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Link My Ride Cycling App Receives Funding From Dutch Sports Tech Fund – SportTechie

Link My Ride, a cycling community app co-founded by two professional cyclists, has received funding from the Dutch Sports Tech Fund in advance of its global launch later this year.
British rider Tom Pidcock, who at 23 became the youngest winner of the famed Alpe d’Huez climbing stage of the Tour de France last month, is one of the co-founders of Link My Ride along with retired cyclist Jacques Sauvagnargues. The goal of the mobile app is to connect riders, cycling clubs and brands. Users, for example, can contact each other to find riding partners.
In a post on the Dutch Sports Tech Fund site, Sauvagnargues said Link My Ride is most popular in the UK and Canada so far, with the Canadian Cycling Federation having come on board as its first investor. The app is targeting the Netherlands next through this strategic partnership. The company is also committed to creating social good and is supporting Qhubeka, an African nonprofit that donates bicycles to those who cannot afford one.
Swing analytic company Blast Motion has added three more elite softball players as brand ambassadors, continuing its emphasis on hiring social media influencers.
Just two months after Oklahoma’s Jocelyn Alo, Jayda Coleman and Kinzie Hansen became Blast’s first-ever active NIL college athletes, Blast has named pro softball’s Amanda Lorenz, Aliyah Andrews and Nicole Bates to its “Team Blast’’ roster with an eye on promoting the company’s swing analyzer sensors and cloud-based services through Instagram, TikTok and other platforms.
Lorenz, a former three-time All-American at the University of Florida, plays professionally for Athletes Unlimited and recently helped USA Softball win a gold medal at the 2022 World Games. Andrews— nicknamed “Air Aliyah’’ for repeated diving catches in the outfield—is a former LSU All-American who also plays for Athletes Unlimited. Bates, the University of Washington’s all-time hits leader, also plays for Athletes Unlimited, while simultaneously coaching for the Huskies.
Blast’s original ambassadors are former Oregon outfielder Haley Cruse and former UCLA catcher Paige Halstead, who each have substantial social media followings. The newest members of Team Blast —Lorenz, Andrews and Bates—will use their platform to generate interest in the Blast mobile app and enhance player development in the softball community.
Liga Portugal will deploy fraud detection services to combat the sale of fake online merchandise through its new partnership with LaLiga Tech, the technology subsidiary of Spain’s top soccer league. All 36 soccer clubs across Liga Portugal 1 and Liga Portugal 2 will now have access to LaLiga Tech’s Brand Protection technology that uses machine learning to quickly detect counterfeit products being sold online.
LaLiga Tech’s software analyzes aspects such as a product’s price, sales channel, security certificates, delivery times and user comments to determine if an item is properly licensed or not. If the report comes back as showing the product is fraudulent, LaLiga Tech then takes steps to remove the product from the internet through its relationship with the world’s leading online retailers.
Existing clients using LaLiga Tech’s Brand Protection services include Vermont-based rowing equipment manufacturer Concept2, the Royal Belgian Football Federation, and Mexican baseball club Tomateros de Culiacán. According to LaLiga Tech, its customers have seen more than 90% of all illegal products removed from online sale so far this year.
The in-venue app Ordr, which allows fans to order concessions from their seats, is partnering with payment firm SpotOn. The partnership will kick off at Minor League Baseball’s Triple-A Gwinnet Stripers, where SpotOn will integrate its cloud-based technology with Ordr’s point-of-sale system at the team’s ballpark in Lawrenceville, Ga. The integration will allow a venue’s concession operator the ability to process mobile orders from their existing point-of-sale.
SpotOn’s point-of-sale hardware and enterprise software is already deployed at Yankee Stadium, Dodger Stadium and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field. By collaborating with SpotOn, Ordr intends to evolve from minor league venues into eventually more visible teams and leagues. 
Ordr, a 2021 Canadian-based startup, encourages fans to order food, beverages or merch from their app, pay in the app’s cart and have the items either hand-delivered by runners or designated for express pickup. In a recent study from Oracle Food and Beverage, 53% of fans said they would prefer to order food and drinks over an app than wait in a line and 33% said they would pay a little more for the service.
Asked by SportTechie in May what problem the company is solving, Ordr CEO Jade Chiles said, “Waiting. Specifically, missing important, memorable moments you’ve paid to see [and instead] spent wasted time in a lineup grabbing food or merchandise. Our app allows you to take control of your entertainment experience, whether it be a quick bite to eat before an engagement or the last five minutes of the fourth quarter.’’
