Relo Metrics Names Jay Prasad as New CEO, Former LiveRamp TV CSO Set to Lead Next Phase of Company’s Growth Strategy

By Tom Friend

Sports sponsorship intelligence platform Relo Metrics has named Jay Prasad as its new CEO.

Prasad was most recently the chief strategy officer at LiveRamp TV, where he led the company’s broadcast activations and Data Plus Math measurement products, as well as spearheading partnerships with brands, agencies, media conglomerates, OTT/CTV platforms and cable and satellite providers. 

At Relo Metrics, which specializes in AI-infused sponsorship analytics, Prasad will be asked to grow the company’s burgeoning data insights that are deployed by teams in the NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL, CFL, Major League Rugby, the English Premier League and cycling entities. Relo Metrics’ platform allows those teams and leagues — as well as leading brands — to swiftly track a sponsor’s exposure throughout live broadcasts, social media and streams. 

Prasad replaces former CEO Brian Kim, who oversaw the company’s initial foray into the sports sponsorship space. Under Kim, Relo Metrics began partnering with Meshh, a firm that uses a proprietary sensor to track behavioral analytics of consumers at in-venue brand activations. Meshh’s devices, once placed inside a venue, could read WiFi signals from consumers’ smart phones to calculate data such as unique reach, linger time and repeat visits from fans at a given activation.

Scrimmage Raises $600,000 Pre-Seed Round to Support Cryptocurrency-Based Gamified Rewards Betting System

By Andrew Cohen

Scrimmage, a Web3 wallet startup that rewards sports bettors with cryptocurrency, has raised a $600,000 pre-seed round ahead of the company’s launch planned for later this year. The funding round is led by Miami Marlins co-owner Roger Ehrenberg through his Eberg Capital and IA Ventures funds.

Scrimmage has also received funding from Techstars, which included the startup in its Indianapolis Sports Accelerator held earlier this year. The Scrimmage app lets users buy an NFT to earn $SCRIM tokens and link their Scrimmage account to existing accounts they have with legal sports betting operators. Each time a user wins a bet at any of their sportsbook accounts, they will also be rewarded with crypto tokens that can be exchanged for USD.

Sportsbooks compatible to sync user accounts with Scrimmage include DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, BetMGM, PointsBet, Barstool, PrizePicks, Underdog, WynnBet, Borgata and Fox Bet. The founders of Scrimmage are Dan Taren and Matt Dever, two 25-year-olds who previously worked as financial analysts for Bank of America and Citigroup in New York.

Buffalo Bills Sign Multi-Year Deal With Dragon Seats, the Manufacturer and Provider of Patented Heated and Cooling Sports Benches

By Tom Friend

The Buffalo Bills began utilizing Dragon Seats’ climate-controlled sideline benches during its game Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers after finalizing a multi-year deal heading into the colder portion of the NFL season.

Dragon Seats’ hybrid technology can both heat and cool a sideline bench, depending on weather conditions. The company’s agreement with the Bills includes sideline support technicians and an option to deploy accompanying sideline heaters that are safer than the traditional “torpedo’’ heaters used during frigid football games.

The Bills are among roughly 20 NFL teams that partner with Cleveland-based Dragon Seats, including the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and warm-weather Miami Dolphins — who use the company’s cooling technology. Dragon Seats also serves teams in the NHL and NCAA college football.

The benches in Buffalo are intended to warm up a player’s entire body with “heated foot decks” that emit a funnel of hot air upwards and “Hot Hats” that can keep the interior of a player’s helmet warm. The Bills, as a courtesy, are also providing six Dragon Seats to teams on the opposing sideline at Highmark Stadium, meaning the Packers also had access to the hybrid technology on Sunday night.

NBC Sports Next Continues Partnership With NFL’s Salute to Service, Offering Round-Up Offers on GolfNow and TeeOff Booking Platforms

By David Rumsey

The GolfNow and TeeOff booking platforms will once again feature a round-up offer this November as NBC Sports Next, which runs the services, continues its partnership with the NFL’s Salute to Service campaign.

NBC Sports Next’s Better Together initiative will help raise funds for the NFL’s year-round effort around service members, veterans, and their families. Golfers booking rounds through the apps and websites will be able to round up the total cost of the reservation to an even-dollar figure.

The campaign, which raised $100,000 for Salute to Service in 2021, will be promoted across NBC Sports platforms on air, online and social media.

TCS New York City Marathon App Adds New Course Camera Feature for Spectators to Livestream Progress of Individual Runners During Race

By Andrew Cohen

The TCS New York City Marathon App has added a new Course Camera feature for spectators to livestream the progress individual runners during parts of the race. This year’s event will also be the first major marathon to provide mobile app livestreams of the professional men’s and women’s wheelchair and open division races from start to finish.

ESPN and ABC will domestically broadcast the 51st NYC Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 6, while the app will share second screen experiences for fans. The new Course Camera feature lets app users select the specific runner they want to livestream at five key points: at the start, mile 8 in Brooklyn, mile 17 in the Upper East Side, mile 20 in the Bronx, and at the finish. Runners will again wear RFID chips in their bibs provided by Chronotrack so that fans can track their progress on the app, alongside live leaderboards, estimated arrival times, recommended course viewing locations, and social media cheer cards.

