports as its exclusive official data and integrity partner.
Genius Sports will collect and distribute all official data for betting and media partners and will install its Second Spectrum optical tracking system in select A-League venues. The company’s 24/7 bet monitoring technology will also be deployed, by cross-referencing real-time odds and predictive algorithms to identify suspicious activity.
Second Spectrum tracking technology is already in use by the NBA, English Premier League and MLS. Genius Sports is the official data partner of the NFL and EPL. While Genius is the new partner for the professional A Leagues, displacing Champion Data, Stats Perform is in the incumbent partner of Football Australia for event and tracking data.
NBA Launches Official Account on BeReal to Become First Major U.S. Sports League to Establish Presence on Emerging Social Media App
The NBA has launched an official account on BeReal, becoming the first major U.S. sports league to establish a presence on the emerging social media app that’s reached 53 million worldwide downloads according to research from SensorTower. The NBA joined the platform in September and made its first post during the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony.
BeReal is a photo-only platform founded in 2020 but skyrocketed in popularity earlier this year. Users receive a daily notification at a random part of the day alerting them that they have two minutes to post a photo of themselves and their surroundings — intended to nurture more authentic content than what’s often shared on other social media platforms like Instagram. Draymond Green, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Jonathan Kuminga and former NBA star Manu Ginobili are among the players to thus far appear in photos shared by the NBA on BeReal.
“There is a young demographic on the platform and it is appointment viewing. The app is attracting users who are looking for a more authentic social media presence and are highly engaged with the content,” Ashley Atwell, the NBA’s senior director of social content, wrote in an email to SportTechie.
BeReal recently reached a pre-money valuation of $600 million, according to The Information, and its investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, and DST Global. The app is “disrupting” the NBA’s social media strategy as both Instagram and TikTok recently added similar features that prompt users to share content within short windows.
“It is a completely unique platform that only allows you to post once per day. That posting time is dedicated by BeReal’s push notification and only your friends can see the content,” Atwell wrote. “We have seen platforms like Instagram and Snapchat replicate the camera functionality and most recently TikTok developed TikTok Now, which features similar capabilities. The authentic-nature and appointment viewing of BeReal is unique and has disrupted social media strategy.”
One Football Partners With Rough Diamonds to Offer Soccer Fans Jersey NFTs, Serie a ‘Moments’ NFTs
Rough Diamonds, the digital collectible platform mostly devoted to Brazilian soccer stars, is producing jersey NFTs in concert with the soccer-centric media conglomerate OneFootball.
The NFTs are available starting today through OneFootball’s proprietary marketplace Aera, which is the official partner of Serie A and promotes a bevy of Italian-based players and clubs. The collectibles, which include 200 digitally-replicated jerseys, can be obtained by fans with a digital wallet through the Rough Diamonds website.
Fans who obtain an NFT jersey and also buy a pack of “moments” from OneFootball will have a further opportunity to win an autographed shirt from an Italian Serie A Club. OneFootball’s presence has grown internationally after raising $300 million in Series D funding last April, led by Liberty City Ventures. Based in Berlin, the company produced more than 15,000 livestreams and on-demand content clips on its app last year.
EA Sports Launches Accelerator Fund for Women’s Soccer, Internship Program and Begins Partnership With UEFA Women’s Champions League, DAZN
EA Sports pledged its commitment to women’s soccer through a slew of announcements at its Women’s Football Summit, led by investing $11 million to launch the Starting XI Fund, a new accelerant dedicated to the women’s game.
The Starting XI Fund will target wide-ranging opportunities to support women’s leagues, clubs, athletes and in-game experiences. Additionally, EA Sports is beginning a women’s soccer internship program.
EA Sports is also beginning multi-year partnerships with the UEFA Women’s Champions League and its global broadcast partner, DAZN. The knockout stage of UWCL will be added to the FIFA 23 video game, and EA Sports teamed with DAZN to become the global broadcast partner of the UWCL. EA Sports will be become part of DAZN’s match coverage and its YouTube channel.
Previously, EA Sports featured Chelsea striker Sam Kerr on the FIFA 23 cover, the first woman to be so included, and deployed its XSens-powered Hypermotion2 technology on a women’s match for accurate motion capture data that will enable more realistic gameplay.
Soccer Icon Lionel Messi Launches Holding Company to Invest in Sports, Media and Technology Globally
Soccer icon Lionel Messi has launched a stage agnostic holding company that is looking to invest in sports technology worldwide.
