🏀 ⚽ 👓 NBA Season To Resume This Week. 5000 Fans Back in Stadiums. MLS Players Tokenized. Apple AR glasses Under Way.

Magic Leap Names New CEO.

Dear Friends and Members,

Last week in the US the MLS resumed in Orlando FL. While some teams (Dallas FC, Nashville FC), star players (Carlos Vela) pulled out of the MLS season, it was a success overall. The NBA season is now next as it is set to resume next week. The NHL and NHL Players Association have also agreed to open training camps and resume the season in Canada (Toronto, Edmonton). In addition, the Ivy League last Wednesday officially canceled fall athletics, including its football schedule, due to the continuing spread of Covid-19. In a statement, the league’s Council of Presidents called the decision “extremely difficult.” On the business side of things, former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and actress Jennifer Lopez are confirmed to be behind a group that has offered about $1.7 billion to buy Major League Baseball’s Mets, the New York Post reported, citing people it didn’t identify.

In Europe, FC Barcelona, according to a study from KPMG, is expected to lose $36.2M in revenue due to matchday losses this season due to home games being forced to be played behind closed doors both in their domestic leagues and in a European tournament. Real Madrid is also expected to lose $34.4M in revenue due to matchday losses this season. It is important to note that these calculations give only theoretical figures with the aim of providing a high level indication of the magnitude and relevance of matchday losses these clubs are suffering amid the current pandemic. Speaking of Real Madrid, last week they launched an omnipresent retail partnership with Legends a large premium with Legends to improve the ecommerce experience.

This weekend, we also fans coming back to stadiums. As shown below, 5000 fans attended the PSG-HAC game this weekend in France.

On the social justice front, many MLS coaches and players showed their support last week for the Black Lives Matters movement. Thierry Henry took a knee for the first 8 minutes, 46 seconds of Montréal's game in memory of George Floyd.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, new reports suggest that Apple is now moving into production mode for its AR glasses. Magic Leap also named a new CEO. In the wearable and connected fitness world, Garmin launched a new solar watch, and some new details on the Samsung Watch 3 and Samsung fitness tracker got leaked. Xiaomi’s new fitness tracker could launch globally next week. In the world of esport, MLS players can now be collected ad traded in a Tokenized fantasy game.

On Wednesday we plan to publish our new interview Dr. Ron Dick, associate professor of sports marketing at Duquesne University in the school of business. As a reminder, Ron worked for 20 years in sports, including 15 years in the NBA with the Sixers and the Nets, and then four years in the NCAA. We talked about the various leagues (NBA, MLS, Laliga, Premiere League) that are resuming. We also touched on the NCAA and how COVID-19 is impacting there. We also discussed the recent protests from players for the Black Live Matters movement as well as the diversity in the world of elite sports today.

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📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week 

👓 Apple Moving Forward on Semitransparent Lenses for Upcoming AR Headset

👓 Magic Leap names ex-Microsoft EVP Peggy Johnson as CEO

⌚ Garmin launches new Instinct and Fenix 6 Solar editions

⌚ Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: new pictures leak and release date news

⌚ Xiaomi Mi Band 5 could get 15 July global release date

⌚ New Samsung Galaxy Fit tracker could be in the works

🎮 US Soccer Players Can Be Collected, Traded in Tokenized Fantasy Game

💸 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

👓 Apple Moving Forward on Semitransparent Lenses for Upcoming AR Headset | Via: MacRumors

Apple and Foxconn have reached a key milestone in the development of Apple's long-rumored augmented reality headset, with the semitransparent lenses for the device moving from prototype to trial production, reports The Information.

Apple is developing the lenses on a single production line at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu in southwestern China, where most of Apple’s iPad production is centered, the person said.

Apple has multiple phases in the development of new products, starting with periods of prototyping in California and China, during which it makes dozens and hundreds of units, respectively, of the products and their parts. As of May, the lenses had entered a stage known as engineering validation test, or EVT, during which Apple typically makes thousands of units, said the person familiar with the matter. During that period, Apple has locked down the design and begins testing its suitability for mass production.

The report indicates that the lenses (and thus the headset itself) are still at least a year or two away from mass production, and various rumors have pointed toward a launch around 2022. A recent report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman indicated that Apple's AR and VR projects have been hampered by internal divisions over whether Apple should emphasize graphics and processing power in a design that would connect wirelessly to a nearby hub or a more personal approach with lesser capabilities but which can be contained entirely within the headset. Apple is said to have multiple AR and VR projects in the works beyond the initial headset, known by the code name of N301, with a sleeker pair of AR glasses known as N421 that could launch in 2023.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that this is a good move by Apple. There is a lot of expectations from Apple to make a big splash in the AR glasses market. Apple is uniquely positioned to bring AR glasses to the masses and especially to its 1B+ IOS customers. According to our sources, Apple is likely to introduce Hololens type AR glasses in the near term in 2021. It will also be able to leverage various acquisitions (Akonia Holographics..) it did in the past few years to bring these AR glasses to life.

