NYRA Bets Holding Names Game of Silks Official Blockchain Game and Metaverse Partner of NYRA – SportTechie
NYRA Bets Holding, an affiliate of New York Racing Association, has taken a minority stake in Game of Silks and named it the official blockchain game and metaverse partner of NYRA.
Web3 gaming platform Game of Silks, which launched in April 2022 and has more than 25,000 members, is a play-to-earn game in which users begin by purchasing an NFT of a racing silk as their avatar. Game of Silks incorporates the real-life annual breeding crop of 20,000 thoroughbreds, which can be sold to players who then earn rewards based on the horses’ real-world results. The NYRA, which recently co-sponsored the Big Data Derby, will collaborate in rendering its race courses — Belmont Park, Saratoga and Aqueduct Racetrack — in the gaming world.
Game play extends beyond racing, as participants can buy NFTs representing stables and parcels of land on which to develop training grounds. There are additional utilities tied to later-life horse breeding, making Game of Silks a longer-term endeavor beyond the racing career. Game of Silks founder and CEO is Dan Nissanoff, who previously held the same role for the Crown League, a blockchain-backed fantasy football league that later rebranded as Hall of Fantasy League.
FIFA World Cup sponsor Visa says that consumer spending on Visa cards at this year’s tournament in Qatar has already surpassed total Visa card spending recorded at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The credit card company says 94% of purchases in Doha have been cashless and 88% have been made through Visa’s 5,300 contactless payment terminals inside Qatar’s World Cup venues.
This year’s World Cup data from Visa accounts for spending at all tournament venues from Nov. 20 kickoff through group stage matches on Dec. 2. Visa card spending is up 192% compared to the 2014 World Cup and is already 89% of what Visa recorded at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Average in-stadium transaction amount for all matches during this year’s group stage was $23 USD, despite Qatar’s ban of beer sales at World Cup venues. For all matches though Dec. 2, the top three spend categories were: Merchandise (47%), Food & Beverages (36%), and FIFA ticketing (11%).
Visa is also piloting facial recognition payments at the World Cup in partnership with Qatar National Bank and biometrics company Pop ID.
The AI-powered weight training product Perch claims it had a record performance in 2022 after gaining traction with players and coaches across college and professional sports leagues.
Developed by three former MIT students, Perch combines a compact 3D camera with machine learning to produce a foot-long device that calculates a weightlifter’s sets, reps, velocity and power output. The device — consisting of a battery pack and smart tablet — can be attached to any weight rack, and once the user logs on to the tablet, the 3D technology provides the athlete and his strength coach with training data via a mobile phone or the web.
According to co-founder Jacob Rothman, the company tripled its Annual Recurring Revenue and installed hundreds of its units with new teams such as the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL, Miami Heat of the NBA, Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL and Auburn, Wake Forest, Oregon and Baylor from the NCAA.
In addition, the firm raised a $4 million funding round in September with significant investment from Miami Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones, bringing Perch’s total investment to $6 million since its inception in 2017. The company also doubled its staff from 10 to 20.
Over the summer of 2022, the USFL also incorporated Perch into its core training facility in Birmingham, Ala., using Perch’s proprietary AI technology to monitor and then store players’ weightlifting data heading into their season. The company’s longstanding clients, from before 2022, continue to include the Dolphins, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Phillies, Orlando Magic and Columbus Crew, as well as college programs such as Maryland, Ole Miss, LSU and Georgia.
Meta began its trial against the Federal Trade Commision on Thursday as anti-trust regulators are challenging the Facebook parent company’s attempted acquisition of Within, developer of the popular virtual reality fitness app Supernatural. The FTC sued Meta in July and is arguing that the acquisition to support the social media firm’s metaverse strategy would “create a monopoly.”
“Meta could have chosen to use all its vast resources and capabilities to build its own dedicated V.R. fitness app, and it was planning on doing that before it acquired Within,” FTC lawyer Abby Dennis said Thursday in federal court in San Jose, according to Reuters.
Meta announced its acquisition of Within in Oct. 2021 shortly after the company rebranded for its commitment to building the metaverse, a concept fueled by virtual reality consumer products such as Meta Quest headsets. Dennis said in court that the Within acquisition was part of Meta’s attempt to diversify its existing VR user base that skews young and male, while the Supernatural fitness app is geared towards older females.
