🏎️ Latest tech in NASCAR? Smart ring. Djoko Out of US Open. Messi stays at Barcelona.

Dear Colleague,

Last week, in Europe the biggest news of the week in the world of pro soccer was Lionel Messi finally deciding to stay in Barcelona but this could be his final year. The other big news of the week was that City Football Group (CFG) acquired a majority stake in ESTAC Troyes, with the Ligue 2 side becoming the tenth club to join the holding company’s growing football portfolio. In Bundesliga, RB Leipzig also revealed plans are put in place to allow up to 8500 fans into the Red Bull Arena for the club’s Bundesliga opener against FSV Mainz 05 on September 20.

In the world of pro tennis, the US open tennis in NY kicked off last week. The biggest news was to see Novak Djokovic kicked out of the U.S. Open for accidentally hitting a line judge in the throat with a tennis ball after dropping a game in his fourth-round match last Sunday, a stunning end to his 29-match winning streak and bid for an 18th Grand Slam title

In the world of AR/VR and digital, LiveLike and WMT teamed up to build interactive features for college sports. In the wearable and connected fitness world, Apple could soon be launching a cheaper Apple Watch SE. Oura Health also became the Official Health Technology Partner of NASCAR. Samsung also unveiled the new Galaxy Fit2 fitness tracker with big battery life. In the world of esport, BT Sport acquired the rights to broadcast sim-racing competition V10 R-League.

Last week we teamed up with Mathieu Lacome, PhD, the head of R&D for PSG, a top European soccer team (Ligue 1) and published his article on GPS-related research in Team Sport – Are we done or is there new windows of opportunity ?”.  You can check out his personal blog at Mathlacome.com

Read this article on GPS research

On Thursday as part of our Upside Guest writer series, we will publish our new article entitled “Creatine Supplementation and its Effects on Performance”, written by our new guest writer Daniel Hayes, who is the Performance Coach at the LA Dodgers (MilB).

Picture: Daniel Hayes, Performance Coach at the LA Dodgers (MilB).

Here is our schedule of guest writers and articles for the coming weeks:

  • September 17: Article title:“LEAN Sports science – When Innovation concepts help practitioners to get closer to the Graal?”. Author: Mathieu Lacome, PhD, the head of R&D for PSG, a top European soccer team (Ligue 1).

  • September 24: Article title:“Strategies for Performing Under Pressure”. Author: Len Zaichkowsky, PhD, world’s class expert in biofeedback/psychophysiology.

Note: If you want to connect with Len, Mathieu, Christophe, Daniel, don’t forget to create your free Upside profile and join our online community by clicking on the button below.

As a reminder, we are now launching 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.

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📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week

📺  LiveLike and WMT team up to build interactive features for college sports

⌚Apple could launch cheaper Apple Watch SE

⌚Oura Health becomes Official Health Technology Partner of NASCAR

⌚Samsung unveils new Galaxy Fit2 fitness tracker with big battery life

🎮 BT Sport acquires rights to broadcast sim-racing competition V10 R-League

💸 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

📺  LiveLike and WMT team up to build interactive features for college sports | Via : Fierce Video

With sports’ anticipated return to some university campuses this fall, streaming technology provider LiveLike is partnering with ad agency WMT Media to engage college sports fans. The partnership will launch with Georgia Tech athletics using a custom-built mobile application by WMT Media and integrated with LiveLike’s technology. Starting Sept. 10, students, fans, alumni and recruits will have access to interactive features that sync to live events from their mobile device.

“With the postponement of some sports and others reducing or eliminating in-venue attendance, we set out to reimagine the collegiate sports experience,” said Andres Focil, founder at WMT, in a statement. “Working with LiveLike, we can elevate how athletic programs engage with their fan base in real-time, without ever leaving the team’s current online platform.”

For content owners and rights holders, LiveLike’s technology offers the ability to bring watch parties, spoiler-free chat, polls and other interactive features to their audiences without building an entirely new platform. Instead LiveLike’s software can be integrated with partners’ pre-existing apps and websites. The new venture with WMT Digital follows LiveLike’s additional partnerships with Turner Sports and NBA Digital, English Premier League and Sky Sports, and FloSports made earlier this year.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a good move by Georgia Tech which is part of a growing number of teams to rely on emerging digital technologies like LiveLike to continue to keep engaging with fans and generate revenue and offset the decline in ticket sales. LiveLike has lots of credibility in the sports digital world where it forged partnerships with Turner Sports, NBA Digital, English Premier League and Sky Sports, and FloSports. We expect other college teams to follow suit.

