As a techie by day and sportsnista by nature, I consider myself an enthusiast of the sports tech world. It’s exciting to bear witness to the rise of technology and how it transforms the way we experience the game, how coaches are coaching, and even how athletes are developing and fine tuning their skills. From wearable devices like Whoop (recently endorsed by the National Football League Players Association) to former tech CEOs becoming team owners (take Steve Ballmer for example), tech is immersed in almost every aspect of the games, making it that more important to stay on top of the latest trends.
According to Forbes, these innovative moves are also raking in billions of dollars into the industry, mainly dominated by the intersection of digital media, sports betting, fitness, analytics and eSports. At the Sports Tech 2020 Game Changer Showcase, I had the privilege of learning about some of the black leaders and creators in this space and the cutting edge technology they’re bringing to sports.
Proday: "Workout Alongside Professional Athletes. Anytime. Anywhere"
Driven by her own desire to balance a successful career in venture capital investing and still find the time to hit the gym, Kunst found a unique way to break into the tech and fitness arena through Proday. Proday, backed by the Los Angeles Dodgers Accelerator program and various angel investors like Sara Haider, is a mobile app designed to let its users workout alongside all-star athletes, starting with Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker and Crystal Dunn from the US women's national soccer team. Bridging the gap between fitness and tech, all workouts are tracked in-app. Whether you’re just getting started with your fitness goals or looking to take your workouts to the next level, the training regiment adjusts to your needs accordingly.
In addition to making stellar workouts more accessible, Proday is also a way for athletes to cash in on the business side of sports, given their relatively short career span as Sarah stated in a recent Forbes article. Though Proday will be diversifying its talent by pulling from the WWE, UFC and other sports organizations, it's far from being just a fitness app. It’s now morphing into a digital media one-stop shop with the latest on style, culture and entertainment soon to be told by athletes from Proday’s lineup.
SportsTec: "Powerful Analysis for Elite Teams"
As a successful student athlete who played along side Jason Kidd at Cal Berkeley, Anwar McQueen's rise to vice president of sales and business development at SportsTec is no surprise. SportsTec, with tools like SportsCode and Gamebreaker, gives coaches the ability to design intuitive code to further break down video reel and track specific in-game metrics. From basic analysis to comprehensive insights through collaborative reports, organizations have the flexibility to determine how deep they want to go into the data side of the game. Though recently acquired by Hudl, the leading software developer in sports analytics, SportsTec was already making quite the buzz in the market with avid users like Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Indiana Fever (WNBA) head coach Pokey Chatman. “When I think about SportsTec," Chatman said, "I think about all the ways it’s made be a better coach and communicator. We are expected to have this level of expertise.”
In addition to developing a strong domestic portfolio - also integrating their tools with 29 teams across the NBA - organizations like the Chinese Basketball Association and the Australian Football league continue to bank on the SportsTec platform for that competitive edge. Together with Hudl, which is used by more than 150,000 teams and 5.5 million users across the globe, SportsTec is poised to dominate the lane of sports performance analysis.
Emortal Sports: "An Innovative Virtual Reality and eSports Team"
After successfully leading the team behind Madden NFL for EA Sports and developing NFL Fever at Microsoft, David Ortiz (not the recently retired baseball player) is now taking his talents to Emortal Sports, a game development company committed to bringing the latest in virtual reality to eSports. As CEO and founder, Ortiz sees VR as the next big thing to hit the gaming scene, making total immersive experiences a possibility for both players and fans. At this year’s TechFestNW, the premier tech and innovation conference in the northwest, David discussed his views on VR and its infancy in gaming. “It’s fun to play standing up and moving around, but I think VR’s future is going to be seated. First-person experimentation is necessary, but I’m not locked into it.”
Even beyond VR, Ortiz and his team are working on bringing a sense of player identity and progression to eSports through an avatar-based platform. In traditional sports where athletes bare the brunt of physical toll, through Emortal’s digital system, avatars will endure the same consequence, making this one of the bigger bets Emortal is banking on in gaming. By owning various aspects of the eSports ecosystem (the game itself, venues and competition), Emortal is on track to revolutionize and capitalize on the gaming world. Though a live launch from Emortal is still in the works, soon to come out on the VR device Vive , eSports fans are bound to be excited with what rolls out next.
Any other sports and tech news we should know about? Put us up on game in the comments section.
There's layers to this. Techie. Politicker. Sportsnista.