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  • Shauna Rush


Here is this week's dose of “5-Point Friday”. A weekly round-up of the sports news and stories that I find most interesting and enjoyable.

Sports tech news that I'm paying attention to -

Global sailing league SailGP announced a three-year partnership with Acronis that will see the data and cyber protection firm help enhance the series’ broadcast product through the deployment of voice recognition technology.

This means that every conversation onboard each SailGP teams’ F50 catamarans will be tracked, transcribed, and translated in real-time, with feeds set to be made available to broadcasters in a variety of languages, including French, Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin.

Viewers will, therefore, be able to listen to tactical calls and decisions made during races, while team data analysts will also use them to develop future race strategies.

“Technical innovation plays an integral role in everything we do at SailGP, and we are continually looking at ways to entertain with our unique sports property and excite our fans,” said series chief executive Russell Coutts.

“Being able to listen to all of the onboard communications in the different team languages will truly bring another dimension to our broadcast offer and we are really excited to work with Acronis to add this to our award-winning broadcast platform when the league restarts in San Francisco in April 2021.”

Baseball news that I am following -

MLB revealed the viewing figures through the third weekend of their coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.

The league announced that it's 59 nationally televised games have reached 38.875 million unique viewers. A 51% increase on the same stage the previous season.

In terms of digital consumption, MLB.TV is up 11% in total games watched and 29% in total minutes watched, both records.

Furthermore, ESPN also announced that it has seen an increase of 69%, with viewers within the 18–34 demographic. While the female audience also grew by 83% within 18–34 years olds.

What I've been reading -

WE League chair plots ambitious, progressive path for women's game by Dan Orlowitz (@aishiterutokyo). The article delves into Kikuko Okajima's ambitious vision for women's soccer in Japan.

Football news I am following -

The Canadian Football League (CFL) announced that it has decided not to play a shortened 2020 season.

“Our league governors decided today it is in the best long-term interests of the CFL to concentrate on the future,” said Commissioner Randy Ambrosie (@RandyAmbrosie).

“We are absolutely committed to 2021, to the future of our league and the pursuit of our vision of a bigger, stronger, more global CFL.”

Unlike U.S.-based leagues that can count on large broadcasting deals for revenue, the CFL depends heavily on its live gate. Which due to Canada's ban on large gatherings, the league will be unable to cover the lost revenue.

A plan for a 2020 'bubble' tournament in Winnipeg had been planned. However, the Canadian government ultimately declined the CFL’s appeal for financial support.

“Even with additional support, our owners and community-held teams would have had to endure significant financial losses to play in 2020,” Ambrosie said.

“Without it, the losses would be so large that they would really hamper our ability to bounce back strongly next year and beyond. The most important thing is the future of our league.”

Ambrosie also thanked CFL fans, players, and partners for their ongoing commitment to the league.

“The support, understanding and patience have been outstanding. Our players have hung in there despite the hardship imposed on them and their families by a postponed season. Our fans keep asking how they can help. And our partners, especially our friends at Bell Media, have been incredible to us,” he said.

“I want to thank all of them. I also want to express our gratitude to all our fellow Canadians because their efforts flattened the pandemic’s curve to the extent that a 2020 season appeared feasible. Unfortunately, not all the necessary pieces came together,” Ambrosie added.

“Now the time has come to shift our focus to 2021 and beyond. We will be back. And we will use this time to ensure the CFL comes back stronger than ever.”

Swimming tech I am interested in -

Vuzix’s Smart Swim, a device that clips onto any pair of goggles and provides swimming data, messaging, and even a video player to the swimmer in real-time via AR.

“Swimming is the ultimate hands-free environment,” says Vuzix's Chief Science Officer, Craig Travers. “Just floating the information out there [on the goggles display], that would be a big win for us, and I knew we could do better in the software world.

“With Smart Swim, metrics are delivered in real-time,” he added, “and you’re putting it on the athlete’s eye.”

Smart Swim is currently an Android device that offers separate apps for open-water and pool lap swimmers. It also offers the opportunity to stream video content over wifi or connect to swimmers' headphones through Bluetooth.

Have a wonderful weekend, all!



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