🏎️ 🎾 Jordan Becomes NASCAR Team Owner. Nadal looking to Win 13th French Open. Oura Health Signs First MLB team.

Dear Colleague,

Last week, NASCAR announced a prominent new NASCAR team owner: NBA legend Michael Jordan. Jordan teamed up with NASCAR's Denny Hamlin . They are now the owners of a NASCAR Cup Series team, with Bubba Wallace as a featured driver.  In the world of US College football, it turns out that a month before laying off or furloughing almost half its staff, the Pac-12 paid out performance bonuses, according to The Mercury News. In fact, 50 employees, including Commissioner Larry Scott, apparently received bonuses that were in the “four- to lower-five-figure range,” totaling a potential $4M. Last week, Nike shares jumped more than 12% after trading closed last week following a better-than-expected earnings report.

In Europe, the French Open is starting this week. Rafael Nadal is looking to tie Roger Federer’s 20 Grand Slams by winning his 13th French Open in Paris.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, Sony announced the PS5 which will launch on November 12th for $499.99. In the wearable and connected fitness world, Samsung introduced new Galaxy Watch models with ECG feature. Oppo also officially announced the Oppo Watch with ECG, but it will only be available in China for now. The Seattle Mariners also became the first MLB team to partner with Oura Health to use their smart ring. Of note, Oura Health has teamed up with major sports organizations like the NBA, NASCAR, the UFC to equip players with their smart ring to help better monitor players’ health and prevent COVID-19 pandemic.

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📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week

🎮   The PS5 will launch on November 12th for $499.99

⌚ Samsung Galaxy Watch models get ECG feature

⌚Oppo Watch with ECG is official – but China only for now

💸 Latest Investment Trends

📊 Tech Stats of the Week

📸 Snapshots of the Week

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

🎮 AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News

🎮  The PS5 will launch on November 12th for $499.99 | Via : The Verge

Sony has announced that the PlayStation 5 will cost $499.99 when it launches on November 12th, alongside the $399.99 Digital Edition. Preorders will begin on September 17th at “select retailers.” The pricing puts Sony squarely up against Microsoft’s next-gen consoles, with the company set to release its entry-level Xbox Series S at $299 and its flagship Xbox Series X for $499 on November 10th.

That November 12th release date will apply to the US, Japan, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea, with the rest of the world getting the new console on November 19th. Sony also notes that it has yet to finalize a release date for China, which it’ll announce at a later time. For comparison, the PlayStation 4 cost $399 at launch, although it currently sells for $299, while the PlayStation 4 Pro originally sold for $399, a price it still sells at today outside of major sales like Black Friday. It’s unclear if Sony is planning to drop prices or discontinue the older models once the PlayStation 5 is out later this year. It’s also worth noting that the PlayStation 5 will include backwards compatibility for an “overwhelming majority” of the existing PlayStation 4 lineup, although details are still slim. That expanded library might help make it more attractive to potential PlayStation buyers over the older consoles this holiday season.

⬆️ The Upside: In out view, it makes sense for Sony to announce its PS5. But we expect Sony to cut the price of the PS5 over time to better compete against the XBOX. Of note, the combined PlayStation sales amounted to over 21 million units, compared to 9.5 million and 11.5 million for Microsoft and Nintendo game console sales figures respectively. In terms of console market share, Sony's results accounted for 50 percent of sales made by the video gaming industry's three giants.

Picture : Sony

🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

Samsung Galaxy Watch models get ECG feature | Via : Wareable

The long-awaited ECG feature for Samsung Galaxy Watch models is now live in the US. The feature was included on 2019’s Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, and a central part of the story for the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. But Samsung only had clearance for use of the feature in South Korea, but it’s now available to use in the US. The company announced FDA clearance at the launch of the Galaxy Watch 3 earlier this month.

Just like the Apple Watch Series 6, you can manually take an ECG scan to look for atrial fibrillation (Afib). The app is fired up on the Galaxy Watch itself, where you hold your thumb to the bezel and finger to the top button. The results are presented in the Samsung Health Monitor app, where you can also log any symptoms such as dizziness or fatigue. ECG has been landing on plenty of new wearables, and is now a key feature of high end devices. The Apple Watch Series 5 and 6 have the feature, and the Fitbit Sense health watch, which received FDA clearance in September 2020 and will land on the device in October. However, not all companies have found the regulatory side of ECG as easy as those brands. Withings only has clearance for ECG in the EU, and we’ve just seen the Oppo Watch ECG launch in China – but seems unlikely it will make its way to the West any time soon.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a good by Samsung but ultimately Samsung is playing catch up here as ECG has become a common feature among smartwatch vendors nowadays. What Samsung needs to do is to push the boundaries and add new biosensing capabilities like Blood pressure, hydration, electrolyte measurement.

Image: Samsung

⌚Oppo Watch with ECG is official – but China only for now | Via : Wareable

As expected, the Oppo Watch with ECG has landed in China - but looks to be a straight update to the existing 46mm model. The original Oppo Watch was widely reported to include ECG, but the feature didn’t make it to the final version.