Most of the 400+ VR apps on Meta’s Quest store are made by external developers, such as StatusPro’s NFL Pro Era video game that launched in September as the first VR game licensed by a major U.S. sports league. Meta, whose platforms include Instagram and WhatsApp, also owns the popular VR game Beat Saber. In October, English soccer club Liverpool became the first pro sports team to sell licensed digital apparel on Meta’s Avatars Store. In federal court, Meta is arguing that consumers have plenty of alternative fitness options outside of virtual reality, and it plans to call witnesses from Nike, Peloton Interactive, and Equinox, according to Bloomberg.
“We are confident the evidence will show that our acquisition of Within will be good for people, developers and the VR space, which is experiencing vibrant competition,” Meta spokesman Christopher Sgro told Bloomberg. “The FTC’s case is based on ideology and speculation, not evidence. We are ready to make our case before the court.”
Bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX has deleted all video content from its YouTube channel, including ads featuring Tom Brady, Steph Curry, Shaquille O’Neal and other star athletes. All of the athletes, including other FTX ambassadors such as Baseball Hall of Famer David Ortiz, MLB star Shohei Ohtani, tennis star Naomi Osaka, and the Golden State Warriors, have been named in investor lawsuits filed against FTX since the company’s demise.
The television ads from Brady, Curry, and Shaq were viewable on FTX’s YouTube channel on Dec. 1 when SportTechie filed its timeline article of the crypto company’s sports sponsorships. The emptied @FTXOfficial YouTube channel remains online with more than 36,000 subscribers. FTX’s YouTube purge comes as The New York Times reported Wednesday that federal prosecutors are investigating whether FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried manipulated the market prices of Luna and TerraUSD, the crypto coin that collapsed in May after signing a five-year deal with MLB’s Washington Nationals in Feb 2022.
Brady began deleting FTX-related tweets from his personal Twitter account in mid-November following revelations that Bankman-Fried shuffled billions of FTX user funds to his sister trading firm Alameda Research. Brady’s Instagram still has a post from March 18 that mentions FTX and donating Bitcoin to charity. FTX’s Instagram account still displays posts with Brady, Curry, and Major League Baseball, but those ads could soon face the same fate as commercials from the company’s YouTube channel.
Fans who paid upwards of $1,500 apiece for Curry’s NFTs on FTX can no longer access their digital collectibles due to the FTX marketplace collapse, according to The San Francisco Standard. Removal of FTX promotions from the internet collides with the Web3 premise of blockchain adoption bringing transparency and accountability to the sports industry.
“Am I bullish on blockchain? Yes, yes, yes,” Monumental Sports chairman Ted Leonsis said at last month’s SBJ Dealmakers conference. “Accountability and transparency in transactions. All thumbs up. … The valuations that were being put and traded on (crypto) currencies? You live by the sword; you die by the sword.”
Geospatial web company Fabric, which creates immersive experiences with blockchain and in augmented reality, has added former pro basketball player Tamir Goodman as its director of sports relations.
Goodman, famously nicknamed “The Jewish Jordan” by Sports Illustrated in 1999, was a blue chip high school prospect who declined a scholarship to Maryland because games conflicted with the Sabbath. Instead, he played at Towson before playing professionally in Israel until injuries curtailed his career. Goodman also co-founded Aviv antimicrobial basketball nets, which were adopted by The Basketball League this year.
His first project with Fabric was to lead The Unity Basketball Clinic, which invited Jewish and African American high school players from the area to a session of drills and social activities to forge commonality through a shared sport. Part of Fabric’s founding thesis is that in-person connections still matter, and Goodman will lead more basketball clinics in 2023. Fabric raised a $4 million funding round earlier this year.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation, which is best known by its Spanish acronym RFEF, is the first national governing body in soccer to create digital video NFTs in partnership with RealFevr.
The activation consists of archived video moments from the Copa del Rey, a knockout tournament spanning all tiers of the sport in Spain. To date, RealFevr has sold 145,000 NFT packs over four drops, with each selling out within 24 hours. A fifth drop is coming soon.
Once purchased, owners can buy, sell and trade in the peer-to-peer marketplace, and they can also be used in an upcoming Web3 game, Fevr Battle Arena. RealFevr raised a €10 million funding round in late October and named its first global ambassador, Bruno Fernandes, a star midfielder for Manchester United and Portugal’s national team, in 2021.
Full Swing is enhancing the accuracy of its proprietary KIT launch monitor by incorporating Titleist’s data-infused Pro V1 RCT golf balls into the product.
