Verizon's New Streaming Hub +Play Will Provide Free Netflix … – SportTechie

Verizon’s new streaming hub +play will provide free Netflix access to customers who also subscribe to a partnered streaming service such as NFL+, NBA League Pass, HBO Max, AMC+ or Peloton, among others. The telecom giant announced a beta launch of its +play platform on Wednesday, which will serve as a digital home for Verizon’s internet or cell phone customers to access and manage their various subscription streaming services.
The free Netflix offer — a 12-month premium subscription normally valued at $240 — is only available to those who purchase a subscription to NFL+, NBA League Pass, or another streaming service directly through +play, which is included at no additional cost to existing Verizon customers. Verizon wants +play to serve as a digital space for customers to track and manage payments to their various streaming subscriptions, and it will send notifications to alert users of an ending free trial period, promotional offer, or price change to a streaming service.
Other streaming apps that can be accessed via Verizon’s +play will include Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, discovery+ and A+E Network, as well as content from sports media outlet The Athletic and mental health platform Calm. Verizon is a longtime partner of both the NFL and NBA with deals to deploy its 5G connectivity at stadiums in both leagues.
FuboTV says it was the victim of a criminal cyber attack that disrupted its livestream of Wednesday’s World Cup semifinal between France and Morocco. The outage prevented some FuboTV subscribers from being able to watch the entire match amid in-app loading issues.
“On December 14, 2022, the day of the Qatar 2022 semifinal match between France and Morocco, many FuboTV customers experienced issues accessing their accounts,” FuboTV said today in a statement. “The incident was not related to any bandwidth constraints on Fubo’s part. We were instead the target of a criminal cyber attack. Once we detected the attack, we immediately took steps to contain the incident and worked to restore service to all of our users as quickly as possible. Service was fully restored by last evening. We deeply regret the disruption caused by this incident in the meantime.”
FuboTV reported the issue to law enforcement and is now working with cyber security firm Mandiant to assist with its investigation into the attack. FuboTV sent its first tweet acknowledging its World Cup streaming issues on Wednesday at 2:33 p.m. ET, about a half hour after kickoff between France and Morocco. The company shared a link for its subscribers to stream the game directly on Fox Sports, but many Fubo users received error messages when trying to stream the game through that link.
At the 2018 men’s World Cup, fellow streaming service YouTube TV had an outage that prevented fans from watching the semifinal match between Croatia and England, prompting YouTube TV to offer free service for a week to subscribers. FuboTV is also facing a legal dispute with the New York Jets over claims that its now defunct sports betting subsidiary Fubo Gaming failed to pay sponsorship payments to the NFL team.
Kansas City’s T-Mobile Center, home to sporting events such as the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament, has opened its new 816 Market with Amazon’s checkout-free technology. It is the first sports and entertainment venue in Missouri to host a store powered by Amazon Just Walk Out and Amazon One.
Fans can insert their credit card into entry kiosks to access the 816 Market and then pick items off shelves as Just Walk Out’s in-store cameras and sensors automatically charge their credit cards for detected items upon exiting the store. Shoppers can alternatively register their credit card and palm with Amazon One to scan their palm as a form of biometric entry into the store. 
The 816 Market is located at Section 105 on the main concourse in a space that was previously a bar for mixed drinks and frozen cocktails. It is now selling water, beer, seltzers, soft drinks, among other food and beverage products. T-Mobile Center’s hospitality partner Levy is collaborating with Amazon on the market. Levy also runs an Amazon-powered checkout-free store at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field football stadium.
Strive, which makes smart apparel that tracks lower body muscle movements, was publicly endorsed Wednesday via social media by Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday.
On an Instagram post, Holiday wrote: “Being able to know my body is performing during the NBA season & off season is key to staying at the top. STRIVE provides me w/ insights into my muscle performance & that’s why I’ve decided to partner w/ them!”
Holiday becomes the latest pro athlete to sign a deal with Strive, which in September released a product adapted for individual elite athletes called Strive Elite. At that same time, the constantly evolving company added various athletes to its advisory board such as Indianapolis Colts All-Pro Jonathan Taylor and Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews — both of whom also became equity partners in Strive.
Strive Elite, which Holiday implied he will lean on during this NBA season, utilizes Surface Electromyography — as well as sensors inside compression shorts powered by a Tri-Axial Accelerometer — to quantify an athlete’s muscle exertion. It is a non-invasive platform that measures the electrical activity of an athlete’s glutes, quads and hamstrings, for instance, and then grants the athlete an overall muscle data score.
