⌚ 👓 New Apple Watch to measure hydration? Hybrid AR/VR headset coming. Sports Tech Invest. Up +177% in July/August. Crypto Salary is the new hot thing in soccer.

Dear Colleague,

The past 30 days have been busy in the world of sports. In the world of soccer, Italy shocked the world by winning the European soccer championship. In the basketball world, the Bucks won their first NBA title in 50 years.

The Tokyo Olympics was a success with 11,000 athletes competing in the Tokyo Games at 42 venues around Japan. Athletes competed in 339 medal events, representing 205 national Olympic committees, with one team made up of refugees.

In Tennis, Djokovic is now looking to get ahead of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal by hoping to win the US Open tennis tournament starting on August 30.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, Lynx offered more details on its hybrid AR/VR headset. In the world of wearables, Apple is now rumored to soon offer an Apple Watch capable of measuring hydration. Fitbit also doubled down on glucose with LifeScan partnership, and Garmin launched some new features for the Fenix 6. In the blockchain/NFT world, McKinsey published a new report on NFT in Sports. NFT legend Tom Brady officially launched its NFT platform Autograph, and Messi launched his first NFT. Speaking of Messi, which got traded to PSG, he made headlines as his wage package includes cryptocurrency ”$PSG Fan Tokens.” In addition, Boxer legend Floyd Mayweather launched his own NFTs. The UFC also teamed up with Panini to launch the Panini UFC NFTs, which will be available for purchase on the Panini NFT Blockchain Platform. Lastly, Lisbon-based company RealFevr dropped their very first NFT collection of soccer moments on August 12. 

In the world of sports tech investments, investments were up +177% in August. You can see the details in the investments section below.


As a reminder, we launched our new Upside Global platform to bring together our sports, tech & health community of 2,500 executives under a single web platform. Members include executives from the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB, Laliga, English Premiere League, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Series A, Brazilian soccer league, Olympic teams, Pro tennis, as well as representatives of startups, brands, VCs, and athletes.

If you are a head athletic trainer, CTO, CMO of a major sports team or league looking to connect with the most innovative startups or connect with your peers to network, or if you are a startup CEO looking to connect with top teams or investors, you can join our Upside community of executives from the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLBLaliga, English Premiere League, Olympic teams, top VCs, startups (AR, VR, wearables, sleep tech..) and more!

Your opportunity for growth starts now, create your free executive profile today to join our online community and click on “become a member today” as a first step. It is free to join! It only take one minute to create your profile.

Join the Upside online community

If you face any problems during the registration process, please click on the live support button on our website.


📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Month

⭐ Upside Analysis: The NFT Sports Market: Key Players, Trends, Recommendations to Teams

⭐ Upside Product Reviews of the Month: Notemeal

🔗  McKinsey’s take on NFT in Sports

🔗  Brady's Autograph platform is live, Messi's first NFT

🎮  Lynx offers more details on its hybrid AR/VR headset 

⌚ Future Apple Watch band may include hydration sensor, after years of research

⌚ Fitbit doubles down on glucose with LifeScan partnership

⌚​ ​Garmin launches new features for Fenix 6

💸 Startup investment recap (July/August 2021)

📊 Tech Stats of the month

📸 Snapshots of the Month

Let’s jump right into the insights and upside for all of these top stories


⭐ Upside Analysis: The NFT Sports Market: Key Players, Trends, Recommendations to Teams.

Over the past 12 months there has been a lot of hype about the  NFT Sports market with many sports teams, leagues (NBA, AS Roma..), athletes (Tom Brady, Osaka, Tiger Woods..), and major tech funds (Andreessen Horowitz) getting into the space. This brings the following questions: Is the NFT Sports market real? Is it a fad? Where is the market heading? In this analysis, we will go over those questions and discuss where we believe the market is heading. Lastly, we will provide recommendations to any pro teams and leagues looking to get into the NFT Sports market. 

To Read the full Upside analysis, click here.


Upside Podcast Interviews of the Month

🔥 Upside Chat: Pierre Barrieu, High Performance Director, Toronto FC (MLS)

🔥 Upside Chat: Luc Julia, Renault's Chief Scientific Officer, Ex Siri/Apple/Samsung exec, On the Future of AI

🔥 Upside Chat: Dr Ron Dick, Duquesne University on COVID-19, The Tokyo Olympics, Student Athletes Getting Paid.

