4 not so obvious athlete branded games

Famous athletes endorse all kinds of things, from the common sport brands to some bizarre smile exercise machines from Japan. Games for consoles or mobile devices are one of them. While you might have heard of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (skateboarding) or Tiger Wood’s PGA Tour (golf), how often do you think a pro athlete endorses a game that has nothing to do with the sport they play?

In this post we will look at 4 athletes who have endorsed games that have nothing to do with the sport they are famous for.

1. Letters of Boom – Richard Sherman

The latest superstar to release a video game with his name on it is NFL’s Richard Sherman. It has nothing to do with the NFL or a field of any kind.

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Forget about 3D, now watch sports in FreeD!

Picture this: A batsmen hits a ball straight to a fielder and gets out. Now imagine the replay: a single replay that shows you how the ball moves from bowler to batsman, bat to fielder, all while changing the point of view of the camera from bowler, to batsman, to fielder.

Sound familiar? We’ve seen this before. Watch the video replay below, an example of such a replay that uses a technology called Viz Libero.

In cricket we have seen it used sporadically in different parts of the world by different broadcast partners. But guess what, the Americans are now in the act and we have to admit, making it look cooler.

Maverick technology innovation

NBA team the Dallas Mavericks aim to bring similar replays to engage their fans regularly. They have signed a partnership with Replay Technologies, a company responsible for the creation of “FreeD” video replay technology.

FreeD stands for ‘free dimensional replays’, and is similar to what we have seen in cricket. But while the cricket replay looks like it uses a very limited number of cameras, FreeD looks like it’s bigger brother. Just watch this video below to see what FreeD can do.

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_TxrOxCPSg%5D

What is FreeD?

FreeD is a 360-degree video system that provides a totally unique viewing experience for fans. As you’ve seen in the video above, the possibility of you missing a play because of the camera angle or some player obscuring your view of a killer pass, will now be gone.

26 FreeD-enabled cameras have been installed in American Airlines Centre (Mavericks home court), becoming the largest freeD system ever installed.

Could change how we all watch our favourite sport

This might be the first time it is used in the NBA, but it isn’t new for the world of sport. This product from Replay Technologies has been used in different instances for different sports, albeit without the name ‘FreeD’ being highlighted due to the different sponsor tie ups each sport may have had.

Here are a couple videos of FreeD being used in other sports.

BASEBALL

AMERICAN COLLEGE FOOTBALL

So far only a few sports have been introduced to the world of FreeD, but it might not be too long before we see this tech being used during broadcast of our favourite sport.

Great potential for training, coaching and referee training

The entertainment benefits are clear for all to see, but the potential for this tech to be used for personal training, coaching or even for referee training is immense.

In the video below, Jim Furyk’s golf swing analysis.

In the video above you would have seen that Jim Furyk’s swing isn’t conventional, but it still gave him that brilliant set-up for a birdie.

Here’s what I think the technology can be used for:

  • Self Improvement – I play a lot of football, with this replay tech I can learn what to look out for when Xabi Alonso plays a long diagonal pass in a game for Bayern Munich. In doing so I learn what he looks for, when he plays that pass, where he plays that pass, and what technique he uses.
  • Coaching – A coach can use video footage to teach a young team what player movement is needed for a quick counter attack on a hockey pitch
  • Referee training – Referees go through a lot of gruelling training sessions, mental and physical. Instead of watching match replays from a broadcast camera angle, what if referees could watch the match from the perspective of a pro linesman or pro referee? That would change everything!

Technology like this might have started off with fan engagement in mind. But the other possibilities are obvious. FreeD is really cool and if used in different ways, it could become the holy grail of training when combined with data collected from fitness tracking technologies.

I might eventually be able to watch football replays in third person, like I do when I watch my goals replays while playing FIFA on my console. That is the most exciting thing about FreeD for me.

Podcast review: Data is becoming key to those running sport teams

Public Radio International‘s Kara Miller talks to Jessica Gelman and Ben Shields about the increasing importance of data analytics in the world of sport. In an engaging 16.30 minute podcast, the discussion touches upon the use of data and analytics for player valuation and performance management on the one hand and increasing fan engagement on the other. Read on for a summary of the discussion.

The two experts

Jessica Gelman

  • Co-founder and chair of the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference.
  • Vice President at the Kraft Sports Group (owns New England Patriots football team).

Ben Shields

  • Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Former social media and marketing director at ESPN.

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Why I might download an ESPN app again

Here is why I don’t use an ESPN mobile app right now.

When I bought my first Android phone a 5 years ago, I wanted a sports app that did the following 5 things:

  1. Live scores for football and cricket
  2. Gave me team details
  3. News & Transfer updates
  4. NOT take up much space on my phone’s limited storage capacity (ever get that message ‘insufficient storage’ on your phone?)
  5. NOT use all the RAM my phone had

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3 reasons why Nike gets social media

Nike saw the importance of digital marketing and shifted from traditional medium to digital media early. They are one of the kings in the social media space for sports brands, as Jessica Smith points out in her piece. As Jessica points out, there are 3 big reasons why Nike gets social media.

1. Restructured their resources

They restructured the spending of their resources and didn’t just throw money at digital. By reducing the amount spent on traditional print and TV ads (as much as 40% in the US) they rearranged that money to be spent on digital and social media campaigns. The company’s current marketing budget stands at $2.4 billion. Continue reading

Digital advertising spends to surpass TV advertising within next decade

Digital advertising has come a long way since the first banner ad was seen back in 1994. If you were too young to have either seen this or remember this, here’s the first banner ad ever made.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 1.30.16 pm

Mike Hanlon discusses the evolution of digital advertising in the twenty years of its existence in this piece form Gizmag and also discusses possibilities about the future.

For something that did not even exist twenty years ago, digital advertising has sure come a long way:

  • 1994: Web advertising is born
  • 2004: Total advertising spend on digital remains at less than 5%
  • 2014: Digital ad share is at 25% and is projected to grow to 33% by 2018

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What people are saying about the Indian Super League

The Indian Super League has started with much glitz, glamour and fanfare. Packed stadiums in Kolkata and Guwahati, high television and online viewership, and the general buzz around this tournament is making it appear like football’s answer to the IPL as far as India is concerned.

But, what is the word on the street for the ISL? Below are questions asked and answered by Quora users.

Q. What was your first impression about Indian Super League?

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Things NFL teams are doing to fill their stadium seats

The NFL recorded its lowest ever attendance levels in 2011, the lowest since 1998. A post from 2012 showed that a 782,499 people attendance drop from 2007 and 2011 equated to roughly $60 million in lost revenue.

Even the NCAA’s (college football) attendance was healthier than the NFL’s in the 2013 season. The NCAA recorded a record breaking stat for their 2013 season of 50.3 million people attending, with an overall attendance of over 97%.

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VenueNext – The future of venue experiences

How do you turn a new sports stadium into a Silicon Valley tech start-up? San Francisco 49ers can probably answer that question.

The NFL team from the heart of the Valley, San Francisco 49ers, opened its Levi’s Stadium to public in August 2014. Billed as one of the world’s best outdoor sports and entertainment venues, it’s built at a cost of $1.3 billion with 1.85 million square feet of space, with high speed Wifi connecting the approximately 68,500 people that fill it to capacity.

This time lapse video shows how this hi-tech stadium was built.

 

 

What this video does not show, though, is how it led to the inception of the hot Silicon Valley start-up, VenueNext.

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