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Tennis icon Serena Williams is set to be the keynote speaker for the Black Tech Week, an upcoming conference designed to unite and enhance minority investors, entrepreneurs and tech innovators.
As managing partner of the early-stage venture capital firm Serena Ventures, Williams has previously made it a priority to support Black software engineers. Much of her inaugural VC fund of $111 million was earmarked to help “founders with diverse point of view,’’ and, in the tech space, she has invested specifically in Bitcoin, fintech, e-commerce and fitness on-line marketplaces.
To be held the week of July 18 in Cincinnati, Black Tech Week is scheduled to have over 50 minority, technology-centric speakers and more than 60 sessions. Others influencers slated to speak on the nuances of tech and startups include Kimberly Bryant (founder of Black Girls Code), Arlan Hamilton (founder of Hire Runner and Backstage Capital) and Janeen Uzzell (CEO of the National Black Society of Engineers).
FIA’s World Rallycross Championship will begin its switch to electric car racing Aug. 13-14 in Hell, Norway. The transition to electric battery-powered racing will replace World RX’s automobile series that debuted in 2014.
World Rallycross originally planned to start electric racing in 2020, but the series has been delayed two years due to pandemic-related supply chain issues for car manufacturers. There are now eight races across Europe planned for the upcoming inaugural electric season, which wraps up in Spain in Oct. 29-30.
World RX is now the FIA’s third electric racing offering, joining its Formula E open-wheel series and the SUV off-road Extreme E series. The rallycross powertrains are expected to generate 500 kW of power, the equivalent of 680 hp, and reach 880 Nm of torque, which FIA says will result in faster acceleration than the cars in Formula E.
“We are proud in Norway to be leading the energy transition in the automotive industry – 90% of new cars sold here now are either electric or hybrid – so there are plenty of synergies with what Rallycross Promoter is doing and we look forward to putting on an incredible event for fans next month with sensational action in all four classes,” Tor Helge Forbord Slind, promoter and CEO of Norway’s Hell RX AS, said in a statement.
The WNBA’s upcoming All-Star weekend in Chicago will debut “WNBA Live presented by U.S. Bank,” an outdoor basketball festival that will showcase augmented reality activations and digital technology.
To be staged starting Saturday outside the McCormick Place convention center—and equipped with a jumbotron so spectators can watch the league’s corresponding MT DEW three-point shooting contest and skills challenge—the WNBA’s tech activations include AT&T’s FitCam, where fans can be digitally fitted with AR apparel that they choose through a Snapchat QR code.
Also at McCormick Place, Dick’s Sporting Goods will host interactive arcade games and photo ops, while Microsoft—together with the Jr. NBA—will hold a STEM learning session to educate local basketball-playing children on how sports scientists quantify athletic performance through Microsoft Surface devices.
The WNBA has long made technology a staple of its league. This year’s All-Star Game tips off Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Wintrust Arena and, on gameday, will also feature an in-arena activation from Google, highlighting WNBA-related search trends.
WagerWire, an online marketplace that lets users buy and sell previously placed sports bets, has raised a $3 million seed funding round led by Miami Marlins co-owner Roger Ehrenberg. WagerWire lets bettors create wagers and parlays and sell them as opportunities to other users, securing the original creator a profit even if the bet’s outcome proves unsuccessful.
Ehrenberg, who is also an investor in English soccer club Leeds United, invested in WagerWire through his IA Sports Ventures and Eberg Capital venture funds. Other WagerWire investors include Cardinal Sports Capital and 305 Ventures, the firm owned by Simplebet founder Joey Levy. WagerWire says it will integrate its bet trading marketplace into apps of several soon to be announced sportsbook partners.
“Now your bet no longer has to win to make you money,” said WagerWire CEO Zach Doctor said in a statement. “People want more control over their betting journey, and the WagerWire marketplace gives them the ability to flip bets like they would a stock on Robinhood, or a pair of Jordans on StockX.”
Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball, an active investor in the digital platform HEIR, is holding a 24-hour charitable auction Thursday on Magic Eden’s Launchpad in conjunction with premium artists Okay Bears. 
The highest bidder will receive a one-of-a-kind digitally-signed NFT, as well as a signed jersey. According to HEIR, which has a mission of “jumping the Web2 to Web3 gap by transforming sports fans to owners,” proceeds from the auction will be directed to a charity activation that Ball’s HEIR NFT owners will help create.  
Ball previously collaborated with HEIR on an NFT drop in June that featured a collection designed by streetwear artist Don C. HEIR was originally conceived last December by Michael Jordan’s son, Jeffrey. 
The National Basketball Retired Players Association is hosting the Legends Tech Summit from July 7-9 in Las Vegas as part of several networking events hosted during NBA Summer League action in Sin City. More than 100 former NBA, WNBA, and ABA players are expected to attend the Tech Summit as part of the NBRPA’s annual Legends Summer Getaway in Las Vegas.
The Emerging Technology & Player Opportunities Tech Summit will focus on topics such as NFTs and podcasting and how retired athletes can pursue these fields. Former NBA player Metta Sandiford-Artest will speak on a panel alongside representatives from the NBA and augmented reality developer ARIA 360. ESPN broadcaster Ros Gold-Onwude will moderate the panel.