🔥Upside Chat: Alberto Maiorana, Sorare (NFT Sports leader)


Upside Product Reviews of the Month

To learn more about Notemeal a leading online platform for dietitians and nutritionists used by 50 pro teams (NFL, NBA, NCAA, Olympics team..), click here.  On note, the Notemeal’s online platform offers meal plans, menu suggestions. food log, body composition, recipe builder, ingredient analysis, and more. 

You have a sports tech product and want to have reviews from top pro teams? You are a sports execs (athletic trainer, CTO..) and want to see reviews of vetted products from your peers, email us at julien@sportscouncilsv.com or join the Upside pro community here.


🔥 Sports Scientists for Hire

Click here to check out Cedric’s linkedIn profile. You can contact him regarding any job opportunities at cedric.leduc1@gmail.com

Click here to check out Dimitrios’s linkedIn profile. You can contact him regarding any job opportunities at dimitrios.angelidis@yahoo.com


🔗 NFT Sports News

🔗  McKinsey’s take on NFT in Sports | Via : Nifty NFT

McKinsey & Company did some research on Sports NFTs. And their segmentation of buyers was an interesting one in our opinion. They split up the market in speculators and tech lovers (who represent more than half of sports NFT buyers but account for over two-thirds of the spending), collectors and the community segment. The research also highlights what buyers in the respective segments care and don't care about (see picture below). Interesting outcomes!

⬆️ The Upside: NFT in sports has been getting a lot of attention in the world of pro sports in the coming months with many leagues (NBA, NFL..), athletes (LeBron James, Patrick Mahomes..) launching their own NFT collections. One of the biggest success stories is the NBA’s Top Shot sales, which accounted for US$500 million in transactions in the first three months of the year. This was a third of the total US$1.5 billion in NFT transactions, according to DappRadar, which tracks blockchain markets. In our view, there is almost too much hype about the NFT sports market right now. Today many NFT sports startups have not built solid business models. This will be a key success factor for vendors to build a sustainable business long term. You can check out our latest analysis on the NFT Sports market here.

Picture: McKinsey, 2021.

🔗  Goats: Brady's Autograph platform is live, Messi's first NFT | Via : Nifty NFT

Some of the greatest athletes in sports are getting into NFTs. We already spoke about Tom Brady's platform Autograph when it was announced a couple months ago as well as two weeks ago when the partnership with DraftKings was communicated. And now the time has come: The football Goat himself marks Autograph's debut on the DraftKings NFT marketplace. The first Brady-themed items are lived and were quickly followed by ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, with others to follow soon.

And all Goat-ness doesn't stop there. Ethernity, who have been pushing NFT collections of multiple superstars, now announced the "Messiverse" collection featuring PSG's historic signing. The collection will consist of four art pieces and is open for pre-registration.

⬆️ The Upside: These announcements should not come as a surprise. As we mentioned before, world’s class athletes and getting into the NFT Sports space because they recognize that there is a big opportunity for them to generate incremental revenue. To do so, they can leverage their large amount of followers. You can check out our latest analysis on the NFT Sports market here.

Source: Autograph, Ethernity


🎮 AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News

🎮  Lynx to Launch AR/VR hybrid Headset “below $1,000”, Pricing and live demo in 3 days. Official launch in September | Via : Road To VR

French startup Lynx announced its Lynx R-1 mixed reality headset last year. The standalone headset, which is capable of both VR and pass-through AR, was previously said to launch for business somewhere around the $1,500 price point. Now Lynx says it’s pivoting focus to include both enterprise and consumers, and will bring the headset down “below $1,000.” You can expect a Kickstarter sometime in September 2021, the company says. Lynx founder and CEO Stan Larroque announced in the project’s July update a few key changes to its upcoming MR headset. You can check out the full 30-minute video at the bottom of the article.

The company is set to announce its pricing and show a live demo of its AR/VR headset in 3 days. You will be able to watch the live update here.

