XFL Signs BreakAway Data to Improve Player Performance and Development – SportTechie

The XFL has partnered with BreakAway Data to oversee the collection and management of its player performance data. 
BreakAway Data, a spinoff of the Gains Group sports innovation consultancy, will advise the XFL on overall strategy as well as the selection of other football technology vendors. XFL players will have access to BreakAway’s athlete data mobile app. The league and teams will use the startup’s athlete management system, called Stacks, as well as its biomechanics analysis tool, Field Labs.
One early implementation will be for BreakAway to organize position-specific drills and relevant football actions as part of its showcase series, a six-city tour of the US later this month. The event is intended to be a modernized version of the NFL Draft Combine. 
BreakAway will also continue to build new data-driven products to aid player development as well enrich fan engagement.
Ski sensor developer Carv has closed a $5.1 million seed funding round that will help the company make new hires across its data science, software and hardware departments. The round was led by gaming-focused VC firm Hiro Capital and brings Carv’s total funding to $10.9 million.
Carv makes sensors that clip to the outside of ski boots to track directional data on how a skier is contorting their body during turns to help improve their technique. The data is shared in real time through Carv’s mobile app, which has 20,000 members across 58 countries. More than 150 million ski turns have been recorded on Carv’s app.
Venture capital firms SOSV and Artesian VC also participated in Carv’s new funding round. In 2019, Hiro Capital created a $110 million fund to focus on esports and digital sports products. Hiro Capital is also an investor in the professional esports franchise Team Liquid.
Wasabi Technologies has acquired the naming rights of the NESN studio at Fenway Park, expanding the company’s activations within the stadium.
The venue’s broadcast facility will now be known as NESN’s Wasabi Fenway Studio, home to the network’s pre and postgame shows for Red Sox home games. In addition, the Wasabi logo will be placed on LED display monitors during broadcasts, and the company will sponsor NESN’s social media integrations during game coverage, as well.
Wasabi aids organizations in over 100 countries with data storage, allowing businesses to have unlimited hot cloud space. The company was also a sponsor of the Wasabi Fenway Bowl in collaboration with Fenway Sports Group and is also the official cloud storage partner of the Boston Bruins and the Liverpool Football Club. 
Playermaker, a performance tracker that attaches to athlete footwear, has amassed $40 million in funding, with Ventura Capital Group leading the investment.
MIG Capital and Pegasus Tech Ventures also invested in the device, which has primarily been utilized for soccer but will now be developed for basketball and, down the road, other sports.
Playermaker’s wearable technology transforms any kind of footwear into a connected tracking and analytic accessory. Tactical, biomechanical and physical data is accumulated based on the user’s movements, theoretically to maximize training, minimize injury risk and expedite comebacks from injuries.
Specifically, the device is strapped onto footwear to track foot placement, foot velocity and the acceleration difference between hard cuts and straight-ahead runs — all of this without the use of WIFI, a cell phone or external power. Playermaker can also be utilized inside or outside, making it applicable to a multitude of sports.
The device has mostly been made available to male athletes, but the company’s mission is to branch out to all athletes regardless of gender, age or skill level. As of now, the Playermaker tacker is deployed by more than 250 elite, pro and club level teams, leagues, academies and universities.
Youth sports operator 3STEP has acquired Sports Made Personal (SMP), a tech-centric training platform offering individualized experiences.
Founded by Chad Gruen, SMP currently offers programs for soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. The Illinois-based company has a large footprint in the Midwest and now joins 3STEP, which works with 3.1 million in athletes across more than 40 states. 
3STEP operates in eight sports—the same three as SMP as well as football, basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball—and produces events, clubs and content. Earlier this week, 3STEP contracted with KemperSports as its exclusive property management and marketing partner for its youth sports facilities.
Hudl, the sports tech company best known for its video analysis products, has made two recent acquisitions to expand its offerings. Last month, Hudl bought RealTrack Systems, which makes the Wimu Pro player tracking device, and on Thursday finalized a deal for livestreaming provider BlueFrame Technology. 
Wimu Pro was developed by a Spanish startup, RealTrack Systems, but then enhanced in collaboration with the Barça Innovation Hub, the R&D branch of storied soccer club FC Barcelona. All its clubs—including the flagship LaLiga powerhouse as well as its basketball and handball teams—adopted the Wimu wearable, as have the Spanish national team, Cirque du Soleil and every elite team in Mexico, including all of Liga MX, Liga MX Femenil and the men’s and women’s national teams. Hudl will now sync the data with its video.
BlueFrame, an end-to-end streaming provider, is already in use by a third of NCAA organizations, including more than three-quarters of Division II schools. More than 800 users of the Hudl Focus smart camera already use BlueFrame. Following this sale, Hudl is offering customers a 60/40 split of streaming revenue, with 60% going to the team. The company projects $50 million in revenue for athletic departments over the next three years.
