TAYLOR’S TAKE ON THE WEEK IN SPORTS TECH: From startups to streaming, sports tech innovation will be front-and-center at the Super Bowl on Feb. 4.
NBC announced this week that it will use 106 cameras to broadcast Super Bowl LII at the high-tech U.S. Bank Stadium, including 20 pylon cameras and two “SkyCams,” which provides a Madden-like view from above. NBC used it earlier this season and this is the first time dual SkyCams will be used during a Super Bowl broadcast.
NBC, which will bring more than 500 staff on site for the big game next week in Minneapolis, is also using 264,000 feet of camera and microphone cable and seven 4K UHD cameras this year.
You can stream the game for free at NBCSports.com; at NBC.com, and with the NBC Sports app. The live stream will also include 10-plus hours of pre- and post-game coverage.
Yahoo is also streaming the Super Bowl for free via the Yahoo Sports app thanks to Verizon’s new deal with the NFL.
Next week the NFL is also hosting its third annual “1st and Future” event, which gives sports tech startups a chance to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of judges that this year includes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NBC Broadcasting & Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy, and others.
Here are this year’s participating startups in their respective categories:
Advancements in Protective Equipment
New Therapies to Speed Recovery
Technology to Improve Athletic Performance
By the way, I’m headed to Pittsburgh for a month. Expect some sports tech coverage — there is concussion research going on at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as some local startups doing cool sports-related innovation. I’ll also check out my first NHL game — go Penguins?
Highlights from the week in sports tech
- Bill Gates and Roger Federer are getting together on the tennis court again.
- NBA outlined some stipulations for its participation with legal sports betting — the league wants 1 percent of every bet made on its games.
- ESPN is exploring a sale of FiveThirtyEight, the geeky data-driven site launched by Nate Silver.
- More ESPN: The company this week announced First Take: Your Take, a new show that will stream on Facebook Watch.
- U.S. ski and snowboard athletes are using virtual reality from STRIVR to help train for next month’s Winter Olympics.
- The PGA Tour is streaming action from the 16th hole at the Waste Management Open in virtual reality.
- The XFL is coming back — I’ll be interested to see how Vince McMahon uses new technology, whether during games or with streaming.
- Bleacher Report CEO Dave Finocchio talked to Recode about how his sports media site shifted from Facebook to Instagram. He discussed Facebook at our Sports Tech Summit last year.
- Fanatics will allow fans to exchange jerseys if a player is traded to another team. What does this mean for Rep the Squad?
- The Atlanta Falcons reduced the price of concessions items — and saw higher revenue.
- The New York Times also looks at how America’s sports stadiums are moving downtown.
- Arsenal inked a first-of-its-kind sponsorship deal with CashBet, a U.S. cryptocurrency company.
- The World Cup will feature a video assistant referee, or VAR, for the first time, which creates more potential sponsor dollars. Meanwhile, a French league terminated its goal-line technology contract.
- Esports news: T-Mobile is sponsoring the Overwatch League; ELEAGUE inked a streaming deal with Twitch; and Unikrn launched a radio show.
- DraftKings released a new fantasy football game, Showdown, which you can play during the Super Bowl.
- Russell Wilson is promoting his new startup, TraceMe, at the Pro Bowl.
- There are some interesting name options for Seattle’s potential new NHL team.
- Members of the U.S. military were able to watch NFL playoff games last week despite the government shutdown.
- College tennis teams will be using more video replay assistant technology as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association tests PlaySight’s PlayFair system.
- Greenfly, a startup co-founded by former MLB player Shawn Green, raised a $ 8.5 million round this week.
- ShowerPill, a startup co-founded by former NFL player Justin Forsett, will be featured on Shark Tank on Sunday.
- Nike and PlayStation designed a basketball shoe together.
What to watch this weekend: Pro Bowl is Sunday at noon PT on ESPN; Warriors vs. Celtics, Saturday at 5:30 p.m. on ABC; No. 2 Virginia at No. 4 Duke, Saturday at 11 a.m. on CBS; Tiger Woods at the Farmers Insurance Open on CBS (if he makes the cut); and the Australian Open wraps up this weekend on ESPN.
Thanks for tuning in, everyone! — Taylor Soper