Ordr is currently raising a $650,000 seed round and has received funding from Rick White of Fusion-IO. Last September, SpotOn raised a $300 million Series E round led by Andreessen Horowitz and concurrently acquired Appetize, a mobile ordering system that was serving 15 MLB venues, 27 minor league stadiums and 10 NFL stadiums, including MetLife Stadium, Paul Brown Stadium, Empower Field, Lincoln Financial Field and M&T Stadium.
The Big3 has been using the Noah Basketball shooting analytics system to provide performance feedback to players and coaches during practices and games this season. Noah’s cameras and Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensors are installed above the rims at Big3 courts to track made and missed shots as well as the arc of each shot, the ball’s left-right position within the rim, shot depth, and data on the ball’s rotational spin on each shot.
The data is shared in real-time to BIG3 Heat Vision, the 3-on-3 league’s shot-tracking software powered by Microsoft Azure that players and coaches can view through Microsoft’s Surface tablets. Microsoft became the Big3’s official technology partner in 2021 and is the jersey-patch sponsor for all 12 teams in the Big3, which is in its fifth season and begins its playoffs on Sunday in Tampa, Fla.
Noah Basketball is installed in practice gyms for 24 NBA teams, including the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Clippers, and Portland Trail Blazers. The Big3 is the first basketball league to use the Noah system in combination with Microsoft’s Kinect sensor and backend cloud software. Colleges such as the University of Virginia and Alabama also use Noah.
Big3 Heat Vision also provides shot charts for individual players that map out their makes and misses from specific spots on the court. At the NBA level, Noah’s system is known to use facial recognition cameras to identify players. Noah’s shot-tracking data and graphics have been referenced during Big3 broadcasts this season, which fans can watch on CBS, Paramount+, YouTube, VYRE and DAZN.
Overtime, the Gen Z- and Millennial-focused sports media brand, has announced a $100 million Series D. The funding was led by Liberty Media, the owner of Formula 1 and the Atlanta Braves, and by Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global fund. Overtime previously raised an $80 million Series C and $250 million in total capital.
In 2021, Overtime grew its base of followers from 45 million to 65 million, had 20 billion views of its video content across all platforms and began working with 89 new brands including Apple, Gatorade, Google, Meta and State Farm. Overtime completed the first year of its Overtime Elite basketball league—a professional alternative to high school for teenage players—with its own tech-laden Atlanta training and game facility. It recently partnered with NFL quarterback Cam Newton on a new 7-on-7 flag football league that launched with a four-day event in Las Vegas back in June.
Also joining the funding round were Winslow Capital, Blackstone, Sapphire Sport and Jeff Bezos’ personal investment fund. Among the prior investors are Drake, Alexis Ohanian and more than 25 NBA players, including Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Trae Young, Thaddeus Young, Lonzo Ball, Devin Booker, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. In all, more than 6% of active NBA players have invested.
Overtime’s plans for the capital raise include further expansion of its two sports league, its development of Web3 strategies including NFTs and its trading cards through an arrangement with Topps.
Fox will use more than 24 cameras from Sony to broadcast MLB’s Field of Dreams game on Thursday between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. The game will again be played in Dyersville, Iowa, near the filming location of the titular 1989 baseball movie.
Last year’s inaugural MLB at Field of Dreams game on Fox between the Yankees and White Sox drew drew nearly six million viewers and was the most-watched regular-season baseball game on any network since 1998. Fox will use Sony’s HDC-F5500 S35mm camera to capture shots with shallow depth of field during the upcoming broadcast in attempt display emotional cinematic shots that remind viewers of scenes from the 1989 movie. Fox will also use Sony’s HDC-5500 4K Global shutter imager HDR/SDR camera system to show shots at super slow speed throughout the broadcast. Some of the other cameras capturing the game include Sony’s HDC-P50 and HDC-P31, or robotically operated cameras.
Fox used multiple aerial production drones during last year’s Field of Dreams broadcast, the first time in MLB history that multiple drones were used for a game broadcast. Drones from the Drone Racing League were also used during production of last year’s game to capture footage for social media content in partnership with T-Mobile.
The Major League Soccer Players Association is partnering with blockchain gaming company Splinterlands to develop Genesis League Soccer, a new play-to-earn game for desktop and mobile devices. The game will let users collect and trade in-game cards of MLS players as NFTs.
Users can build lineups with their MLS player cards to compete in digital soccer matches against card collections from other users. Splinterlands plans to make Genesis League Soccer as the first product as part of its new blockchain-based gaming network called Genesis League Sports. The company is best known for its Splinterlands mobile game released last year that lets users collect NFT cards of fictional creatures.
