UAE Emirates Road Cycling Signs MyWhoosh At-Home Cyclist Michael Vink to Team for 2023 Season
Professional cycling club UAE Team Emirates has decided to sign Michael Vink to its 2023 roster after being impressed with his results on the virtual cycling app MyWhoosh. Vink, 30, has biked professionally since 2013 with some success in his native New Zealand, but purportedly caught the attention of UEA Team management after his stationary indoor finishes on MyWhoosh.
“While [Vink] has had some good results on the road before, we really became more aware of him through his performances on MyWhoosh,” Mauro Gianetti, Team Principal and CEO of UAE Team Emirates, said in a statement. “Throughout the year our riders use MyWhoosh as depending on the weather it’s not always possible or practical to train outside. In some of these races we began to see Michael’s name popping up at the top of the results and contact was made.”
The cycling team put Vink through further training tests before signing him to a contract for next season. MyWhoosh, which was founded in the UAE, has existing sponsorships with UAE Team Emirates and the World Triathlon Championship Finals in Abu Dhabi. The MyWhoosh app connects to indoor bike trainers for users to pick from over 700 workouts and digital cycling courses streamed on a screen in front of them as they ride their stationary bike.
Power Up NFTs Producing Abbott & Costello ‘Who’s on First’ NFTs, Digital Collectibles Will Drop on First Day of World Series
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. The NFT was released through WhosOnFirstNFT.com before Game 1 of the Astros-Phillies World Series on Oct. 28th and can be purchased by the general public via credit card.
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.
Through the company Unforgettable Licensing, the NFTs were signed off on by the estates of comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
T-Mobile to Provide 5G Advanced Network Solutions for Formula 1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix in November 2023
T-Mobile will install and operate its 5G Advanced Network Solutions for Formula 1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix when the race debuts in November 2023.
The telecom provider will make the infrastructure upgrade necessary to permanently boost its 5G network around the 3.8-mile course as well as in the new paddock, garages and pits. As part of a race launch party this Saturday, T-Mobile’s network will help operate a show with 400 drones illuminating the sky. (T-Mobile is also a partner of and investor in the Drone Racing League.)
T-Mobile also pledges to offer fans immersive, 5G-powered experiences, although details have not yet been announced. Verizon deployed its 5G ultra-wideband network in similar fashion for the inaugural Miami F1 Grand Prix last May.
FIFA World Cup Qatar Sponsor vivo Debuts ‘Give It a Shot’ Campaign for Fans to Join Soccer Challenges on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook
Mobile-tech conglomerate vivo, the official smart phone of the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar, has launched a “Give It a Shot” campaign that will reward fans who post the most creative soccer-centric photos or videos on social media.
Entrants must use vivo smart phones to create their posts on platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and Facebook along with the tag line: #vivogiveitashot. The contest will run from now until Nov. 16, with the 10 winners being awarded a new vivo smart phone and an official FIFA football.
The actual FIFA World Cup Qatar runs from Nov. 20 through Dec. 18. Based in China, vivo’s new X Fold+ — scheduled to launch on the mainland of China in conjunction with the tournament — is being touted as the first official foldable smart phone in FIFA’s history. FIFA first signed a six-year sponsorship deal with vivo in 2017, and the company’s innovative X Fold + will be utilized by organizers during the preparation and staging of World Cup matches.
NASCAR Set to Open Its First Amazon Just Walk Out Concession Store at Phoenix Raceway During Championship Weekend
Phoenix Raceway will open its first Amazon Just Walk Out concession store for this week’s NASCAR Championship Weekend, marking the debut of Amazon Just Walk Out shopping and Amazon One palm-recognition payments at a professional racetrack. The store will be located at the track’s Section 151 Pit Stop and will sell snacks and beverages for fans.
Fans enter the store by inserting their credit card at a kiosk or by hovering their palm over Amazon’s entry device if they previously registered their palm with their Amazon ID. Computer vision cameras and sensors in the store enable shoppers to grab items off shelves and walk out as their credit card is charged for the items they picked up. Fans can register for Amazon One at enrollment kiosks located outside the store at Phoenix Raceway.