Mumbai-based Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has sponsored the NYC Marathon since 2012. New York Road Runners, the event’s organizer, says its mobile app is typically downloaded a half-million times every year.

Denver Broncos Partner With Mental Health and Resilience Platform Headversity, Offering Health and Wellness Solutions to Broncos Staff

By Tom Friend

Mental health provider headversity is bringing its resiliency platform to the Denver Broncos as part of the NFL team’s integrated health and wellness initiative.

The Broncos join the NBA’s Detroit Pistons as the second pro franchise to implement headversity’s solutions app, which provide coping strategies for each teams’ professional staff. The Broncos have made employee wellness a high strategic priority through its human resources department and claim the headversity platform is designed to be preventative, private and personalized.

The headversity program uses mental wellness training technology to help employers support their staff’s behavioral health and psychological safety. The Broncos did not disclose whether its players will have access to the platform.

Earlier this month, the NFLPA’s Professional Athlete Foundation partnered with behavioral health firm Kindbridge to establish confidential virtual group counseling for player-only dialogue. Workplace wellness has expanded beyond being just a trend to now a core component for many employers.

Meta Launches New Mobile Fantasy Game in Partnership With the NFL Called NFL Pick Six

By Andrew Cohen

Meta has launched a new mobile fantasy game called NFL Pick Six in partnership with the league. The free-to-play prediction game is available on Facebook’s mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

Fans are asked to pick the winner of upcoming games for that week and earn points for making correct predictions that are tracked via in-app standings. The game also has a link to bring users to to subscribe for NFL+, the league’s new subscription service for watching games on mobile phones. NFL Pick Six also lets fans share their predictions with friends via Meta’s social platforms.

The game is intended be a casual experience. “It’s just pride on the line,” Rob Shaw, Meta’s director of North America sports partnerships wrote on LinkedIn. Meta’s existing partnership with the NFL includes the Pro Era VR video game for Oculus headsets and virtual avatar apparel made around Super Bowl LVI.

Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Partners With Infinite Reality to Create Company’s First Metaverse Experience

By Joe Lemire

Warner Bros. Discovery Sports partnered with Infinite Reality on a multi-year deal to create its first metaverse experience for one of its European sports properties. 

The first implementation of this partnership will be a metaverse dedicated the UCI Track Champions League, the pro cycling circuit now entering its second season beginning Nov. 12. Along with the immersive Web3 visuals, the experience will feature data points such as bicycle speed and angle when rounding banked turns.

“Over the coming years, by breaking new ground in metaverse experiences around live sports events we will empower fans to engage with sport in new and exciting ways,” François Ribeiro, head of Discovery Sports Events, said in a statement. “We see the preview during the UCI Track Champions League as an outstanding opportunity to open new avenues for storytelling and fan engagement, providing key learnings as we look to extend our partnership to other assets of Discovery Sports Events’ portfolio.”

MLB, Meta Introduce Postseason Debate AR Filter for Fans on Instagram, Facebook

By Andrew Cohen

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.

Power Up NFTs Producing Abbott & Costello ‘Who’s on First’ NFTs, Digital Collectibles Will Drop on First Day of World Series

By Tom Friend

The iconic Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First” comedy sketch — which runs on a continuous loop at the Baseball Hall of Fame — is being commemorated with an NFT that will drop this Friday prior to Game 1 of the Astros-Phillies World Series.

Produced by Power Up NFTs, each of the 8,791 digital collectibles will feature a still frame from the original “Who’s on First,” which first aired on the Kate Smith Radio Show in 1938 and has been called the best comedy skit of the 20th Century by Time Magazine.

The NFTS, to be released through before Game 1 of the Fall Classic on October 28th, can be purchased by the general public via credit card. Through the company Unforgettable Licensing, the NFTs were signed off on by the estates of comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.

Golf Simulator Company Full Swing Releases New Pro 2.0 Simulator With Infrared Tracking, Blue Light LEDs for More Accurate Ball Flight

By Tom Friend

Golf simulator company Full Swing, partially owned by Tiger Woods, has released the latest iteration of its tracking product that combines infrared tracking and high-speed blue light LEDs to create more immediate and accurate ball flight.

Labeled as the Pro 2.0 simulator, the product’s technology includes an ION3 overhead camera that — as a ball is struck — captures club and launch metrics while simultaneously recording high-definition video of the clubhead at impact for precise post-swing analytics. The golf shot then passes four HyperClear cameras which are attached to the front of the screen, enabling the ball to morph from the physical world into the virtual world in real time with no delay.

With standard and wide-screen versions available, the Pro 2.0 Simulator — priced starting at $54,900 — also includes an energy absorbing diffuser screen, a movie-quality projector and industrial grade carpet and hitting mat.

The product is endorsed by Woods, who first invested in the company in 2015 and used an earlier iteration of a Full Swing simulator to return from micro-discectomy back surgery. Later in his career, after a horrific car accident in February of 2021, Woods returned to form using a Full Swing KIT Launch Monitor that he helped design.

Other pro golfers who endorse Full Swing’s new simulator are Patrick Cantlay (ranked fourth on the PGA Tour), Jon Rahm (ranked fifth) and Xander Schauffele (ranked sixth).