But the company has now moved to update the device, and the Oppo Watch ECG features the same spec sheet at the same price. The company has already got clearance for the ECG feature in China. So a wider global release, we'd assume, would be dependant on US and EU clearance – and that feels unlikely. Nonetheless, it brings Oppo into exalted company. ECG wearables currently include Apple Watch Series 6Samsung Galaxy Watch 3Fitbit Sense and Withings ScanWatch.

We gave the Oppo Watch 41mm a four star review, and we were impressed with the use of Wear OS, mixed with the company's own Color OS. And the presence of ECG makes for an even more powerful spec sheet. The 46mm Oppo Watch packs in a gigantic 1.91-inch AMOLED making it one of the biggest smartwatches around in terms of screen size. And the smaller Oppo Watch still packs a 1.6-inch display, so there’s plenty of room for apps and notifications. The 46mm Oppo Watch will also feature LTE as standard. Onboard is a PPG sensor, and GPS for outdoor workouts – although the Oppo Watch only tracks five sport profiles natively: outdoor run, cycle, swimming, fat burn and walking.

It took nearly 4 months for that global release to happen, so we don't really expect this to land outside of China. But it's a statement of intent from Oppo, and makes it a newcomer to watch.

⬆️ The Upside: Generally speaking this new Oppo watch looks like a replica of the Apple Watch. As we mentioned before ECG has become a common feature in the smartwatch space. Ultimately Oppo’s strategy is not be truly innovative but to offer a low cost product with a minimum sets of features (PPG, GPS, ECG…) that meets the needs of the market. That’s exactly what Oppo is doing here.

Picture : Oppo

💸 Sports Tech & Health Investment (Fund raising, M&As) Trends — September 2020

  • Canadian sports tech startup Kinduct got acquired by mCube for an undisclosed amount. Read on here.

📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

$82.8B: Digital gaming global revenue reached $82.8 billion through August, a 13% increase year-over-year, according to Nielsen. Twitch is back on the upswing after a June and July dip following the height of stay-at-home orders.

Video Game Fast Facts:

  • August global digital games revenue: $10.8 billion, 16% year-over-year growth

  • August U.S. video game revenue: $3.3 billion

  • Premium sports games global revenue: $321 million

  • Twitch August hours watched: 1.47 billion, 57% year-over-year growth

  • Fall Guys August hours watched: 106 million

$7.5B: Microsoft acquired gaming giant Bethesda Softworks in a $7.5 billion deal last week. The deal with ZeniMax Media — the parent company of Bethesda — is Microsoft’s biggest ever in the gaming sector, triple that of its 2014 purchase of “Minecraft” maker Mojang.

$2B: Fox is willing to spend up to $2 billion to maintain its rights to NFL Sunday action. This would nearly double the $1.08 billion per year Fox currently pays for the NFC slate of games.

Current Rights Deals:

  • “Monday Night Football” — $1.90 billion per year, ESPN

  • AFC Sunday Package — $1.09 billion per year, CBS

  • NFC Sunday Package — $1.08 billion per year, Fox

  • “Sunday Night Football” — $960 million per year, NBC

  • “Thursday Night Football” —$660 million per year, Fox

$4M: A month prior to laying off or furloughing almost half its staff, the Pac-12 paid out performance bonuses, according to The Mercury News. Approximately 50 employees — including Commissioner Larry Scott — reportedly received bonuses that were in the “four- to lower-five-figure range,” totaling a potential $4 million.

Pac-12’s Financial Woes:

  • Revenue reductions across the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years. 

  • Approved FY21 budget has a 9% reduction in operating expenses at headquarters — or approximately $3.6 million.

  • Scott took a 20% salary cut in early April, and will take a 12% cut for the 2020-21 academic year. Senior staff took 10% cuts.

+12%: Nike shares jumped more than 12% after trading closed last week following a better-than-expected earnings report. The shoe and apparel giant beat its first quarter 2021 revenue expectations by generating $10.59 billion, well past Wall Street analyst expectations of $9.15 billion. At the core of the solid quarter was an 82% year-over-year increase in online sales. That helped bump net income to $1.52 billion, up from $1.37 billion in the same quarter last year.

Nike shares are up almost 15% year-to-date.

Nike’s Q1 FY21 By The Numbers:

  • $10.59 billion in revenue, 0.6% drop year-over-year

  • Sales in China grew 6%

  • Sales in North America dropped 2%

-4.6%: Despite a bumpy year due to the pandemic, all signs are pointing to the advertising market returning to normal in 2021. Advertising around traditional mediums like TV and radio is expected to stabilize, while digital ads are projected to grow.

Advertising spending is looking at a 4.6% overall decline in 2020 compared to 2019, including the 7.2% drop in the first half of the year. Next year, forecasts suggest ad spending will grow 4%.

The Tokyo Games — which were postponed to 2021 — should bolster the year’s advertising market with approximately $800 million in additional spending.

Three-Year Snapshot:

2019: $224 billion in ad spending

2020: $213 billion in projected ad spending

2021: $222 billion in projected ad spending

📸 Snapshots of the Week

1918 Spanish flu Vs 2020 COVID-19 pandemic: Peloton threw a little shade at Apple on Twitter the day that Apple announced its digital workouts: Andy McNeil recreated his great-grandfather's iconic 1918 photo of Georgia Tech fans during the Spanish Flu pandemic. (Andy McNeil)