🥽🎾Latest tech? VR Treadmill. Nadal Wins 20th Grand Slam. Tied Federer.

Dear Colleague,

This weekend, Rafael Nadal won his 13th French Open in victory over Novak Djokovic. Nadal secured the title in a tense match — winning 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 — which also marks his 20th Grand Slam win.  He has not tied Roger Federer’s 20 Grand Slams.

In the US, ESPN could soon lay off up to 700 employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The world of digital fitness continue to be strong. In fact, a new report indicates that Global digital fitness revenue could reach $22.5 billion this year, a 30.9% increase year-over-year. The gaming sector also continues to show solid number. In fact, August was the fourth straight month of the U.S. gaming industry’s recovery — which includes casino, sports betting and online gaming revenue. according to the American Gaming Association, nationwide gaming revenue were up 5.6% compared to July, but down 19.8% year-over-year.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, Virtuix announced a new VR product - Omni One treadmill- for the home. In the wearable and connected fitness world, Polar announced the new Polar Vantage V2 sports watch.​ Hublot also unveiled the Big Bang E a new smartwatch for the Champions League.

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📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week

🎮  Virtuix will return to home VR market with Omni One treadmill

⌚ New Polar Vantage V2 sports watch beefs up battery life

⌚​ Hublot Big Bang E gets Champions League makeover

💸 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

🎮  Virtuix will return to home VR market with Omni One treadmill | Via : VentureBeat

When virtual reality took off more slowly than expected in 2016, Virtuix pivoted with its Omni Arena 360-degree treadmills for VR, taking them into theme parks and VR arcades. But now that the pandemic has hobbled those attractions, Virtuix is returning to the home VR market with the launch of its new Omni One treadmill, debuting in the second half of 2021.

That double pivot hasn’t been easy for the Austin, Texas-based company, but CEO Jan Goetgeluk said in an interview with GamesBeat that he has been encouraged by VR’s steady growth in the entertainment market. He said he’s also glad Virtuix has had time to come up with a full consumer solution.

“It’s always been our original vision to bring the Omni to the home,” Goetgeluk said. “That’s how we got started. In 2016, we pivoted to the commercial markets, as the consumer market for VR was fairly slow to take off in those early years. And we were getting a lot of traction in the commercial market. But it has always been our vision to come back to the home eventually.”

When you put on a VR headset, you can feel like you’re in another world, but you can’t really move around. The omnidirectional treadmill solved that problem, as you can run or walk in any direction and feel like you’re physically moving in VR. You have to actually move your legs to make your character move in a VR game, so you also get some pretty good exercise in.

“You can think of it as a Peloton bike for gamers,” Goetgeluk said.

Omni One will sell for $1,995 (or $55 per month with a monthly payment plan). This puts Omni One in line with mid-tier gaming PCs or connected fitness gear like a Peloton bike. You can get good exercise with the Omni One, but Goetgeluk said the company won’t market the device as exercise gear.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a great move by Virtuix. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a big in terms of adoption from many VR sports startups. We expect Virtuix to take advantage of this trend as well. We also expect Virtuix to reduce the price of the Omni One below <$30 so it can appeal to a larger market.

Picture : Virtuix

🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

 New Polar Vantage V2 sports watch beefs up battery life | Via : Wareable

Polar has unveiled the Vantage V2, the second generation of its premium triathlon-friendly multisport watch. It’s lighter, has a longer battery life and comes with the most complete set of training, recovery, sleep and smartwatch features you’ll find on any Polar tracker. This latest incarnation of Polar’s top end watch goes up against devices like the Garmin Forerunner 945, Forerunner 745 and the Coros Apex Pro. And to a certain extent its own recent launch, the Polar Grit X.

The Vantage V2 offers the same 40 hours full power GPS battery as the original Vantage V, but that’s now extendable up to 100 hours with the same power-saving settings we saw introduced on the Polar Grit X. FuelWise fuelling recommendations and Hill Splitter, a hill training tool that automatically logs your splits for climbs and descents on runs, are also carried over along with turn-by-turn route guidance powered by Komoot. Training Load Pro, running power on the wrist, detailed Sleep Stages tracking and FitSpark workout recommendations are included too.

