SIQ Basketball Signs Top NBA Draft Prospects as Brand Ambassadors

2022-08-13 20:55:54 By : Ms. Chloe Zhou

SIQ, the creator of a smart basketball that tracks 192 data points per shot, has signed four top Overtime Elite players as brand ambassadors as the company continues its push into mainstream hoops leagues.

Bryson Warren, Jai Smith and brothers Amen and Ausar Thompson will also serve as strategic partners for SIQ, whose basketball has been approved for gameplay by FIBA. SIQ’s basketballs have the same shape, bounce and weight as a regular ball, but provide users with real-time metrics such as make/miss percentages, swish percentage, shot release speed, release angle and spin rates, among others.

SIQ has also initiated a world-wide competition, complete with a leaderboard, for users. Already, the product has been endorsed by the NBA’s Duncan Robinson and the WNBA’s Kayla McBride, and recently received $3 million in funding from KB Partners and Tera Ventures.

Overtime Elite—a league that humanizes its players through games and immersive content on YouTube, Snapchat, IGTV, Instagram and TikTok—has more than 45 million followers an garners over 1.7 billion views per month. Warren, Smith and the Thompson brothers are all training with SIQ basketballs in hopes of eventually reaching the NBA.

Fantasy sports app ASX Sports has announced a blockchain partnership with Aventus Network that will enable ASX to track transaction activity and add new NFT collectibles to its fantasy sports platform. Aventus Network’s blockchain is connected to Ethereum and will enhance ASX’s anti-money laundering efforts on its fantasy sports product.

Miami-based ASX Sports was founded by Paddy Power, whose father David Power is a co-founder of the Paddy Power betting exchange that David named after his son and later merged to become Flutter Entertainment, the Irish gambling giant that owns FanDuel, Sky Bet and Fox Bet. Last year, ASX signed a long-term deal with Sky New Zealand's global streaming service, RugbyPass, to bring NFT-enabled fantasy gaming to rugby fans.

ASX brands itself as “stocks for sports.” Its app lets users partake in live in-game trading of players and teams for their fantasy contests. “Currently, blockchain is rolling out much like the internet, where siloed pockets of value need to be connected together to allow an explosion of value through the network effect. This partnership will allow ASX Sports to leverage all the benefits of Aventus Network’s interoperability, while maintaining full control of its users and access points – the best of both worlds,” Aventus founder Alan Vey said in a statement.

Peloton is laying off close to 780 employees in an overhaul that will mostly affect the company’s delivery workforce.  

In an internal staff memo sent Friday, CEO Barry McCarthy wrote that the company is also shutting down a substantial amount of its 86 retail stores beginning in 2023 and raising the prices immediately on its at-home fitness products to ensure better profitability. After slashing prices earlier this year, Peloton’s Bike+ will increase by $500, to $2,495 and Peloton’s Tread will increase by $800, to $3,495. The prices of Bike v1 and the AI-enabled strength training Peloton Guide will remain the same.  

By also closing its remaining warehouses, Peloton will be shifting its "final mile delivery" to third-party providers, leading to the current layoffs. McCarthy estimated that alone will reduce "per-product delivery costs by up to 50%"

That decision is a marked turnabout from 15 months ago when Peloton, under founder and former CEO John Foley, announced it would spend $400 million to build its first manufacturing plant in the U.S. Construction of the 200-acre complex was scheduled to begin in 2023, designed to produce Peloton’s cycles and treadmill machines and contain office space and a fitness center for employees. At the time, Peloton expected to add over 2,000 jobs in northern Ohio and capitalize on renewable energy sources to power the factory. Those plans have undoubtedly changed under McCarthy.     

Peloton is considered a leader in connected fitness and had recently branched off to wearable technology .  As of the end of this March, Peloton's  losses had risen to $757.1 million compared to $8.6 million the year before, while revenue dipped to $964.3 million from $1.26 billion. Tonal, an at-home AI-powered strength training machine and competitor to Peloton, cut 35% of its workforce last month.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have added Evolv’s AI-powered security screening system to its Acrisure Stadium, becoming the fifth NFL stadium installed with Evolv. Fans walk though Evolv's weapons detection system at entry gates and are not asked to remove any items from clear bags or their pockets due to its computer vision recognition and sensor technology, significantly reducing long lines to enter a venue.

Evolv debuted at Acrisure Stadium for Saturday’s pre-season game against the Seattle Seahawks. The four other NFL teams confirmed to have Evolv at their home stadiums are the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans. The security system has also been deployed at MLB parks such as Wrigley Field and Citi Field, as well as the Columbus Crew’s Field in MLS.

Peyton Manning and Bill Gates are among those to invest in Evolv Technology, which is publicly listed on the Nasdaq and made more than $9 million in revenue in Q2 of 2022 but ended the period with a net loss of $25.7M. That revenue figure marked a 94% increase over the same quarter in 2021. Massachusetts-headquartered Evolv also operates its security screening system at New York City venues such as Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History.

FC Barcelona, the financially troubled LaLiga powerhouse, has sold a second stake in its digital content subsidiary, Barça Studios, this time to Orpheus Media. As part of the deal, Barça Studios will be branded as Barça Digital Entertainment and will focus on Web3, NFT, and digital growth. 

Both the investment by Orpheus and the previous one from Socios have been worth 24.5% equity for €100 million ($103 million), ensuring that the soccer franchise maintains majority control at 51%.

Orpheus is run by Jaume Roures, who is the CEO of Spanish media giant MediaPro, which holds media rights for LaLiga matches both domestically and internationally and via LaLiga TV. Barcelona previously sold a stake of their broadcast rights to US investment firm Sixth Street.

WSC Sports, which automates the creation of highlights, has partnered with LaLiga for the first time in a wide-ranging deal.