👓 Magic Leap names ex-Microsoft EVP Peggy Johnson as CEO | Via: VentureBeat

Magic Leap, the once high-flying augmented reality company that crashed to Earth earlier this year, today announced former Microsoft executive VP Peggy Johnson will replace departing CEO Rony Abovitz. Johnson will take the reins on August 1, bringing a “proven track record” of successful partnerships and transactions to the AR company, which is seeking to quickly establish traction in the enterprise market. A former electrical engineer with the background to deeply understand the technologies she’s overseeing, Johnson has chalked up decades in the industry. Before her six-year stint at Microsoft, where she oversaw business development, she spent 24 years at Qualcomm, holding multiple leadership positions, as well as membership on the company’s executive committee. Prior to that, she worked on military electronics for General Electric. She’s currently on BlackRock’s board of directors, and there’s little question her extensive experience and connections to key hardware and software makers will be an asset to Magic Leap as it struggles to survive its current crisis. Magic Leap released its first AR headset, Magic Leap 1, as a spatial computing platform, complete with a wearable computer and wireless controller. 

It’s unclear at this point whether Johnson will continue Magic Leap’s current trajectory of developing its own spatial computing hardware and software or rely more heavily on platforms developed by others. Her recent employer Microsoft has its own competing AR platform, HoloLens, while Qualcomm provides both chips and white-box software platforms for XR hardware. Reports have suggested the company’s upcoming Magic Leap 2 may struggle to integrate 5G cellular functionality within a meaningfully smaller form factor — a potentially large impediment as AR applications move outdoors after being largely limited to indoor spaces.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that this is a good move by Magic Leap. Peggy Johnson has a proven track record (Microsoft, Qualcomm…), understand hardware as well as the enterprise space which is Magic Leap’s major focus. Magic Leap still has an opportunity to get traction in the enterprise space as we are still very early in the AR enterprise glasses space. Magic Leap will continue to face fierce competition (Microsoft, Vuzix, etc..) there but with the right GTM/ISV strategy, the right pricing, and the right SW/HW ecosystem Magic Leap can take share away from the competition.

Picture: Magic Leap


🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

⌚ Garmin launches new Instinct and Fenix 6 Solar editions | Via: Wearable

Garmin has gone big on solar power, launching brand new Instinct, Fenix and Tactix Delta Solar editions. Adding to the Garmin Fenix 6X Solar and Quatix 6X Solar (announced just a couple of weeks ago), Garmin is now adding sunshine power to the standard Fenix 6, Tactix Delta and, most interestingly, Instinct range. The headlines will be about "unlimited" battery life in power saving modes, but this is a big update to the Instinct range particularly. We’ll start with the Garmin Instinct Solar outdoors watch as it’s the update that excites us the most. And starting at £349.99, it's the lowest cost solar edition in the Garmin range. The standard Garmin Instinct Solar will last 24 days in smartwatch mode indoors and in excess of 50 days with a big dose of daily exposure to sunlight. You can also use power saving modes for "unlimited" battery life. This means you'll just get the basic watch face, so long as you get sufficient sunlight through the day.

The Garmin Instinct Solar now gets a pulse oximeter so you can measure blood oxygen – and using the Acclimation Widget, it matches that data against elevation so you can check your levels as you climb. And there are two new versions of Garmin Instinct Solar with added features and 100m of water resistance. The Garmin Instinct Solar Surf Edition has tide times and a surf tracking mode, and the new Instinct Tactical version hooks up to night vision goggles for use by military types and soldiers of fortune. The Fenix range already had a solar version on the super charged 6X – but now this has trickled down to the standard Fenix 6 and 6S devices, making the advantages of solar power more affordable. The 6S Solar now boasts 10.5 days of battery life when exposed to the sun, up from nine days on the standard version. And the Fenix 6 Solar gets 16 days of battery life with a good dose on sunlight, compared to 14 days. And what’s more, these two versions get new sport profiles, adding surfing, mountain biking and indoor climbing to the mix. Finally, the company has launched a solar version of its Tactix Delta – made to MIL-STD-810 standard of toughness. It uses solar power to up battery life to 24 days (up from 21 days).