Picture : Georgia Tech

🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

Apple could launch cheaper Apple Watch SE | Via : Wareable

The launch of the Apple Watch Series 6 is nearly upon us, but new rumors suggest it could be joined by a cheaper Apple Watch SE. The iPhone SE is the company’s budget alternative to the iPhone 11, and it seems the company is following suit with the Apple Watch. Apple already offers a low-cost version in the Series 3, which enjoys the core features of the Apple Watch but with the older boxier design. The Series 3 doesn’t get features like ECG, fall detection or always-on display. According to a leading Apple tipster the Apple Watch SE is rumoured to retain the old Series 3 design but get a boost in internals, but crucially, the same $199 price point.

And we’ve also seen eight Apple Watch models pass through the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) this week – although those likely represent two versions with corresponding 40/44mm sizes and GPS/LTE variants. So could the Apple Watch SE make up part of this certification? According to the rumor, the Apple Watch SE will use the internals predicted for the Apple Watch Series 6, with a S6 chip and W4 chip. It will get 16GB of storage and Bluetooth 5.0. In terms of design the rumor suggests that it will retain the old design, and aluminium casing. It would be a blend of modern internals with scaled back design – just like the iPhone SE. The other interesting part of the rumor, which does make us dubious, is that the Apple Watch SE won’t be released until March. We’re unsure of whether that that means it will be announced alongside the Apple Watch Series 6 with a long due date, or that it would be a separate announcement. The rumor scores high on plausibility, but we’re hoping there’s something more to differentiate the SE from Series 3.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe that this could be a great move by Apple. It could help Apple disrupt the low end of the smartwatch market where vendors like Fitbit are well positioned there. Of note, Apple’s share in the global smartwatch shipment revenue increased to 51.4% in the first half of 2020 from 43.2% during the same period last year, according to Counterpoint Research.

Picture : Apple Watch

Oura Health becomes Official Health Technology Partner of NASCAR | Via : Yahoo

NASCAR announced today a multiyear Official Partnership with Oura Health, the technology company behind the smart ring that provides users with biometrics and analysis into their sleep and overall health to improve performance and monitor for potential illness. Through the partnership, Oura becomes an Official Health Technology Partner of NASCAR. After rigorous vetting by NASCAR, Oura emerged as an accurate and efficient solution to advance the organization’s approach to health and wellness. As part of the agreement, NASCAR Cup Series drivers and key operational employees across the sanctioning body will be provided with an Oura Ring, which delivers personalized readiness, activity and sleep insights to provide a holistic picture of a person‘s health. By monitoring changes in an individual’s temperature, heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV) and respiratory rate, Oura Rings can also potentially detect abnormal fluctuations in asymptomatic carriers as well as previously healthy individuals who are experiencing the onset of a disease. Oura Rings have been used in TemPredict, a study at University of California, San Francisco, and in a separate study at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) West Virginia University — contributing to a growing body of research on illness detection, symptom profiles, and recovery.

“In today’s challenging environment Oura Rings provide an edge to keep our athletes and employees safe,” said John Bobo, Vice President, Racing Operations. “Oura’s advanced technology will work glove in hand with NASCAR’s safety protocols. What impressed us was the quality of data that Oura collects, and how high performing athletes and individuals can use that to improve their performance. We also look forward to a long-term partnership and what we can learn from Oura in the years ahead.”

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a great move by both Oura and NASCAR. For Oura, this is the second partnership with a major sports organization after forging a deal with the NBA to equip 2000 NBA players. For NASCAR, picking oura was a safe choice as the Oura ring is already being used by NBA athletes. The bottom line is that a smart ring has a very easy to use form factor. Athletes are already used to wear rings to train or sleep so there is very little convincing to do there. In the world of COVID-19 that we are living in, monitoring the health of athletes is critical and the Oura ring, which measures sleep quality, HR, HRV, temperature, can detect early signs of COVID-19.

Picture : Oura, NASCAR

Samsung unveils new Galaxy Fit2 fitness tracker with big battery life | Via : Wareable

Samsung has updated its fitness tracker range with the Samsung Galaxy Fit 2. After unveiling the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 smartwatch last month, the company looks like it’s taking aim at Fitbit Inspire 2. However, it will also face competition from budget smartwatches like the new Amazfit Band 5, which joins the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 as the best options for those looking for a fitness band. The new Galaxy Fit2 looks like it could merge the older Galaxy Fit and super-cheap Galaxy Fit e.

However, we should pre-face everything by saying that Samsung hasn’t announced any pricing or availability. The new Fit 2 scales back materials from metal to a plastic module that sits in the silicone band. It looks a little less premium than its predecessor. And this makes us think it could come in at a lower price than the 99 of the original Galaxy Fit. The physical button has also disappeared, making it fully reliant in touchscreen via the 1.1-inch AMOLED display. It weighs just 21g and manages to pack in a larger 159mAh battery. That enables 15 days of battery life as standard, and it can last longer if you switch to power saving modes.