And you can still choose between the optical-based Nightly Recharge recovery insights or Recovery Pro – Polar’s Heart Rate Variability (HRV) recovery measure that requires a Polar chest strap. The Vantage V2 is on sale now priced at $499.99 or $549.99 with a H10 chest strap. There will be three colour options at launch: black, green and grey-lime.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a good by Polar. The Polar watch has a longer battery life, and is 20% lighter. Now will it be enough for Polar to compete against Apple in the smartwatch market? That remains to be seen. Currently Polar captures 2% of the smartwatch market.

Video: Polar

Hublot Big Bang E gets Champions League makeover | Via : Wareable

Swiss watch giant Hublot has released a special Big Bang E UEFA Champions League edition. Hublot has a track record of releasing new editions with UEFA and FIFA, and who could forget the Big Bang Referee 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia from two years ago? In fact, Hublot has been doing the official watch of the Euros since 2008. The Big Bang E UEFA Champions League, will be limited to 500 pieces (that’s how the Swiss do these things), and the watch will come with a Champions League blue colored strap.

It’s also loaded with an app that alerts the wearer to kick-off in Champions League games, as well as goals, scorers, major events in the game and the final score. What’s more, there are special edition watch faces available from the Hublot store, including a dial that changes color to represent the kit of the team that’s playing.

The Champions League app will show a live score in the game, and if there are multiple fixtures happening simultaneously, you can switch to follow a particular game just by tapping on the screen. And if VAR interventions don’t annoy you enough in real time, you’ll also get notified of those too. The Hublot Big Bang E was launched back in June, and is a Wear OS smartwatch with a $5,800 price tag. It uses a Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, with 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage - water resistant to 30 metres and comes with an interchangeable strap, which uses a mechanism for quick release.

Obviously, this isn’t really designed for the mass market – we expect most of these will end up in the hands of UEFA and footballing dignitaries. It will cost $7000, but if you have to ask, it’s probably not for you.

⬆️ The Upside: We like the design of the Hublo watch but at $5800 it is out of reach for the mass market. This watch also does not offer appealing biosensing capabilities. It looks more like a marketing stunt than anything else where it can leverage the UEFA/FIFA brands.

Picture : Hublo

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

  • Hyperice recently raised $47.8 million at a $700 million valuation, with investors like the NBA, pro athletes and more.

  • Denver-based artificial intelligence fitness startup Exer Labs has raised $2 million — building on $2.5 million raised last year.

  • The owner of NordicTrack, ProForm and Freemotion raised $200M in its latest funding round.

📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

$22.5B: Global digital fitness revenue is expected to reach $22.5 billion this year, a 30.9% increase year-over-year. New devices and wearable fitness products — along with fitness and nutrition apps — are driving the growth.

700: ESPN could be laying off hundreds of employees in the next few weeks, sources told FOS. Up to 700 employees could be let go, which will mostly hit behind-the-camera jobs — but could include some TV and radio talent as well.

Companies across sports media have dealt with layoffs in part to help offset the loss of revenue from the COVID-19 pandemic and sports shutdown.

Sports Media Pandemic Layoffs:

Fox Sports: 5-10% of its staff

Sports Illustrated: 6% of its staff

Vox Media (SB Nation): 9% of its staff in April, additional 6% in July

Bleacher Report: Eliminated its B/R Mag vertical

91%: Following Microsoft’s shuttering of its video game streaming service Mixer, Amazon-owned Twitch extended its domination of the market. In the third quarter of 2020, Twitch controlled 91% of live video game streaming.

More than 206 million hours of content was livestreamed on Twitch during the quarter. While that was only a 1% increase from the previous quarter, Twitch had 185 million more hours streamed than Facebook and YouTube combined.

Video Game Livestream Share:

Twitch: 91%

YouTube: 6%

Facebook Gaming: 3.4%

90: Sporting events are a hot ticket these days, with seats for each World Series game selling out in approximately 90 minutes last week. Tickets were sold in four-seat “pods” as a social distancing measure to safely fit 11,550 fans — the World Series will fill up about 29% of Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

5.6%: August was the fourth straight month of the U.S. gaming industry’s recovery — which includes casino, sports betting and online gaming revenue. Nationwide revenue from the segments were up 5.6% compared to July, but down 19.8% year-over-year, according to the American Gaming Association.

📸 Snapshots of the Week

Nadal wins 20th grand slam, ties Federer: Rafael Nadal wins 13th French Open in victory over Novak Djokovic. Nadal secured the title in a tense match — winning 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 — which also marks his 20th Grand Slam win.