Messi’s company, known as Play Time Sports-Tech HoldCo LLC, has already poured money into two soccer-centric startups: the upcoming interactive website Matchday.com and market app AC Momento. According to Bloomberg, Messi’s apparent mission at Play Time is to fund soccer technology firms or invest in teams.
Based in San Francisco, the company will be led by Razmig Hovaghimian, a partner at the venture capital firm Graph Ventures and co-founder of Matchday.com, which is expected to launch just prior to the FIFA World Cup in November. Hovaghimian has also enlisted Michael Marquez — the founding partner of investment bank Code Advisors LLC — as a special advisor.
This past March, Messi also became a global ambassador for the fan token company Socios in a deal that paid him $20 million over three years, according to Reuters. Messi’s social media presence, which includes 400 million followers, has made him a desirable business partner.
Brooklyn Nets, New York Liberty and Webull Open Technology Hub for Nonprofit Digital Girl to Encourage Young Girls to Pursue Careers in STEM
The Brooklyn Nets, New York Liberty helped open a new technology hub in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, for Digital Girl, an NYC nonprofit whose focus is to empower inner-city girls to pursue career opportunities in STEM. The teams and their jersey sponsor Webull partnered to donate $250,000 to build the space, which will offer free classes and certificates on topics such as web design, robotics, computing and data analysis and computer science.
Desktop Macs, PC computers, and a 3D printer are among the free resources in the technology hub, which will offer courses for local children, adults, and seniors. Nets guard Joe Harris and Liberty forward Michaela Onyenwere joined local students on Monday at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new space, which saw volunteer employees from both teams paint a mural outside the technology hub in Crown Heights.
Digital Girl has taught computer science subjects to more than 9,000 New Yorkers since Michelle Gall founded the nonprofit in 2014 to increase the number of women and people of color in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) professions. Other initiatives aimed at diversifying STEM fields include Serena Williams’s investment made in April in job interviewing platform Karat with the goal to hire 100,000 Black software engineers.
Solider Field Installs New Cloud-Based Parking Management System in Partnership With Parking Technology Company Amano McGann
Soldier Field, home to the NFL’s Chicago Bears and the Chicago Fire of MLS, has installed a new cloud-based parking management system in partnership with parking technology company Amano McGann. The stadium now has 20 parking lanes equipped with Amano One touchscreen hardware units for fans to make parking payments with their credit cards.
Amano additionally provides cloud-based software for venue operators to view real-time data on the number of parking spots available and occupied, as well as categorizing those spots by parking type such as temporary, employee, or long-term. The Miami Marlins implemented a similar parking management software with Genetec this past MLB season.
The Bears have played at Soldier Field since 1971 and have a lease to remain at the stadium through 2033, but they can leave as soon as 2026 by paying an $84 million penalty. The Bears have been talking with local government officials about eventually relocating to a stadium in Arlington Heights, a suburb about 25 miles northwest of downtown Chicago.
Bleacher Report to Host Alternate Live Streams of ALCS Games 1, 4 in B/R App, Live Chat Available for Fans to Interact With Broadcasters
Bleacher Report will produce alternative late-inning streams of Games 1 and 4 of the upcoming American League Championship Series that will allow fans to live-chat with broadcasters during the game’s tense moments. Game 1 of the ALCS between the New York Yankees and Houston Astros is slated for this Wednesday, with Game 4 scheduled for Sunday.
Available through the B/R app, the exclusive seventh, eighth and ninth inning streams will feature Emmy-Award winning announcer Jaime Maggio, former MLB outfielder Dexter Fowler, Los Angeles Dodgers host Kirsten Watson and current Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen. B/R is utilizing the regular TBS game-feed via TV Everywhere authentication to enable the interaction between fans and on-air talent.
B/R claims it will keep the streams rolling during commercial breaks, when Maggio, Fowler and Gallen will react to MLB-related tweets and viewer comments within the app. B/R has produced similar alternative streams for the NBA and NHL as it explores real-time interactive broadcasting. A subsidiary of Turner Sports, B/R previously unveiled fourth-quarter NBA livestreams featuring basketball YouTuber Kenny Beecham and also first-period NHL streams with hockey YouTuber Andrew Telfer (known as Nasher).