Harry Kane, the Tottenham Hotspur star and England national team captain, has invested in TOCA Football, the tech-infused soccer and entertainment complex. 
Founded in 2016 by US World Cup and Premier League midfielder Eddie Lewis, TOCA Football recently became the largest operator of indoor soccer facilities in North America. TOCA uses proprietary training devices to give objective feedback to young players. In explaining why he invested, Kane cited that programming, the ability to help grow the sport and TOCA Social’s appeal to adult players for casual play and a night out.
“I think TOCA is a great opportunity for younger boys and girls to train and learn,” Kane said in a statement. “Everyone wants to see their stats, and everyone wants to see where they’re finishing, how they’re finishing, and where the best place to score is. The TOCA technology gives you the opportunity of getting that information back, seeing what you need to work on, what you’re doing well, and what you need to improve on, and I think that is great to have.”
The NHL has launched a digital augmented reality replica of its Stanley Cup for fans to view on their mobile device, desktop, or tablet. The experience was created in collaboration with Canadian 3D visualizations company Dynamic Vision.
The digital trophy features engraved text of every Stanley Cup championship team from 1893 to 2022, with names of more than 2,000 players also engraved on the trophy. Fans can access the AR experience via the NHL’s website or by scanning a QR code with their phone. Engraved on the digital Stanley Cup includes replications of notorious errors, such as when the 1980-81 champions New York Islanders had their name misspelled as the “NEW YORK ILANDERS” on the real trophy.
Fans can also access the digital Stanley Cup as a photo filter on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Tonight’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche will air on ABC and stream on ESPN+. Beyond replicating their championship trophy in AR, the NHL has also taken a shot at replicating the magic of Wordle with their own version of the game, dubbed Stanley Cupple.
Every golf shot from this year’s men’s U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., can be seen in 3D through the USGA’s Augmented Reality app powered by Deloitte. The tournament is set to take place from June 16 through 19.
Users of the app will have the ability to compare the golfers’ shots to each other via AR, see more than 145 sand traps in complete detail and gain 360-degree views of the USGA Golf Museum and Library. Overall, 60,000 shots are expected to be tracked in extended reality.
Branded as U.S. Open AR built by Deloitte and originally unveiled at the 2021 men’s and women’s U.S. Opens, approximately 1.5 million strokes were viewed last year. This year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in early June also deployed the AR technology.
The Lawn Tennis Association, Great Britain’s governing body for the sport, is collaborating with the BBC and design and innovation company AKQA to give blind and partially sighted fans an enhanced audio experience of the Queens Club Championships this weekend.
The technology, “Action Audio,’’ produces a livestream through the LTA website that enables low- vision viewers to follow the speed and trajectory of the players’ shots, utilizing the customary sound languages for the blind. Listeners will be able to gauge in real time how close a ball was to the line, whether it was a backhand or forehand and who won the point.
To accomplish this, AKQA uses data from Hawk-Eye’s ball monitoring system to create a high-pitched beep for forehands and a low-pitched beep for backhands. More sounds emanate when a ball lands on the sideline or baseline — three tones when it is close to the line, two when it is further from the line and one when the ball is hit down the middle. A louder ping is heard when a player hits a shot, fading as the ball moves across the net. If a user has headphones that separate sounds from the left and right ear, they can determine which side of the court the ball has traveled.
Initially trialed at the 2021 Australian Open, Action Audio has never before been initialized in the UK. The innovation is tied to the LTA’s recent inclusion strategy for the limited sight audience, a campaign entitled “See Sport Differently.’’ The goal in future years is to deploy AKQA’s technology at other events in the UK, such as Wimbledon.
Former MLB player and current Cincinnati Reds minor league hitting coordinator Dave Hansen has partnered with V1 Sports to implement the company’s ground pressure mat and swing analysis app in his Dave Hansen Baseball Academy. Hansen, who ranks sixth all-time on MLB’s career pinch-hits leaderboard, will include V1’s swing analysis tools in his hitting lessons held across the U.S and online.
V1’s pressure mat has built-in sensors to measure the force a hitter generates during their swing, with the metrics shared through the V1 mobile app. The company also makes high-speed cameras and video analysis software that’s built into cages at the Louisville Slugger Hitting Science Center.
Michael Jordan’s Black Cat Ventures invested in V1 Sports last year, while Los Angeles Dodgers star pitcher Clayton Kershaw is an ambassador of V1’s baseball app. Before expanding into baseball, V1 Sports originally geared its pressure mat and video analysis software on golf. The company now makes products to analyze both baseball and golf swings.


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