Pricing starts at £349.99 for Instinct Solar, £649.99 for Fenix 6 Series Solar Editions and £999.99 for the Tactix Delta Solar Edition.

⬆️ The Upside:  We believe that the Instinct Solar Garmin watch is a good product. The price is not too expensive compared to high end watches, and the battery life has been improved. Now there are already several solar based watches out there made by vendors like the Seiko, Citizen, Bering, Casio, just to name a few. Will this new watch help Garmin stand up from the crowd? It remains to be seen but this watch is a nice addition to its solar watch portfolio.

Garmin Instinct Solar

⌚ Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: new pictures leak and release date news | Via: Wareable

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is nearly official, and Samsung is set to update its smartwatch range with its biggest update yet. To catch you up, Samsung’s next smartwatch has widely leaked, and looks set to be called the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. No, you didn’t miss a generation, but it looks like Samsung will skip on to Watch 3 to avoid confusion with the Galaxy Watch Active 2. But it’s still unclear when we will see a release date for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, and there are conflicting reports.

Initial suspicions was that it would arrive at the Galaxy Note Unpacked event on 5 August. However, Tizenhelp has since reported that the smartwatch may gets its own reveal on 22 July. There’s no credible source for either of these – so watch this space. We've been writing about the Galaxy Watch 3 since the first rumors emerged, so here we've collated every piece of confirmed information, every leak and every rumor together into one place. We know that the new Galaxy Watch is set to shrink in size to 41mm and 45mm case sizes, packs in GPS, heart rate. From the FCC filings we have a pretty clear idea of the main features of the Galaxy Watch 3. There's alleged to be a 360×360 OLED screen, which we're expecting to really pack a punch as Samsung wearables always do. The smartwatch will feature GPS built in for the accurate tracking of outdoor workouts, such as running and cycling. GPS is also required to get biometric data such as VO2 Max. One of the favourite features of the original Galaxy Watch was the rotating bezel used to for tactile control of the circular Tizen interface.

The battery inside is a 247 mAh for the 41mm version and a bigger 340 mAh one for the 45mm.

⬆️ The Upside:  As we noted before, the Galaxy Watch 3 does not seem to offer much surprises so far. It is also still unclear which new features the watch will offer to differentiate itself from its predecessors. Will the Galaxy Watch 3 support Blood pressure monitoring or hydration measurement? These are some of the key questions that still need to be answered. It will be critical for Samsung to offer highly differentiated features to continue to compete against Apple in the long run.

Picture: Samsung

⌚ Xiaomi Mi Band 5 could get 15 July global release date | Via: Wareable

The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is already on sale in China, but we could see a 15 July release date for the US and Europe. Teasers and third party retailers are pointing to a shipping date of 15 July, which also coincides with invites to a Xiaomi event set for the same day. Given Xiaomi has officially confirmed there will be a global release date in July 2020, we're thinking this is a pretty safe bet. The Mi Band 5 is priced at ¥229, which is around £25, but it's listed on retailer sites for $41. There's also a non-NFC Band 5 as well, which will cost ¥189 (£20).

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 specs: 1.1" AMOLED, 126x294, 125 mAh, 14 days, Six-axis accelerometer, PPG heart rate sensor, Bluetooth 5.0, Android 5.0/iOS 10.0, 5ATM, NFC variant only: NFC, microphone, 47.2 x 18.5 x 12.4mm, 11.9g/12.1g, 155-219mm wrist band, ¥189 ($25)/¥229 ($30)

The Mi Band 5 goes head-to-head with the Fitbit Inspire HR at less than half the price, and against upstarts like the Oppo Band and Realme Band.Xiaomi Mi Band 5: Confirmed specs and features. We've no reason to suspect that the global version will deviate from that already launched in China – so here's the he confirmed specs so far: The Mi Band 5 packs in a lot of the purported features that have been doing the rounds on the rumor-mill for the past few weeks, including a 1.1-inch, 126x294 AMOLED display (450 nits brightness), magnetic charging, sleep analysis, heart rate monitoring and female cycle tracking. There's a bigger focus on sports tracking this time around with 11 new modes on offer including yoga, rowing machines and skipping. There are also - Xiaomi's words, not ours - "shaping and fat-reducing" features as well. Over the past few weeks we've seen supposed leaked pictures and renders of the next-gen Mi Band (many of which have proved to be nonsense) but now we can see the new tracker in all of its glory.

