Candy Digital will launch its 2022 Candy Sweet Futures College Football NFT Collection on Thursday that spans digital collectibles for 17 college football players. Thursday’s drop will feature NFTs of eight players, and tokens for the remaining nine players will be sold starting October 13.
The initial collection dropping Thursday at 1p.m. ET will include NFTs of Texas RB Bijan Robinson, Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa, Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei, Oregon QB Bo Nix, LSU WR Jack Bech, UNC WR Josh Downs, Arkansas WR Jadon Haselwood and Georgia LB Nolan Smith. The NFTs include three rarity levels (Core, Rare, and Legendary) and fans can also buy and sell their NFTs on Candy’s secondary marketplace.
Candy Digital, which is majority owned by Fanatics and has an NFT deal with MLB, introduced its Sweet Futures line last year for both college football and college basketball players. This year’s Sweet Futures NFT owners can participate in a new Dynamic Challenge to win prizes that include signed physical memorabilia, additional NFTs, and one winner will receive two tickets to the Rose Bowl. The points players accumulate for the owners of the NFTs in the Dynamic Challenge will be based on their on-field performance.
Candy Digital’s head of partnerships Matthew Novogratz previously told SportTechie that the average age of Candy’s NFT consumer is 29 years old, and more than half of its users are in their 20s.
Geolocation tech firm Xpoint has raised an undisclosed multi-million funding round to strengthen its place in the sports betting, iGaming and daily fantasy sport industries in the U.S. and worldwide.
The company’s newest investors are Acies Investments, The Raine Group and SuRo Capital Sports, who were also joined in the round by Xpoint’s original investors Better Capital and Courtside Ventures.
Xpoint Verify, the firm’s real-money gaming product, is currently operating live in New Jersey and Ontario, while its Xpoint Lite product that is geared toward fantasy sports operators is live throughout the U.S. with multiple partners. Both provide geolocation data to help with client marketing strategies.
As part of the round, the managing partner of Bettor Capital, David VanEgmond, will become one of Xpoint’s board of directors. Bettor Capital has long pointed to Xpoint’s software value to sportsbook and casino operator clients.
NASCAR is launching a new branded room inside Meta’s Horizon Worlds metaverse app for fans to watch on-demand race recaps in virtual reality through Meta’s Quest 2 headset. Starting Thursday Sept. 29, fans with Quest 2 can watch a 45-minute condensed stream of last weekend’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Guests will be able to interact with each other’s avatars in NASCAR’s room on Horizon Worlds, which will also offer race highlights and behind-the-scenes content in virtual reality. NASCAR plans to offer the same VR experiences around its Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 27 and the Cup Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 10.
Meta is working with VR video startup YBVR to produce the races in an immersive format for Quest 2. NASCAR’s joins the NBA as leagues to have rooms inside Horizon Worlds after Meta launched NBA Lane in May. In 2020, NASCAR was the first league to partner with Facebook (now Meta) to host content around live races for the company’s second-screen app called Venues.
The digitally-native firm Globant is partnering with LaLiga to expand LaLiga Tech, the league’s technology arm that emphasizes Web3, the metaverse and gaming.
LaLiga Tech, which debuted in 2014, is focused largely on improving the league’s digital fan engagement through its apps, OTT platform, fantasy gaming and web design. As recently as June, LaLiga Tech also launched a startup competition for the purpose of similar fan engagement innovations. The competition was held in conjunction with SportBoost, an accelerator founded by ex-Real Madrid goalie Iker Casillas.
Liga Tech also deploys a proprietary Mediacoach platform, content protection antipiracy tools and data analysis. Last month, for instance, Liga Portugal implemented LaLiga Tech’s platform to diffuse the sale of fake online merchandise. Each of the 36 soccer clubs in Liga Portugal 1 and Liga Portugal 2 were able to deploy LaLiga Tech’s Brand Protection technology that utilizes machine learning to identify counterfeit products being sold online.