OneTeam Partners facilitated the deal for MLSPA. Splinterlands is at least the third NFT-related partnership for MLSPA, which also had a partnership with fantasy soccer game Sorare to create digital trading cards of MLS players. MLS and the MLSPA also struck a deal with GreenPark Sports earlier this year, a sports metaverse app that lets users collect digital soccer jerseys as NFTs to dress their in-game avatars.
V1 Sports has enhanced both its golf and baseball swing analysis apps by providing athletes with access to online lessons, automated cloud storage and customized interactive feedback from elite coaches.
Known for using a sensor-embedded pressure mat to calculate the ground force a hitter or golfer generates during a swing, V1’s new apps intend to hasten the way players and coaches can connect virtually. With golf, users can submit videos of their swing and import voice-over analysis from well-known coaches such as Mike Bender, Dana Dahlquist, Jake Thurm or Tom Saguto. The golf app also offers V1’s Model Swing library, allowing users to stream side-by-side comparisons of historically elite players to their smartphones.
With the baseball app, hitters can train virtually with former Major Leaguer Dave Hanson, the current Cincinnati Reds minor league hitting coordinator who recently installed the V1 product at his baseball academy. Alternatively, players can also train online with staff members from the North Carolina-based Baseball Rebellion facility.
As with golf, hitters can send their videos, which are automatically saved to the cloud, to V1-affiliated coaches for feedback and suggested drills. V1 has significant connections all over baseball. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw is a company brand ambassador, while his former Los Angeles teammate Scott Van Slyke was instrumental in the product’s launch in November of 2020.
A calendar year ago, V1 sports secured funding from Black Cat Ventures, a golfing tech fund headed by Michael Jordan. On the baseball side, V1 has installed high-speed cameras and video analysis software at the Louisville Slugger Hitting Science Center. At the time, the company claimed it had more than three million athletes and 10,000 coaches as users.
The Croatia Open, an ATP event staged last week in Umag, was enhanced digitally through a WhatsApp chatbot that significantly increased its global audience.
The tournament’s technological partner, Infobip—a cloud communications firm headquartered in Seattle, Wash.—developed the chatbot on its software platform Answers. According to the company, at least 86 percent of the Croatia Open’s viewers sent at least two messages on WhatsApp, while there were chatbot users from 44 different countries. Infobip also claims there was an average of 16.3 messages per chat session.
By scanning a QR code to activate chatbot, Croatia Open fans were able to access the tournament schedule, entertainment options, player bios and tickets, among others. There was also a tennis quiz on WhatsApp with prizes going to winners.
In the past nine months, the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Brewers have launched chatbot applications through Facebook Messenger to better connect with fans. The first MLB team to partner with GameOn Technology, the Brewers Facebook Messenger page currently gives fans live updates, scores, highlight videos and player information.
Sports streaming service FuboTV is adjusting its betting strategy “in light of the current economic environment” to no longer pursue operating its own independent online sportsbook, the company said in its Q2 earnings report on Thursday. The company currently operates its Fubo Sportsbook app in Iowa and Arizona and expects to also launch in New Jersey ahead of the upcoming NFL season.
“We continue to believe that an integrated wagering platform, offering both live video and a sportsbook, will result in the best viewing and gaming experience for consumers,” Fubo said in a letter to shareholders. “However, as we have evaluated how best to scale these capabilities in today’s market, we have concluded that we will no longer pursue this opportunity on our own. Accordingly, our interactive wagering business is under strategic review. We are in internal and external discussions to determine the best path forward for Fubo’s gaming business and look forward to sharing more information.”
The decision suggests that FuboTV could pursue alternate methods to offer betting, such as by partnering with an existing competing sportsbook. Fubo has been among the most aggressive streaming services to integrate sports betting directly into its live TV viewing experience since it acquired the sports betting app Vigtory in January 2021. FuboTV subscribers have been able to navigate their smart TV to access free-to-play prediction games while watching live sports, while viewers in Iowa and Arizona have been able to scan an on-screen QR code with their phone to place real-money bets via the Fubo Sportsbook.
“While our disciplined sportsbook progress continues, in light of a rapidly-evolving macro-economic environment, we believe it is important to be even more capital efficient than originally scoped,” reads Fubo’s shareholder letter. “We are taking steps to de-risk our business and have made the decision to no longer go down the wagering path independently. As a result, we’re evaluating strategic opportunities for our wagering business.”
Fubo has signed gaming sponsorships with NASCAR and the Cleveland Cavaliers as well as a deal with the New York Jets that saw a Fubo Sportsbook lounge installed at MetLife Stadium last NFL season. Other sports streaming services active in the ‘watch and bet’ space include The Rugby Network, which partnered with Tappp and Australian sportsbook PlayUp to let fans place bets directly though their smart TV during Major League Rugby matches.


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