There's been no mention of the SpO2 sensor, nor stress tracking which was among the leaks – so we'll assume these features didn't make the cut. Amazon Alexa has been rumored, but that would never have made a Chinese release, so the jury is still out on that one.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this new Xiaomi band could help Xiaomi take share away from leading vendors (Apple, Samsung..) based on its attractive pricing. However there are no real surprises in terms of biosensing capabilities. But at such low price point one should not expect innovative biosensing capabilities like hydration assessment or BP monitoring.

⌚ New Samsung Galaxy Fit tracker could be in the works | Via: Wareable

We’re all gearing up for the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, but it seems a new Samsung fitness tracker could be in the works too. A mysterious Samsung device has been spotted at the FCC, reported by The Verge, which is the US regulatory body that has to approve devices before they’re allowed to be sold. There’s no photos of the device at the FCC, but a diagram, which looks very much like the Galaxy Fit, Samsung’s current fitness tracker. The Galaxy Fit and budget Galaxy Fit e were launched back in 2019, so we’re well overdue an upgrade.

What’s more, the Galaxy Fit’s price tag now seems high compared to the Inspire HR and Charge 4, while the Galaxy Fit e also lags the Mi Band 5 in the same price bracket. The FCC filing refers to the model number SM-R220, which frankly offers little clues to the name or branding. We’d like to see Samsung be aggressive with a 2020 fitness tracker, by offering a feature packed fitness band, perhaps bringing ECG and blood pressure, to compete at the top end of the fitness tracker market. We’ve written extensively at how Fitbit has really sewn this up with the Charge 4. With GPS, VO2 Max, heart rate insights, SpO2 and a $120 price tag, it only offers rivals a race to the bottom on price. With Samsung getting clearance for advanced biometrics in South Korea, it does have the chance to compete with the Charge 4 in terms of power and health insights – or bolster the Galaxy Fit E to provide an alternative to the likes of the Mi Band 5 and Realme Band.

It’s still unclear whether we’ll see this alongside the release date of the Galaxy Watch 3, which could land on 22 July. Or it could be a side note at the Unpacked Galaxy Note event on 5 August. Watch this space.

⬆️ The Upside: We believe this new fitness band is well overdue. Samsung needs to come up with a new fitness band offering superior biosensing capabilities (ECG, BP, hydration….) to get a chance to increase its market share. ECG has now become the norm in the word of wearable fitness as many vendors (Apple, Withings..) already offer such feature.

Picture: Garmin


🎮 Esports & Crypto-Currency News

🎮 US Soccer Players Can Be Collected, Traded in Tokenized Fantasy Game | Via: InsiderSport

Major League Soccer (MLS) fans will now be able to collect and trade digital cards representing league players and use them to play fantasy soccer games run by the firm Sorare.  The MLS Players Association and OneTeam Partners, the athletes’ licensing rights firm, announced Tuesday they had signed a licensing agreement with the blockchain-enabled collectibles platform. The U.S. deal comes fresh on the heels of an auction for Italian soccer club Juventus that fetched 59 ether (ETH), or $13,470, for the team’s star player, Cristiano Ronaldo. According to the release, the agreement will bring over 700 MLS players onto Sorare’s platform, which currently includes players from the South Korean K League and teams including Juventus, Napoli and Lyon. The announcement comes a little over a week before MLS players hit the field again for a special tournament at Disney World in Florida. The MLS season was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the special tournament, dubbed “MLS Is Back,” kicks off July 8

Sorare generates unique digital trading cards on the Ethereum blockchain which represent players and can be traded by users. The user plays as the manager of the team and upon joining is given a random set of five cards, which they can use to build a team and participate in weekly league competitions.  Users also have the option to buy tokens for other players to improve their team and – depending on how the soccer players perform in real life – they may receive rewards in more trading cards or ETH.

“We are excited to be a part of giving fans the opportunity to engage with their favorite players in a new digital landscape,” said Dan Jones, COO of the MLS Players Association, in the emailed statement. 

According to Sorare CEO Nicolas Julia, the firm’s platform currently has about 3,500 monthly active users and recorded over $350,000 in sales for June. “Sorare has been growing consistently despite the lack of football during the crisis,” Julia said.

Overall, blockchain-enabled gaming also seems to have gained in popularity as screen times went up around the world during the coronavirus pandemic. Data collected by blockchain gaming database NonFungible shows Sorare’s platform has recently climbed to the top spot in weekly transaction volume. In terms of all-time volume, CryptoKitties and Decentraland are the top-ranked games.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a good move by the MLS. It will enable MLS teams to generate incremental revenue which is well needed given the current COVID-19 pandemic. Plus there has been a growing interest for blockchain based solutions. With that in mind, we expect to see more sports leagues follow the footsteps of the MLS in the coming months. If you are interested in blockchain market, you can check out our latest analysis: Sports blockchain market.