Beginning with the new season’s matches that begin tomorrow, WSC Sports will generate AI-powered video clips with graphics and branding for every first and second division match in Spain. This will include digital distribution on the website, app and social media as well as the use of WSC Sports’ new Broadcast Pro product, which will produce the highlights in sufficient resolution and quality for LaLiga’s broadcast TV.

Furthermore, WSC Sports will scour the LaLiga archive from the past six seasons to index and tag about 5,000 matches for use in future highlight reels.

WSC Sports, a 2018 SportTechie Outstanding Technology award winner, has a number of existing global soccer clients, including LaLiga powerhouse Real Madrid, UEFA, Serie A, Bundesliga, the English FA and the Italian Football Federation. Domestically, the NBA, NASCAR, MLS and PGA Tour are all partners as well.

The Milwaukee Brewers have today begun accepting reservations for a new golf simulator room that fans can access during Brewers home games and on non-game days starting Sept. 16 at American Family Field. The indoor simulators are designed by X-Golf and will sit in an 11,000 square foot facility located in the space that was previously called the Stadium Club on the Club Level at the ballpark.

X-Golf's new space at American Family Field will be the company’s first location inside a sports stadium. The facility will span seven golf simulators across two floors, including three simulator bays that offer views of the Brewers’ playing field. Fans can play victual replicas of more than 50 iconic golf courses on X-Golf, such as The Old Course at St. Andrews, Pebble Beach and Bethpage Black. The system tracks golf shot metrics such as ball speed, launch, direction, and spin along with club path, impact, and club speed.

The new space will open 90 minutes before first pitch and close at the end of the game on game days, and will be open 9am-10pm Monday-Thursday, close at midnight on Friday and Saturday on non-game days, and open from 8am-7pm on Sunday non gamedays. The space includes two full bars with food and an outdoor patio with views of the field. The Brewers will also offer X-Golf as an events space.

The Brewers say the new facility will be the first of its kind permanent indoor golf simulator facility in an MLB park. Topgolf operates its Topgolf Live stadium tour where MLB field are turned into pop-up driving ranges, having so far stopped at Chase Field, Dodger Stadium and T-Mobile Park.

Duke has created a new centralized database in conjunction with INFLCR for its athletes to pursue NIL opportunities.

Called "Blue Devil Exchange," the free portal will allow Duke student-athletes and businesses to directly connect with each other to see if there is a possible NIL match. Neither the university nor the brand-centric company INFLCR will be part of any ensuing negotiations between the athlete and the business. If a deal is reached, however, signed forms in compliance with North Carolina law and Duke’s NIL guidelines will be cross-checked by the school.

The new platform also ensures student-athletes are paid securely, and, in addition, Blue Devil Exchange will house each athlete’s 1099 form for tax purposes. The app will also provide educational forums on NIL issues, finances and brand-building.

INFLCR is owned by Teamworks, a company developed by former Duke offensive lineman Zach Maurides. In February, INFLCR partnered with Meta to help collegiate athletes enhance their profitability on Instagram and Facebook, and, later in March, struck a similar deal with TikTok. Its app that manages social media content is used by 70,000 athletes. INFLCR is currently involved with over 250 college and pro sport organizations.

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has invested in Antidote Health, a telemedicine company with a social mission. Antetokounmpo will also serve as a brand ambassador.

Antidote Health seeks to offer affordable healthcare through telemedicine. Its platform asks screening questions about symptoms and then connects patients to a medical practitioner. Antetokounmpo made his investment with the intention of aiding underserved people in communities such as hometown of Milwaukee. Among his other investments have been in sports media company Wave Sports + Entertainment and collectible marketplace Alt.

“I believe that every human being has the right to affordable quality healthcare, no matter their race, location or circumstance, which is why I am proud to join forces with Antidote Health,” Antetokounmpo said in a statement. “My siblings and I grew up impoverished and marginalized. Though we had the support of loving parents, getting healthcare was a struggle. That’s why I empathize with the many Americans who can’t pursue their dreams because they can’t afford healthcare. Antidote Health can help this crisis.”

Social tennis website Break the Love is partnering with American Express in advance of the US Open to offer 10,000 free court reservations in the New York City area. The offer extends to all users of Break the Love with AmEx card members having additional access to peak reservation times. 

Break the Love was founded by CEO Trisha Goyal to connect players of similar ability and proximity and then find available court times. The startup, which raised a $2.5 million seed round, is a graduate of the leAD Sports & Health Tech accelerator in Lake Nona. It previously partnered with Wilson Sporting Goods on discounted tennis permits in NYC and with Equinox, a health and fitness club, for scheduling court times in NYC and the Hamptons.

American Express has been a partner of the USTA for nearly three decades and has created an immersive Fan Experience at the Billie Jean King National Tennis center. It includes Glow Tennis, a mixed reality VR game, among other exhibits.

The Web3 blockchain platform HUMBL is opening a metaverse-based store alongside Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes called "House of Hayes."

In conjunction with the Ballengee Group sports agency, HUMBL will produce 3D interactive content surrounding Ke’Bryan and his father Charlie Hayes, a member of the 1996 World Champion New York Yankees. Users will be able to take a Ke’Bryan avatar through the virtual “House of Hayes’’ to gather insight on their careers and shop for the family’s endorsed equipment, such as the Wilson A2000 glove, Franklin batting gloves, Old Hickory bats and New Balance cleats.

Exclusive Ke’Bryan Hayes NFTs designed by MLBPA-licensed Lauren Taylor Illustrations will also be available for purchase. The first iteration of the “House of Hayes’’ is at the moment in beta testing and is scheduled to be released prior to the end of this year’s 2022 Major League Baseball regular season.