One of the biggest revelations from the update was that Lynx R-1 is expected to be “way below $1,000,” or just a “couple hundred dollars,” Larroque says. This was achieved by modifying some components, however it wasn’t specified which ones. Larroque confirmed the headset will still include Ultraleap hand-tracking, which is the only other change in its overall feature set. All other features are said to be in-tact, and the product “is complete,” including specs and design. The Qualcomm Snpadragon XR-2 is still listed on the headset’s spec sheet, which is nice to see.

A month-long Kickstarter campaign to fund the headset’s refocus towards consumers is expected in September 2021, with shipments targeting February 2022.

Picture: Lynx AR/VR hybrid headset, 2021

⬆️ The Upside: Lynx is positioned to be a pioneer in the space. But the startup will face tough competition. Apple is also rumored to be working on an hybrid AR/VR headsets that many believe could be unveiled in 2022. Startups such as Innovega also built hybrid AR/VR contact lenses. Once Apple unveils its hybrid headsets we believe that many of its competitors (Facebook, Samsung..) will follow suit. In fact, our believe is that they are also working on an hybrid AR/VR headset which would enable them to react quickly after Apple’s expected announcement. Ultimately, we think AR/VR hybrid headsets are set to become the norm in the next 2 years.

Video: Lynx, 2021


🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚ Future Apple Watch band may include hydration sensor, after years of research | Via : Apple Insider

Apple has been researching ways to have an Apple Watch band automatically track the wearer's hydration, with all the health monitoring benefits that would bring. Apple supplier Rockley Photonics recently announced a non-invasive glucose monitoring system that so looked like it was meant for Apple Watch, that the demo units use Apple wrist bands. Practically missed in that announcement, though, was that Rockley's system is intended to monitor much more, including hydration.

Now Apple has separately been granted a patent concerning precisely that. A patent for a hydration sensor in Apple Watch, even granted, does not mean there will ever be a product. However, as the newly-revealed "Hydration measurement with a watch" research says, hydration is a key health indicator. It's one that from a single type of sensor is able to contribute a great deal of information.

"A user's hydration level has significant impacts on the health of a user," says the patent. "Dehydration can impair performance and is associated with several deleterious health consequences, including heat strokes. Overdrinking can result in hyponatremia, fatigue, confusion, coma, and even death."

⬆️ The Upside: We think this rumor is credible. A few years ago there were already speculations that Kobe Bryant was testing a special version of the Apple Watch measuring hydration. This is well overdue. Apple most likely spent the last few years perfecting the technology to measure hydration. Ww expect Apple to introduce this new feature in 2022. Once they do that we believe that the startups (Aura devices, Intake.health, Nix, Kenzen, hDrop..) measuring hydration, could become M&A targets overnight. Moving forward we also expect Apple to introduce new biosensing capabilities for the Apple watch such as the ability to measure blood pressure, or lactate as its supplier Rockley Photonics has a chip that can measure these as well today.

⌚ Fitbit doubles down on glucose with LifeScan partnership | Via : Wareable

Fitbit has partnered with diabetes tracking company LifeScan, offering users the chance to keep tabs on blood sugar trends within the Fitbit app. LifeScan offers cloud-based tracking of glucose levels, which are detected using a prick of user’s blood – and now the two ecosystems will be synced together.

As part of the partnership, LifeScan users can receive a Fitbit Inspire 2 and a Fitbit Premium subscription. Fitness and wellbeing can have a positive impact on management of diabetes, and users will be able to access Fitbit’s workout and mindfulness content. According to the CDC, between “33 and 50 percent of people with diabetes experience diabetes distress – overwhelming feelings that may cause them to slip into unhealthy habits, stop checking blood sugars or skip appointments with their healthcare team,” according to LifeScan.

And a Taiwanese study has linked lower fasting blood sugar, haemoglobin A1c, and LDL cholesterol to the use of a Fitbit tracker. LifeScan users will be able to see blood sugar data alongside their daily fitness and activity stats in the Fitbit app.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this would be a good by Fitbit. By adding glucose sensing capability to its offering it makes its offering even more appealing. The global market for continuous glucose monitoring devices and diabetes-related products totaled is expected to reach $20.7 billion in 2022. There is a big opportunity for Fitbit, which is own by Google, to take advantage of this opportunity. However, competition is set to be fierce in the space as Apple has been rumored to be working on a glucose monitoring system for some time. Apple is reportedly closer to adding a glucose monitor. Apple has been working on a blood sugar sensor for its Watch for years, Bloomberg reports.