The Bleacher Report app has been heading in this innovative direction since 2019, when Turner Sports made plans to merge its B/R Live OTT streaming platform into its regular B/R app. The media company also launched direct messaging within its mobile app at that time to enhance communication between its users, which is now coming to the forefront during this month’s ALCS.
MLB, Meta Introduce Postseason Debate AR Filter for Fans on Instagram, Facebook
Meta is working with MLB to introduce a new augmented reality filter for fans on Instagram and Facebook this postseason. Fans can activate the new MLB Postseason Debate AR effect to engage with popular MLB discussion topics by tilting their head to answer questions on their phone screen.
The smartphone camera-based AR feature can be turned on via the effects tab on MLB’s Instagram and Facebook accounts. Questions asked include, “Who will win AL MVP” with fans able to lean their head right or left to vote for Aaron Judge or Shohei Ohtani, as well as “AL or NL – Which league will win the World Series?” MLB posted a video on its Instagram account of Cleveland Guardians pitcher Triston McKenzie answering questions via the AR effect.
MLB has gained more than one million followers on Instagram this year and generated more than two billion video views on the app. MLB’s longstanding relationship with Meta includes livestreaming select games for MLB.TV subscribers in virtual reality through Oculus Quest headsets and previously saw the league livestream 25 games for free on Facebook Watch during the 2018 season.
MLB, Candy Digital Offering Commemorative NFT Tickets to Postseason Fans
Fans attending MLB postseason contests can receive commemorative NFT tickets that will update with pertinent game photos within 24 hours of the event.
The NFTs or digital ticket stubs, produced by the league’s digital collectible partner Candy Digital, will also feature game details such as matchups, the venue and the starting time — a first for MLB.
In addition, fans who also bought MLB ICON Leadoff Series NFTs in April have the opportunity on October 21st to find eight randomly placed World Series digital tokens. Each of those World Series Token NFTs can be traded in for two tickets to this season’s actual World Series.
This year, Candy Digital appealed to the baseball audience by constantly updating player stats on its MLB ICON Leadoff Series NFTs. Its inaugural baseball NFT, on July 4th, 2021, was a 1-of-1 token of Lou Gehrig delivering his “Luckiest Man” speech in 1939 following his diagnosis of ALS.
The company followed that up this season with a series of licensed NFTs commemorating the 40-year anniversary of Cal Ripken’s dynamic rookie season of 1982. Those NFTs featured archived video highlights from the ’82 season along with other footage narrated by Ripken himself.
In August, Candy Digital announced their latest college football NFT drop featuring 17 student-athletes, including Texas running back Bijan Robinson, Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa and Oregon QB Bo Nix. The company initially entered the college football NFT space in 2021 with its Candy Sweet Futures Collection and debuted a college basketball version in March of 2022, as well.
WSC Sports to Use Their AI Technology to Create and Distribute Automated Video Highlights for Mobile Streaming Service Migu
WSC Sports is integrating its proprietary automation tools with mobile streaming service Migu to create real-time video and highlight solutions for China’s top sports broadcast entity.
The partnership enhances Migu’s ability to disseminate instant, short-form content across its platforms and social media outlets. The Chinese media conglomerate has broadcast rights to as many as 30 different sports leagues, producing more than 8,000 sporting events and 16,000 total hours a year. Migu also averages 20 game broadcasts a day.
WSC Sports’ artificial intelligence and machine learning technology will allow Migu to distribute real-time video content to its China audience from leagues such as the Chinese Basketball Association, English Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and the NBA.
Migu has long had aspirations to stream U.S. sports since striking its multi-platform and marketing partnership with the NBA in 2018, its first with a North American sports league. That deal enabled Migu to show daily NBA highlights, behind-the-scenes videos, original programming content and classic NBA games, all while integrating 4K resolution and VR into the viewer experience.
Migu also has a deal to show Shanghai Football Association games with the help of Pixellot’s unmanned cameras. But WSC Sports allows Migu to produce AI-induced video highlights for all of its content.
Tel Aviv-based WSC Sports — which in February raised an $100 million Series D to enter the betting space — has other similar partnerships with Shenzhen-based Tencent and China Central Television as it continues its growth in the region. The tech company already creates and disseminates video clips for more than 250 leagues and broadcast partners such as the NBA, NFL, NHL, NASCAR, ESPN, Warner Media, YouTubeTV, Bundesliga, FIBA, FanDuel and Extreme E Racing.