Amazon Just Walk Out stores are in sports venues such as Crypto.com Arena, Climate Pledge Arena, TD Garden, UBS Arena, Kyle Field, United Center, Minute Maid Park, T-Mobile Park, and Lumen Field. A few of those checkout-free stores also offer Amazon One palm-recognition, including Climate Pledge Arena’s recent expansion of Amazon One to three concession stands in addition to its existing presence inside four Just Walk Out stores. The deployment marks the first time Amazon One has been used outside a Just Walk Out store in a sports and entertainment setting.
Brentford FC Partners With Sega to Support Launch of Football Manager 23 Video Game
Premier League club Brentford FC has partnered with Sega to support this month’s launch of Football Manager 23.
Football Manager, which is published by Sega’s wholly-owned subsidiary Sports Interactive, is a leading simulation game that has attracted significant crossover interest with professional clubs, most notably back in 2008 when Everton signed a deal to receive full access to the game’s player database. Brentford is among the sport’s most data-driven clubs, having ascended from fourth-division League Two up to the EPL over the past 14 years. Its home venue, Gtech Community Stadium, is adjacent to Sega’s European head office.
“Just like at Brentford FC, the Football Manager game allows the user to understand data and analytics to advise on their decision-making around player trading, talent development and matchday team selection,” Brentford commercial director James Parkinson said in a statement.
Added Richard Trafford, the head of partnerships and business development at Sports Interactive, “The Club’s strategic approach to player recruitment is a model all Football Manager players attempt to emulate. The partnership is a natural fit and we will be working with the Club across a number of fan-led activations in the coming months including a FM Matchday Predictor Game and training ground experience.”
Mythical Games Releases Official Trailer for NFL Rivals, the First NFL and NFLPA Officially Licensed Video Game on the Blockchain
Mythical Games has released a sneak preview of NFL Rivals, a blockchain video game officially licensed by the NFL and NFLPA.
Available on mobile devices, the actual NFL Rivals blockchain free-to-play game is scheduled to launch in 2023. The newly released trailer features pre-alpha footage of the arcade-style 9-on-9 football game, which includes actual NFL player names, exaggerated runs, catches and tackles and demonstrative celebrations.
The teaser also provides a look at the core gameplay modes and options that include constructing your team as a general manager. The video clip also shows how gamers can own, collect and trade NFTs of NFL players.
In addition, NFL Rivals is integrating Rarity League NFTs into its ecosystem — NFL-licensed and fan-inspired helmets sold as digital collectibles. The Rarity League’s NFT helmets for the Rams and Bengals, last season’s Super Bowl teams, were previously sold in August for 0.14 Ethereum, the rough equivalent of $216. Rarity League NFT helmets for the remaining 30 NFL teams will be up for sale starting on Nov. 15 on Rarityleague.com.
Customers who purchase Rarity League collectibles also gain early access to buy NFL Rivals player NFTs, get to take part in exclusive in-game tournaments that feature rare NFTs as prizes and get early access to NFL Rivals’ private Beta.
Whoop Enters Brick-and-Mortar Retail With Devices, Accessories Available in More Than 200 Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods Stores in the U.S.
Wearable health and fitness leader Whoop will begin selling its devices in more than 200 Best Buy and Dick’s Sporting Goods stores in the U.S., marking the company’s foray into brick-and-mortar retail. Online sites for Best Buy and Dick’s will also now sell wearables from Whoop, which has raised $400 million to date at a $3.6 billion valuation.
Best Buy and Dick’s locations will sell the wrist-worn Whoop 4.0 health and fitness tracker for $300, as well accompanying accessories such as the Battery Pack 4.0 and SuperKnit Bands. Whoop’s products also include membership plans starting at $30 per month to give users access to the Whoop app to view insights on their sleep, muscle strain, recovery and nutrition. Over the past year, Whoop has added a Menstrual Cycle Coach feature to give users the options to track their menstrual cycle in the app to receive personalized training and sleep recommendations based on different phases of their cycles.
Star athletes to invest in Whoop include Kevin Durant, Patrick Mahomes, Larry Fitzgerald, Eli Manning, Rory McIlroy, and Justin Thomas. Athletes across pro and college sports regularly Whoop, whose wearable data has appeared in broadcasts for the PGA Tour, the WTA, and NASCAR.