To make sure that athletes also receive accurate positional data, Strive and CEO Nikola Mrvaljevic have incorporated Kinexon’s tracking/sensor technology into the product. Back in June, Strive raised a $6 million Series A and have incrementally added other athletes to its advisory board such as WNBA All-Star Cheyenne Parker, Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford and pro tennis player Giuliana Olmos.
Overall, Strive claims to have over 215 elite athlete users and has collaborated with teams such as Kentucky men’s basketball, the Baltimore Ravens, the Kansas City Chiefs and Leicester City of the Premier League. Holiday has a business-minded background, having opened the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Impact Fund in the spring of 2021, which provided up to $1 million in grants to Black-owned small businesses and Black-led nonprofits. His wife, Lauren Holiday, is a former member of the U.S. women’s soccer team.
Digital agencies and LGBT+ advocacy groups have taken to FIFA-sanctioned virtual worlds to protest discrimination in World Cup host country Qatar. Global non-profit All Out collaborated on a protest in Roblox’s FIFA World in conjunction two Swiss agencies, Bandara and Freundliche Grüsse, for a campaign called “Unplay the Hate.” In a separate initiative, All Out worked with AlmapBBDO in Brazil for an activation in the EA Sports FIFA game called “Play with Love.” 

“We thought it’s not going to be possible for anyone to protest in Qatar, but then seeing the virtual version of Qatar — FIFA World in Roblox — we thought, ‘Hey, we could have a protest in virtual Qatar because this is the place where also LGBT activists can safely protest,’” says Daniel Gremli, a co-founder at Gremli, which specializes in AR and VR content.
The two Zurich-based agencies contacted All Out, who quickly partnered on the idea. Just before Qatar hosted the first match of the World Cup, 17 characters in Roblox’s FIFA World all put on avatar shirts with a single letter on them. They then arranged themselves in digital Doha to spell out “FIFA Unplay the Hate.”
Gremli says they did not contact either Roblox or FIFA in advance and have not heard from them since. He also says the reaction from others witnessing the protest in FIFA World was minimal but believes it’s a harbinger for future digital advocacy.
“I think it’s just a new way to protest because, as we know, more and more people spend more and more time in virtual worlds,” Gremli says. “So then I think almost automatically activism in these virtual worlds is also going to get more and more important. So I think this is not the last metaverse protest that we saw.”
The other activation from All Out enables gamers on EA Sports’ FIFA franchise to download a digital version of the LGBT+-supporting “One Love” armband for use in the game. FIFA prohibited the real-world national teams from wearing them during the World Cup.
The Brazilian soccer magazine Corner also utilized a digital space to stage a protest by creating a new augmented reality Snapchat filter for fans to digitally transform any flag into the pride flag.
MLB’s World Champion Houston Astros are engaged in a digital upgrade of Minute Maid Park after hiring Samsung Electronics America to modernize the stadium with its newest iterations of display technology.
As part of the deal, Samsung will install an immersive primary scoreboard that includes its latest LED science, as well as other digital enhancements in the center field mezzanine and infield ribbon boards. The integrations got underway shortly after the World Series in November and are scheduled to be concluded prior to Opening Day on March 30, 2023.
Samsung’s digital signage is now being deployed across professional sports, with displays already installed in venues such as Citi Field, SoFi Stadium, M&T Bank Stadium and Chase Center. The collaboration with the New York Mets in 2022 included 12,000 square feet of Samsung Direct View LED displays in the stadium; five levels of LED ribbon boards; 300 Samsung LCD screens throughout the ballpark; an IPTV system powered by Samsung’s MagicIFO software; and twice as many slow-motion replay systems.
For 2023, the Mets will add a new centerfield scoreboard, 1,000 more Samsung LCD screens and two jumbo LED boards on the Promenade Plaza, leading Samsung to call Citi Field the “most technologically advanced ballpark.”
The Players’ Lounge, a college sports-focused fan engagement platform, announced a seed investment from Draper Associates, a Silicon Valley venture firm. Separately, the Atlanta-based startup also partnered with Brinx.TV, a content company founded by John Brenkus, a six-time Emmy Award winner, who acquired equity as part of the deal. 
Founded by former University of Georgia football players including quarterback Aaron Murray (president) and running back Keith Marshall (CEO) — both whom spent time in the NFL — The Players’ Lounge launched earlier in 2022 with the release of the DGD Mafia, an NFT collection targeting the Bulldogs football community. Via NIL rules, many current players at the time, such as linebacker Nakobe Dean (now with the Philadelphia Eagles) and quarterback Stetson Bennett IV (recently a Heisman Trophy finalist), were able to participate and benefit financially.
