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TAYLOR’S TAKE ON THE WEEK IN SPORTS TECH: As NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in September, the way we watch pro sports on TV has barely changed over the past 30 years.
Don’t expect the same regularity over the next decade — or even the next few years.
I got a behind-the-scenes peek this week at the cloud technology Amazon used to stream Thursday Night Football games this season to 200 countries and on 600 different devices. This seems like just the beginning of a new trend: huge tech companies like Amazon inking lucrative deals with the top leagues as it becomes easier and cheaper to stream live sports over the internet — and while more people cancel their cable subscriptions. Read the full story here.
Highlights from the week in sports tech
- More cloud-related sports news this week: Google Cloud inked a deal with the NCAA that is marketing focused, but will also allow the NCAA to upload more than 80 years of sports data across a number of different collegiate sports into its platform, where it wants to use Google’s machine-learning expertise to parse that data.
- More fallout from the NFL ending its exclusive mobile streaming deal with Verizon: ESPN announced a deal to stream Monday Night Football to smartphones, while NBC did the same for Sunday Night Football.
- The NFL fined the Seahawks $100,000 for not following the league’s concussion protocol with Russell Wilson during the team’s win over Arizona last month.
- Uber is using its UberEats delivery service, in partnership with fast-growing Fanatics, to help the Seahawks sell merchandise.
- Unikrn continues to make big moves. The Seattle esports betting startup is partnering with MGM Grand to host video game tournaments on the Las Vegas Strip.
- The New York Times asks a completely legit question: Why doesn’t the NFL use technology for first down calls?
- The Apple Watch is becoming less of a fashion statement and more like a 24/7 health monitoring device. Expect this trend to continue for other wearables in 2018.
- Adidas is reorganizing its digital sports team, dispersing the dedicated group into all areas of the company’s business.
- Speaking of new ways to watch live sports, Fox Sports will again mic up head coaches for a college basketball broadcast, letting fans listen in to the sideline, huddle, and locker room discussion while they watch the game.
- Practice and training centers, like the new Atlanta Hawks’ facility, are becoming hubs for the latest sports science and tech.
- Seattle startup Vicis is partnering with the Spring League, a new pro football “instructional league,” to outfit all players with its high-tech helmet.
- SeatGeek inked another official ticketing partnership, this time with LAFC.
- Magic Leap unveiled its first product this week and featured some sports-related scenarios for its technology.
- LaVar Ball is pretty annoying, but his idea to start a new basketball league for high school graduates could be cool.
What to watch this weekend: More NFL games with playoff implications — Seahawks vs. Cowboys at 1:25 p.m. PT on FOX is a big one; Falcons vs. Saints at 10 a.m. on FOX and Rams vs. TItans at 10 a.m. on FOX should be good. There are also two games on Christmas Day … Speaking of, there are five NBA games scheduled for Dec. 25, including Cavs vs. Warriors at noon on ABC … College football bowl season continues, with ranked teams facing off next week.
Thanks for tuning in, everyone! Happy Holidays! — Taylor Soper