Snapchat Renews Content Partnership With Sky Sports UK to Include Premier League, Women’s Super League Soccer Highlights, Talk Shows, More
Snapchat and Sky Sports UK have renewed a content deal that will now include short-form video clips from the Premier League, the Women’s Super League and the UK’s soccer version of Monday Night Football.
Sky Sports UK’s made-for-mobile content will be disseminated on Snapchat Discover, which had a global audience of 25 million in the second quarter of 2022. Specifically, Snapchat Discover will show highlights from each Premier League football match, as well as Women’s Super League game highlights, a WSL talk show, behind-the-scenes footage, selected goals, clips from the Sky Sports show Soccer AM, Britain’s Monday Night Football and football news updates.
The overall programming is Sky Sports’ largest collaboration with Snapchat, which — based on its large audience during the Men’s and Women’s Euros 2022 — believes its viewership will grow exponentially during the upcoming FIFA World Cup and the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
Snapchat habitually has added augmented reality elements to its soccer coverage, recently joining with LaLiga on a content platform deal that includes AR lenses and in-app integrations such as Bitmojis, Cameos, filters and stickers. Since September, Snapchat Discover has also been streaming LaLiga’s weekly football highlights, archival footage as well as top goals and saves — similar to its new deal with the English Premier League.
Meanwhile, the EPL recently implemented its own skeletal tracking into broadcast coverage through an update to Second Spectrum technology and an expanded partnership with analytics provider Football DataCo.
Blockchain Software Company Chain Becomes Shooting Sleeve Sponsor, Official Web3 Infrastructure Partner for Miami Heat
Blockchain software company Chain has become the shooting sleeve sponsor of the Miami Heat. The advertising partnership names Chain the exclusive web3 and blockchain infrastructure partner of the team, which plays its home games at FTX Arena.
Chain will be the first company to have its logo on the Heat’s shooting shirts worn during warm-ups since the NBA expanded its jersey patch program last year to include shooting shirts and warm-up jackets last year. The new deal marks the second major sports sponsorship for Chain since its agreement in September with Kraft Sports + Entertainment that includes promotions with the NFL’s Patriots and Revolution in MLS.
Miami mayor Francis Suarez has pushed to position the city as a crypto capital of the world, including his endorsement of the MiamiCoin cryptocurrency. The Heat will promote Chain on the team’s social media platforms and through game day activations. Chain was founded in 2014 and has raised more than $40 million in funding from investors such as Khosla Ventures, Capital One, Citigroup, Fiserv, Nasdaq and Visa.
Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars Selects Second Cohort of 10 Sports and Entertainment Startups, Including Backr and Virtual Tables
The Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars has selected its second cohort of 10 sports and entertainment startups to continue developing their products in the Twin Cities for the next three months through Demo Day on Feb. 15, 2023.
The 10 chosen companies for the Twins accelerator hail from seven states and three countries, including the UK and Nigeria. Each of the first two cohorts have featured six founders from historically marginalized groups. Products from two of the startups in the first batch, AWSM Sauce and EDGE Sound Research, were used in Target Field during the 2022 MLB season.
The second annual accelerator class includes:
- Backr, a sports media platform helping fans follow favorite athletes more than teams
- Biaah, an app facilitating singing practice rooted in mindfulness and wellbeing
- Brave Virtual Worlds, a quick-setup, sensor-based motion capture system that works with a smartphone camera
- FanBants, a fantasy gaming and fan community platform for African sports fans
- Flustr, a short-form video app in which users showcase their talents and compete head-to-head against others
- TicketRev, a reverse ticket marketplace in which fans name their price and let resellers decide whether to accept the bid
- United Market, a network for music creatives and executives to connect and collaborate
- Vesta, a local event registration and promotion platform
- Virtual Tables, a fan engagement app offering live digital autographs
- Whitebalance, an AI-powered video production studio
The Twins launched the program in April 2021 in order to “build our brand, expand our business, and diversify and increase our fanbase — really reach a younger, non-fan if you will,” as Joe Pohlad, the Twins’ EVP of brand strategy and growth, told SportTechie at the time.