Picture: MLS stadium


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

  • French Esports organization MCES secures $2.8M Series A investment. Read on here.

  • Athlane collects $3.3M seed funding, launches sponsorship facilitation platform. Read on here.

  • Indian tech and entertainment company JetSynthesys closes $40M investment round. Read on here.

  • Sony acquires $250M minority stake in Fortnite creator Epic Games. Read on here.


📊 Key Tech & Biz Sports Stats of The Week

$1.7B: Former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and actress Jennifer Lopez are behind a group that has offered about $1.7 billion to buy Major League Baseball’s Mets, the New York Post reported, citing people it didn’t identify.

$503M: Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes signed last week the largest contract in sports history, signing a 10-year extension with the Kansas City Chiefs worth up to an estimated $503M.

Largest Contracts in North American Sports History 

  1. Patrick Mahomes - 10-year, $503 million (July 2020)

  2. Mike Trout - 12-year, $426.5 million (March 2019)

  3. Byrce Harper - 13-year, $330 million (February 2019)

  4. Giancarlo Stanton - 13-year, $325 million (November 2014)

  5. Gerrit Cole - 9-year, $324 million (December 2019)

  6. Manny Machado - 10-year, $300 million (February 2019)

  7. Alex Rodriguez - 10-year, $275 million (December 2007)

  8. Nolan Arenado - 8-year, $260 million (February 2019)

  9. Alex Rodriguez - 10-year, $252 million (December 2000)

  10. Miguel Cabrera - 8-year, $248 million (March 2014)

$45M: You could afford a WHOLE offense and defense with Patrick Mahomes' new contract.

$36.2M: FC Barcelona, according to a study from KPMG, is expected to lose $36.2M in revenue due to matchday losses this season due to home games being forced to be played behind closed doors both in their domestic leagues and in a European tournament. It is important to note that these calculations give only theoretical figures with the aim of providing a high level indication of the magnitude and relevance of matchday losses these clubs are suffering amid the current pandemic. Read on here.

$20M: British soccer superstar David Beckham has just scored a $20 million penthouse in Miami’s iconic One Thousand Museum tower, complete with its own rooftop helipad.

$3.4M: Despite being retired, Peyton Manning is still leading the way in terms of dollars from marketing and royalties. Manning earned roughly $3.4M in the year ending on Feb. 29, according to the NFL Players Association’s annual report to the Department of Labor.

Tom Brady was close behind Manning, bringing in roughly $3 million. It’s likely that Patrick Mahomes – who was third with $2.8 million – will supplant Manning as the top earner. Mahomes, just 24, has an MVP trophy and Super Bowl ring to go along with his new $500 million contract.

  1. Peyton Manning – $3,357,808

  2. Tom Brady – $2,998,276

  3. Patrick Mahomes – $2,784,255

  4. Dak Prescott – $2,564,979

  5. Saquon Barkley – $2,340,140

$150K: More than 500 sports organizations were awarded money through the Paycheck Protection Program, according to data released Monday that disclosed all recipients that were awarded more than $150,000. No teams from the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL were on the list.

Leagues

— Big 3 Basketball: $1.6 million; returned $700,000

— Major League Rugby: $1 million to $2 million

— NWSL: $1 million to $2 million

— Premier Lacrosse League: $1 million to $2 Million

MLS Teams

— D.C. United: $1 million and $2 million

— Inter Miami: $1 million and $2 million

— Orlando City: $2 million to $5 million

— Seattle Sounders: $2 million to $5 million

College Athletics

— Big Sky Conference: $150,000 to $350,000

— Conference USA: $350,000 to $1 million

— Ole Miss Athletics Foundation: $350,000 to $1 million

— National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics: $350,000 to $1 million

70K: As of last week, nearly 70,000 tech-startup employees world-wide had lost jobs since March, led by ventures in the transportation, financial and travel sectors, according to a report by U.K.-based brokerage BuyShares.co.uk.

2000: The NHL season is set to resume in Canada. COVID-19 testing will occur daily for everyone in the team bubble. That could be more than 2,000 tests daily.

6: 6 years ago Germany beat Brazil 7-1 in the Soccer World Cup semi-finals.


📸 The Upside: Snapshots & video of The Week.

MLS & Black lives Matters. Thierry Henry took a knee for the first 8 minutes, 46 seconds of Montréal's game in memory of George Floyd.

F1 driver Alonso is back. Fernando Alonso is back in F1.

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