Titleist’s radar capture technology, embedded in the ball after three years of R&D, is designed to require less ball flight to calculate spin rate and ultimately will produce more precise analytics for limited-distance shots. Through the integration, shots with high velocity and low spin rate will especially have more reliable readings, indoors and out.
The Full Swing KIT launch monitor gained notoriety a calendar year ago when Tiger Woods posted a video of himself using the product to help him return from his debilitating car accident in February of 2021. Woods, who owns a stake in the company, helped design the micro radar-infused launch monitor that Full Swing claims is the most “innovative” ball tracker in the industry.
The launch monitor contains 16 data points to go with high-resolution video and free virtual gameplay, priced at $4,999. According to Jeremy Stone, Titleist’s VP of golf ball marketing, the two companies found through months of testing the ball has a bountiful signal that creates enhanced spin capture, leading to superior ball metrics.
Pro League Network, a betting data and streaming rights holder for niche sports, has launched out of stealth mode through announcing exclusive multi-year deals with SlapFIGHT Championship, World Strongman, Major League Paintball’s NXL ProSeries and U.S. Pro Mini Golf. The company is working with U.S. Integrity for betting integrity monitoring, Sports Info Solutions for data distribution, and live streaming provider Phenix for live video distribution.
DraftKings became the first sportsbook to partner with Pro League Network last weekend for the Slap Fight Championship event on Dec. 3. Bettors in five U.S. states and Canadian territories could place wagers on the slapping competition, which was streamed on FiteTV and re-broadcasted on Amazon Prime. YouTuber and amateur boxer Logan Paul has previously promoted the Slap Fight Championship, while UFC president Dana White secured a media rights deal with TBS to air his own new slap fighting league called Power Slap.
PLN will debut a 7-event “World Putting League” series in partnership with the U.S. Pro MiniGolf Association that will broadcast during weekday time slots for wagering in February. The company aims to fill a need for sportsbooks on days of the week that have few sports betting options and provide much-needed revenue for niche sports.
PLN’s co-founders are sports gaming industry veterans Mike Salvaris and Bill Yucatonis, who have both held executive positions at gambling real estate developer ELS Gaming. Tim Dent, former CFO and Chief Compliance Officer at DraftKings, is an advisor to PLN. In addition to holding betting rights for niche sports, PLN will also own and operate its own leagues in conjunction with sportsbooks. Its first owned competition is the studio-produced Car-Jitsu Championship in which MMA athletes fight in a car.
Formula E has announced a new U.S. race in its Season 9 calendar with a stop in Portland, Ore., set for June 24, 2023.
Since beginning competition in 2014-15, sustainability-focused Formula E has included a race in the U.S. every year except for the Covid-shortened Season 6. Previous stops included Long Beach, Calif., Miami and New York City, where the circuit has held an ePrix since 2017. Redevelopment along the Brooklyn Waterfront course, however, precluded that option next year.
The Portland race received approval from the FIA World Motor Sport Council but is subject to final safety and technical checks. The Race reports that the ePrix will be held on a modified track at the Portland Raceway. Season 9 marks several firsts for Formula E as it debuts its Gen3 car, adds teams from Maserati and McLaren and holds inaugural races in Brazil, India and South Africa.
The Sacramento Kings have partnered with materials science and manufacturing company Avery Dennison to produce digitally connected physical merchandise for fans. Avery Dennison will insert its RFID tags into team-branded merchandise, including t-shirts and jerseys, for fans to scan with their smartphones to access exclusive discounts, content and other promotions.
Avery Dennison will also work with the Kings to add player names, numbers and jersey patches of Dialpad (the Kings’ jersey sponsor) to uniforms worn by participating youth basketball players in the Sacramento area. A Kings jersey customization station presented by Avery Dennison is being added to the Golden 1 Center or fans to visit during Kings home games as part of the deal, which names Avery Dennison as the official embellishment partner of the NBA team and its G-League affiliate, the Stockton Kings.
The Cleveland Cavaliers partnered with Avery Dennison in November to produce RFID tag-embedded merchandise, and the Ohio-based company has similar apparel partnerships with the San Francisco 49ers, English Premier League, FC Barcelona, and Real Madrid. Avery Dennison was founded in 1935 and its smart apparel business is led by Smartrac, a Dutch RFID developer acquired by Avery Dennison in 2019.
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