LaLiga Tech’s antipiracy services have also recently been enlisted by the Latin American commercial sports rights owner 1190 Sports, who leaned on LaLiga Tech’s artificial intelligence to remove content found to be illegally distributed. Globant, known for helping companies reinvent themselves through digital applications, has previously teamed with Google, Electronic Arts, Disney and others.
Formula E has selected Hankook as its exclusive tire supplier beginning with the start of Season 9 in Mexico City on January 14, 2023. That E-Prix also marks the first race with the Gen3 car.
Hankook will be providing its iON race tires that were developed in collaboration with Formula E in order to meet the racing circuit’s sustainability standards. Almost 30% of the tire is made of sustainable materials and will be recycled by Hankook after every race weekend. It can be used in dry and wet conditions.
Formula E is the only global sports circuit to receive certification for its net-zero carbon emissions since inception. Hankook, which unveiled the tire at an event in Austria on Wednesday, was chosen as the tire provider two years ago. It displaces Michelin, which had supplied the tires since the beginning of Formula E in 2014.
Ōura Health is releasing updated hardware for the Oura Gen3 Horizon ring, its first sensor-laden ring to be perfectly round. The Oura Gen3 will now also be available in a highly requested new color, rose gold.
Oura initially launched the Gen3 ring last October with triple the sensors and 32 times the memory of its Gen2 predecessor. That upgrade enabled a slew of new features, including live heart rate reporting, improved menstrual tracking and predicting and blood oxygen detecting. Many of those have been rolled out throughout the year, with some others, like advanced sleep staging, still to come later in 2022.
Two of the company’s longtime ambassadors, NBA superstar Chris Paul and Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, feature in the Gen3 Horizon ad campaign. Oura hired CEO Tom Hale in April with plans of preparing for an IPO.
Transactions at the checkout-free American Express Shop during last month’s U.S. Open were up 78.6% compared to the store’s activity during its debut at the 2021 U.S. Open, according to new data shared with SportTechie. The autonomous American Express Shop at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York is powered by Zippin.
Fans must insert or swipe their American Express credit card to enter the store, which sells concessions such as packaged food, snacks and beverages. The average time a shopper spent inside the American Express Store during this year’s Open was 66 seconds. Shoppers were able to pick items off shelves and simply walk out while Zippin’s AI cameras and in-store sensors tracked their movements and automatically charged their American Express cards as they exited the store.
American Express also says that 22% of items sold at its shop during this year’s U.S. Open were from small businesses, including NY area-based Field Trip, Cookie Crumz, Hal’s Seltzer, North Fork Chips, Red Jacket Orchards, Brooklyn Bites and Korilla. American Express also operates a Zippin-powered store at Barclay’s Center. Zippin is active in roughly 50 sports venues, including NFL stadiums such as Empower Field at Mile High, Nissan Stadium and Allegiant Stadium. The company also recently partnered Qatar-based Al Meera Consumer Goods to open its first checkout-free store in the country ahead of the World Cup.
Venture capital firm Titletown Tech has named Sports Innovation Lab CEO and co-founder Angela Ruggiero to its advisory team. A four-time U.S. Olympic medalist in ice hockey, Ruggiero is expected to analyze, mentor and grow the companies in Titletown Tech’s portfolio.
At Sports Innovation Lab — a fan intelligence and market research company deployed mostly by sports franchises — Ruggiero’s mission was to aggregate data on fan activity and then advise entities such as FIFA and the NFL on how to counteract. Having earned her MBA at Harvard and a master’s in education at the University of Minnesota, she also spearheaded “The Fan Project,” a wide-ranging report that provided a monetization model for the sports genre.
Titletown Tech was originally a 2017 collaboration between Microsoft and the Green Bay Packers to jumpstart Green Bay’s economy via investments in technology. Both the NFL team and Microsoft invested $5 million each, and, in 2019, 12 more investment firms raised the funding to $25 million.