⌚​ ​Garmin launches new features for Fenix 6 | Via : Wareable

Garmin has launched a bunch of new fitness features for its leading sports watches, with a focus on performance analysis. The new update will land for Fenix 6, Enduro and Marq watches, which are the top of the Garmin sports watch hierarchy. Parts of the update have already rolled onto the Forerunner range, and other elements were debuted on the excellent Garmin Venu 2 smartwatch earlier this year.

The first new feature to drop is rate of Perceived exertion (RPE), which enables you to log how hard a workout felt – aside from the physiological effects that are recorded by the heart rate monitor. This isn’t just puff being added to your stats. RPE is a proper metric used by elite runners, and it can help you train smarter. Active recovery days mean working out at a low RPE, so this is a good way of logging when you were taking your foot off the gas within Garmin Connect. Comparing RPE to your heart rate can offer also insights into your evolving fitness and readiness. And increases in perceived exertion – a run or workout that felt hard – should be registered in your heart rate data with a higher bpm.

⬆️ The Upside: For Garmin adding RPE makes sense. Many pro teams use software with RPE enabling athletes to tell their coaches how hard a workout felt. then they can compare that with the wearable (GPS, fatigue..) data. It will help Garmin makes its watch offering even. more appealing among coaches and teams. We expect other OEMs (Apple, Samsung, Polar..) to follow suit.


💸 Sports Tech & Health Investment Recap — July/August 2021

Here is the recap of the major sports startups’ investments in July/August 2021, which were up +177% in August 2021, compared to July 2021.

Source: Upside, August 2021


📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Month

$10B: The Switzerland-based company Sportradar listed the IPO size at $100 million, though that number is expected to change. When planning to go public via SPAC, both sides had agreed to bring the company to market at a $10 billion valuation.

$2.8B: The American Gaming Association calculated in 2018 that sports betting could eventually add $2.3 billion to the NFL’s annual revenue.

$1.6B Euros: Barcelona's president says club's debt now at $1.6 billion. Barcelona's president presented a grim picture of the club's financial situation on Monday, saying its debt had risen to 1.35 billion euros ($1.6 billion).

$1.2B: Real Madrid signed Karim Benzema to a two-year extension — with some reports including what looks like an intentionally exorbitant release clause of $1.2 billion.

$200M. A handful of European soccer clubs have generated more than $200 million in revenue using Socios, an online marketplace for cryptocurrency fan tokens, according to the Telegraph.

At least 23 sporting organizations issue virtual fan tokens through the Socios.com app, which has close to one million registered users. 

Clubs earn revenue in the form of direct payments from Socios.

  • Fan tokens for Juventus opened at $13.39 each on Monday, with a market cap of $17.6 million. 

  • FC Barcelona’s fan token has a market cap of $72.3 million and opened at $21.65 on Monday. 

  • PSG’s fan token opened at $33.36 on Monday, with a market cap of $97 million. 

$100M: In the first in-person meeting this year between MLB and its players association, baseball owners proposed a novel idea: a salary floor. The owners’ concept would introduce a $100 million payroll minimum for MLB’s 30 teams and a lower luxury tax threshold, per The Athletic.

$10,000: Pelé went live on HumanIPO this month, selling 10 shares of $PELE at $10,000 per share. HumanIPO allows users to literally invest in people with shares that traders can buy, sell, or redeem for personal access to creators.


📸 Snapshots of the Week.

Tokyo Olympics - Drone show: More than 1,800 drones configuring smoothly into a revolving planet Earth was one of the most talked-about parts of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Opening Ceremony. Fans were expected to be wowed by even more drones at the closing ceremony today. And they did get wowed, but not by a drone light show. The display today was “made for TV” special effects magic.

2024 Paris Olympics. Paris will host the next Summer Games in three years, from July 27, 2024, with a pledge to fully align them with the Paris Climate Agreement by using only renewable energy and implementing a zero-waste policy.

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