Former WNBA player Yolanda Moore will also headline an Amazon Career event hosted during the Legends Summer Getaway in which she’ll discuss her post-playing career work as part of Amazon’s Athletes Program. The retired basketball players will also be treated to a golf outing at Topgolf Las Vegas.
Sony’s upcoming PlayStation VR2 virtual reality headset will include eye-tracking technology thanks to a new partnership between eye tracking provider Tobii and Sony Interactive Entertainment. The deal is expected to account for more than 10% of 2022 revenue for Tobii, whose eye-tracking glasses have supported training for NASCAR drivers, MLS academy players, hockey goalies and ELeague gamers.
Sony has not yet confirmed an exact launch date for its VR2 headset, which will offer virtual reality gaming on PlayStation. Premier League soccer club Manchester City announced a multi-year deal last year to make Sony its “virtual fan engagement” partner and create a digital Etihad Stadium in the metaverse. That vision includes avatars and 3D players made from player and ball-tracking graphics from Hawk-Eye, the sports officiating and computer vision system owned by Sony.
Tobii’s new eye-tracking integration will aim to strengthen Sony’s position in the virtual reality headset market that has been dominated by Meta’s Oculus Quest hardware. The New York Times reported last month that Apple is also beginning to develop its own AR/VR headset. The NFL’s upcoming first virtual reality video game made with StatusPro will be available for Meta and PlayStation’s VR headsets.
Renowned sports architecture firm Populous partnered with gaming content creator Lachlan Power to develop the PWR Facility, an elite esports training and content center—that has been initially built in the Fornite metaverse.
The digital rendering is intended to precede a physical construction in the real world, but for now it can be accessed in Fortnite at island code <2798-2476-0891>. The PWR Facility has been purpose-built not only for the PWR team but for the broader gaming community to visit. The digital structure will house numerous functions, from health and wellbeing education to merchandise sales to content creation.
Populous previously has built several real-world esports facilities: Esports Stadium Arlington Texas, Fusion Arena, Nerd Street Gaming, Fortress Melbourne and Fortress Sydney. ​Populous is better known for many of its pro sports venues, many of which have hosted Super Bowls (such as Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and State Farm Stadium in Phoenix), Champions League matches (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium) and World Series games (Oracle Park and Yankee Stadium).
Hydrow, the at-home connected rower that mimics an on-water experience, has released a lighter, cheaper and more compact version called Hydrow Wave.
Intent on democratizing the sport of rowing, Hydrow announced its new machine costs $1,000 less than the brand’s original $2,500.00 product and has a two-piece polycarbonate monocoque frame that is 30% lighter. As with the original product, the Hydrow Wave allows consumers to livestream or on-demand waterways to create an outdoor rowing experience and provides its base of approximately 200,00 subscribers with personalized coaching.
Hydrow claims its revenue has grown three times in the past year, while its total funding has risen to $255 million behind celebrity investors Kevin Hart, Justin Timberlake, Aaron Rodgers and the NBA/WNBA Players Associations. The machine gives users the feel of rowing on actual water through an algorithm-based electromagnetic and computerized drag component.
The connected-rowing space has been more than competitive, with Techstars’ Ergattabacked by Colin Kaepernick—and the gamified rower Aviron ensconced in the marketplace.
Tottenham Hotspur, a regular Premier League contender and Champions League participant, has launched a new direct-to-consumer media product, SpursPlay, in partnership with Endeavor Streaming.
SpursPlay debuted on July 5 with an original documentary, ‘Antonio Conte: 202 Days,’ that provided a behind-the-scenes look at the head coach’s guidance of Tottenham last season. Conte was hired on November 2, 2021, with the Spurs in eighth place in the Premier League; they finished the season in fourth, earning a return to the Champions League.
The streaming service—priced at £45 ($54) annually with discounts for season ticket holders and fan club members—will broadcast the men’s first team’s four preseason friendlies in July as well as live coverage of some women’s first team matches next season in addition to some U18 and U21 matches. Replays for Spurs first team matches will also be available on-demand.
Liverpool (LFCTV Go), Manchester City (City+), Manchester United (MUTV) are among the Premier League powerhouse clubs that previously launched DTC streaming services.
A new joint project of Rugby Football League, Super League Europe and Leeds Beckett University will outfit 40 clubs in the United Kingdom and France with instrumented mouthguards from Prevent Biometrics to assess head impacts and accelerations. 
The three-year study, which will be overseen by LBU professor Ben Jones, will encompass about 1,000 mouthguards with IMU sensors. The devices will be given to men’s, women’s, academy and community teams.
The same three partners previously researched a “Ready for Impact?” study that implemented several sensor-laden mouthguards. That work will soon be published in the British Journal for Sports Medicine and laid the groundwork for what’s being called the TaCKLE Project (for Tackle and Contact Kinematics, Load and Exposure). Jones holds a dual appointment as RFL’s strategic lead for performance, science and research. The results of TaCKLE will feed into other player load monitoring initiatives being conducted at the league level.
The technology from Prevent Biometrics, which raised $5 million earlier this year, is also in use by World Rugby, the US Department of Defense, and several universities including Stanford.


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