Ruggiero was part of the United States gold medal ice hockey team in 1998 and has been inducted into the ice hockey hall of fame. Among other honors, she has been a member of the International Olympic Committee, a chairperson of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and a chief strategy officer for LA28 — helping her hometown acquire the 2028 Olympic Games. In June, Sports Business Journal named Ruggiero to its Power Player list.
Digital Seat Media has added more than 61,000 metal seat tags to the University of Missouri’s football stadium, all of which are adorned with inclusive QR codes intended to elevate fan engagement.
The mobile web-based platform will allow spectators to scan the QR codes embedded on their seats with their phones, granting real-time access to:
Any brand of cell phone will suffice, and utilizing the QR codes also eliminates the need for fans to download numerous apps, instead allowing the user to directly access the platform.
Digital Seat Media’s QR codes will also give fans the ability to notify stadium personnel about medical, maintenance and safety issues, as well as missing valuables. The university first implemented the technology for its game Sept. 17th against Abilene Christian in a continuing effort to enhance Faurot Field’s gameday experience.
Just three weeks prior, the school had unveiled automated food lockers, in partnership with its vendor Levy Restaurants, becoming the first college stadium to deploy self-serve technology. Fans were able to order concessions through an automated kiosk or an app, which is now expected to be integrated through the QR codes.
Missouri’s partnership with Digital Seat Media was secured through Learfield, the school’s multimedia rightsholder. Digital Seat Media claims it has installed over 1 million seat tags at 40+ venues such as the University of Oklahoma, Baylor University, the University of Washington, Virginia Tech, the Rose Bowl and NBA arenas such as the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City and Vivint Arena in Utah.
Sports stock market app PredictionStrike has raised a $3 million seed round led by MaC Venture Capital. The funding will help PredictionStrike launch a premium membership offering and other new social-focused features such as playing with friends, leaderboards, and a reward-based referral program.
PredictionStrike lets users buy and sell shares of athletes in leagues such as the NFL, NBA and UFC, with players in the WNBA, soccer, tennis and golf expected to soon be added. An athlete’s stock price fluctuates based on their real-life performances and user demand, meaning their price increases if they perform better than PredictionStrike’s projections and if user demand for their stock increases. Their share price will decrease as demand goes down and if they underperform their projections.
PredictionStrike launched in 2019 and previously raised $1.7 million in pre-seed capital. The app processed more than $15 million in transactions from over 100,000 users in 2021. Sixty8 Capital also contributed to PredictionStrike’s new funding round. Other startups to offer athlete stock market gaming apps include the Alex Rodriguez-backed Mojo and Boston-based Jock MKT.
Global sports streamer DAZN announced Tuesday that it had reached an agreement to acquire Eleven Group’s sports media business, which includes Team Whistle, a data-driven social video platform. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed, and the agreement’s completion is pending anti-trust review.
With the addition of Eleven, DAZN will be a leading rightsholder for soccer in Belgium and Portugal as well as its existing stronghold in the DACH region (Germany-Austria-Switzerland). DAZN has strong market share in Japan while Eleven’s portfolio includes Taiwan and southeast Asian countries.
Founded in 2015 by Andrea Radrizzani, the primary owner of Premier League club Leeds United, Eleven is also a key vendor in the production and distribution of FIFA+, the federation’s new international streaming service. Team Whistle has more than 700 million followers across social channels and is a top-10 sports media property in the US, as ranked by ComScore.
Earlier this year, DAZN announced its intention to incorporate sports betting content into its platform and launched DAZN Studios, a production arm charged with development of shoulder programming to complement the live sports rights. Former Disney streaming executive Kevin Mayer joined DAZN as its board chair a year ago. DAZN previously pursued BT Sport before that deal fell through.
DAZN reportedly lost about $2.5 billion in 2019 and 2020, and its billionaire founder, Len Blavatnik, invested another $4.3 billion earlier this year to eliminate its debt.