In less than a year, The Players’ Lounge said it has worked with more than 250 college athletes and generated more than $1.4 million in revenue through both physical and digital activations. It previously partnered with Icon Source, which uses AI to target sponsorship opportunities for athletes based on social media followings.
Kapsul Tech Corp. has designed a protective, high-collar shirt that supports athletes’ necks and can potentially reduce the risk of traumatic injury.
Marketed as the Kapsul Atlas, the lightweight shirt has embedded “Dynamic Neck Stabilization Technology” that protects the area between a player’s upper torso and head. Through combined research with the Canadian Military and the University of Waterloo, Kapsul concluded that its product will particularly help youth athletes whose muscles and bones are less developed and female athletes who they identified as having “longer necks with lower muscle density.”
The shirt/collar was made to be nonobstructive and should not inhibit player movement or neck flexibility. As part of Kapsul’s proprietary research, Kapsul utilized a clinically validated human model known as an FEM (Finite Element Model) that is essentially an advanced test dummy. Often deployed by car manufacturers, the FEM allowed the company to study the intricate impact on a person’s soft tissue, skeletal structure, musculature and fluids after a forceful collision.
Another collar device, the Q-Collar, has also gained popularity in contact sports such as football, lacrosse and soccer. Approved by the FDA, the Q-Collar is worn around the neck to gently compress the jugular vein and increase blood flow to the skull — theoretically limiting the brain from shifting around dangerously after hard impact.
Tony Pollard and Dalton Schultz of the Dallas Cowboys, Casey Toohill of the Washington Commanders and Meghan Klingenberg of the NWSL’s Portland Thorns are among the high-profile athletes currently wearing the Q-Collar.
Mobile sports coaching app Famer has partnered with 3d Lacrosse, the U.S. youth lacrosse organization with more than 2,500 players and 125 teams across nine states. Famer will help produce hundreds of on-demand lacrosse training videos for players, coaches, and parents to stream in the company’s app.
New weekly content from 3d Lacrosse will be added year-round to the app, which will also let coaches create custom workouts and communicate via group chat with their players. Videos from Famer and 3d lacrosse will cover lacrosse skills, drills, game situations, leadership, and mental toughness.
3d Lacrosse was founded in 2009 and is owned by 3Step Sports, the youth sports brand that’s become a $300 million business with more than 700 employees and operates leagues in eight youth sports spanning three million athlete members. Famer signed deals in 2020 to provide youth training content with the NBA Players Association and LeagueApps, the team management platform funded in part by MLB.
LaLiga powerhouse Real Madrid, which has won five Champions League titles in the past decade, is partnering with Ōura Health through its innovation arm to distribute Oura’s holistic monitoring rings to its entire professional team.
Upon returning to Valdebebas for post-World Cup training, Real Madrid players will all receive Oura rings to track their sleep and recovery. Each athlete can also choose to opt-in to the Ōura Health Risk Management platform, a tool similar to what was used in the NBA Bubble that offers additional insights to users and team doctors to detect early signs of illness.
“The Oura Ring allows us to see how our players respond to training, traveling, or for instance, stress and, as a result, their recovery trend,” Dr. Suzanne Huurman, Real Madrid’s head of medical education and head of academy, sad in a statement. “For example, did this specific player get enough time to recover? Are they ready for today’s scheduled training, or should we adapt it to how they are feeling? The 24/7 temperature trend tracking of the Oura Ring also helps to detect signs of illness and gives us the opportunity to react as soon as possible.”
The agreement is formally between Ōura Health and Real Madrid Next, the club subsidiary overseeing R&D and incubating technologies that is similar in function to FC Barcelona’s Barça Innovation Hub. Oura has struck several league-wide deals with the NBA and NBPA, NASCAR, UFC and the World Surf League as well as team deal with MLB’s Seattle Mariners, Formula 1’s Red Bull Racing and the NCAA’s Rutgers football.
Indian cricket star Shikhar Dhawan has launched Da One Global Ventures (DOGV), a $75 million global venture capital fund to invest in sports technology. The fund is incorporated in Abu Dhabi and its divisions will include a SportsTech Accelerator and esports Venture studio.
DOGV’s targeted investments will span multi-stage startups across sports tech, esports, gaming, and Web3. Dhawan, a left-handed opening batsman, has captained the India national cricket team and plays for the Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League as well as team Delhi in first-class cricket. He’s an endorser for brands such as Dream11, the top fantasy sports platform in India whose parent company Dream Sports has been valued at $8 billion.


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