Fitbit just updated its Inspire 2 at the same price point, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Fit2 sink lower. The Fit2 automatically detects exercise and boasts 24/7 heart rate monitoring. It also tracks sleep and produces a sleep score, like most rival devices. The Galaxy Fit2 doesn’t seem like the most exciting wearable release this year, but it keeps Samsung in the fitness tracking game. Fitness bands are still set to make up over 30% of the wearables market this year. And despite falling smartwatch prices people are still hungry for the form factor. We’ll update this story with price and release date information as we get it.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this is a good move by Samsung. However we don’t believe that it will help Samsung take share away from Apple in the market which is still dominating the market in a big way. In the wearable band category, which includes smartwatches, fitness trackers, and more, Apple led the category in the second quarter of 2020 with 3.2 million shipments, and a 37.6% market share. Fitbit was second, with 1.6 million shipments and 19.3% of the market. The next three—Garmin, Samsung, and Verizon Wireless—were all in the single digits in the quarter.

Picture: Samsung

🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 BT Sport acquires rights to broadcast sim-racing competition V10 R-League | Via : Insider Sport

BT Sport has acquired the rights to broadcast the new V10 R-League, a sim-racing esports competition created by Gfinity and Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management (ADMM). As a result of the deal, the UK and Ireland broadcaster will air Season 1 of the global racing series live on BT Sport 2 with the full races being made available the following morning for free on its website and the BT Sport App.

Simon Green, Head of BT Sport, stated: “Lockdown has demonstrated a huge appetite for virtual motorsport, and we are delighted to expand our innovative work with Gfinity to bring this exciting new sim racing format to UK fans exclusively to BT Sport subscribers on Mondays and free to all online the next morning.”

Additionally, having also gained broadcast rights with ESPN, the sim-racing competition will be available across its networks and platforms in the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Latin America, the Caribbean and Oceania. STARZPLAY Arabia has also signed a multi-year agreement with the competition to broadcast across the MENA region. Maaz Sheikh, Co-founder & CEO at STARZPLAY, commented: “As a Dubai based streaming service, we have continuously focused on delivering content that meets the viewing needs of regional audiences. For the first time, we are bringing the thrills and excitement of esport, which is gaining tremendous popularity across the Pan-Arab region.”

⬆️ The Upside: This is a good move by BT Sport. According to Gfinity, the sim-racing competition is set to ‘be one of the most widely syndicated esports competitions, with broadcast coverage in over 75 countries worldwide’ while also potentially reaching 150 million households. Moreover, the deal signifies the continued growth of eRacing despite live sport globally starting to resume.

Picture : logos of the NBA 2K League and LOCO

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

  • Esport organization GamerzClass secures $1M Financing, and refreshes board of directors. Read on here.

  • EsportsLAB raises $1.08M to accelerate esports performance analytics software development. Read on here.

📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

$700M: The English Premier League has terminated its TV deal in China. Valued at more than $700 million, it was the most lucrative overseas deal for the world’s most-watched sports league. Suning Holdings, the broadcast partner, had failed to pay $200M due in March. It was in the first year of the three-year deal.

$572M: A new economic report suggests Super Bowl LIV brought in $572 million to the South Florida economy. That’s double the economic impact of Super Bowl XLIV in 2010, the last time Miami hosted the game.

Super Bowl LIV Impact:

— 35% of visitors were from the Kansas City area and 11.9% were from the San Francisco area.

— 368,011 visitor night stays.

— $242,674 average annual income of visitors.

— $34 million in state and local tax revenue.

— $1,781 per day spent by visitor groups.

— $593 per day spent per person.

$360K-$500K: As discussions around student-athlete compensation continue, a new report suggests NCAA football players could be making millions per year if they were able to cash in on their abilities. According to a paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, an average football and basketball player at a Power 5 school would make between $360,000 and $500,000 per season.

Potential Collegiate Athlete Earnings: 

Starting Quarterbacks: $2.4 million

Starting Wide Receivers: $1.3 million

Starting Five Basketball Players: $800,000 to $1.2 million

Average Basketball Players: $500,000

Average Football Players: $360,000

8%: DraftKings placed a bet on Michael Jordan helping it continue its hot streak, naming the NBA legend a special advisor to the board of directors. Jordan also received an equity stake in the company, with the market responding positively as shares jumped 8%. The stock continues its climb — up more than 110% since going public in April. 

-71%: Advertising in sports dropped significantly — 71% year-over-year in April — during the COVID-19 sports stoppage, but has come roaring back. More than $100 million was spent by 500 companies from July 23 to Aug. 15, when the NBA, NHL and MLB got rolling.

📸 Snapshots of the Week

Djoko out of the US Open: This weekend Novak Djokovic got kicked out of the U.S. Open for accidentally hitting a line judge in the throat with a tennis ball after dropping a game in his fourth-round match last Sunday, a stunning end to his 29-match winning streak and bid for an 18th Grand Slam title.