The Premier League: FINALLY!

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Another week, another edition, ladies and gentlemen… Welcome back to the Sports Road! Technology has taken some seriously big steps in the sports world over the last couple years, and things are beginning to change quickly… So quickly, in fact, that it’s getting pretty hard to keep up. Luckily, that’s exactly why we’re here 😅 Enjoy!

Here's what we got for ya today:

  • The Premier League: FINALLY! 

  • UFC: A Massive Week…

  • NBA: Levelling up

  • The Future?

Most Valuable Sports Teams:

Let's get into it!

FINALLY!

The Premier League has been on an absolute tear recently… 

From changes to VAR, to the application of body cam technology, and the creation of dedicated platforms to level the playing field between teams, the league has NOT stopped. And, to be honest, we don’t blame them! 

With the level of Football played in the league only seeming to go up and up, matches are being decided by the finest of margins… Holding serious implications, the difference between winning and losing in today’s Footballing landscape is huge.

As such, errors are (finally) looking like they are set to be minimised, starting with (drumroll please 🥁🥁🥁) offsides!!! I mean, anyone could have guessed that one 😅😅

Being perhaps the single most controversial topic discussed over the last couple years, the introduction of VAR brought rife changes to the process of calling offsides.

Having originally promised to streamline such decisions in the Premier League, VAR has only brought further confusion since its inception.

With issues stemming from either human error, or the fact that there are only a select number of angles to review footage, determining whether a player is truly offside has been hugely difficult for referees.

Thankfully, it looks like we’re set for a BIG change…

Being introduced in the 2022 World Cup, fans have been clamouring for the Premier League to adopt semi-automated offsides. And, it looks like they may finally be getting their wish…

With all 20 Premier League clubs unanimously voting on its implementation this week, the technology is set to come into use next autumn.

Using 12 dedicated tracking cameras, the system leverages AI to track up to 29 data points in each individual player at up to 50 times per second. Including limbs and other extremities in its data points, the AI combines with an inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor placed inside the ball to accurately portray different offside decisions with great accuracy during the tournament. 

“The technology will provide quicker and consistent placement of the virtual offside line, based on optical player tracking, and will produce high-quality broadcast graphics to ensure an enhanced in-stadium and broadcast experience for supporters.”

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UFC: A HUGE WEEK!

Wow, what a week for the UFC! We know what you’re all thinking about… UFC 300.

Being undoubtedly one of the greatest cards the UFC has ever put on, the sold out event was one of the company’s most successful EVER.

Being the third highest-grossing UFC Pay-Per-View ever, the event garnered over 1.1 billion views on social media, and saw some of the most exciting fights and best knockouts of the year. 

But, despite not being seen by as many people, it wasn’t only UFC 300 that made this week huge for the UFC. In fact, Dana White had some other pretty big announcements…

I mean, while news of Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Islam Makhachev’s returns are HUGE, what actually  interests us is the UFC’s new glove designs… 🤓

Alright, alright. We know. Just hear us out… Revolutionising the gloves which fighters perform with for the first time in ages, the UFC claim that the redesign allows for “enhanced protection, improved fit, greater comfort, and maximum flexibility.”

Promising to heavily improve fighter performances, there is an underlying feature which – for many – seems to have gone under the radar. Tech fans, you’ll be sure to like this…

Announcing an extension of the UFC’s partnership with Blockchain experts, VeChain, there is a technological element of the gear that could transform the way fans interact with the sport… This is what we know so far:

  • Specifically operating within the 3EIGHT and 5EIGHT glove type, utilising VeChain technology, NFC chips that leverage VeChainThor blockchain tech will be placed inside match-worn gloves. 

  • Offering high levels of authentication and traceability, fans who buy the match-worn gloves as memorabilia can scan the chip through the official UFC website to verify its authenticity and gain digital certification. 

“This integration is a watershed moment in not only VeChain’s partnership with UFC but also in redesigning the blueprint for community engagement. This application showcases to a global audience the tangible, real-world benefits of our technology, further bridging two brands with their loyal and growing communities.”

Sunny Lu, CEO of VeChain

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The Atlanta Hawks’ New Tech!

The digitalisation of sport is no joke… 

We’ve said it before and, until it ceases to be true, we’ll say it over and over again. Data is one of the most important things that sports teams and organisations hold today. 

Specifically, relying on online databases to store a variety of important information, it is becoming increasingly important to have a secure place to hold such information.  

For that reason, here at The Sports Road, we’ve spoken of numerous teams looking to strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities. 

And, today, it looks like we have another!

Announcing a deal with specialists in cyber protection, Acronis, the Atlanta Hawks – who have just missed out on the playoffs – are looking to secure their online position.

This is what we know so far:

  • Utilising Acronis’ top-level cyber protection technology, the Atlanta Hawks will be strengthening their digital infrastructure. Specifically, efforts will involve strategising, training, and innovation initiatives between the two.  

  • Interestingly, the partnership will also hold in-arena advantages for Acronis. Sponsoring the Hawks’ defence chant, the firm will also be drivers for a new weekly social media show called ‘defensive play of the week’.

“I'm thrilled to announce our partnership with Acronis, a collaboration aimed at fortifying the cyber security infrastructure for the esteemed Atlanta Hawks NBA Basketball team… We are excited to join forces with Acronis to support the world-class technology team at the Atlanta Hawks.  Our organisations share a commitment to technology excellence, to ensure the highest level of data security for our clients. Together, we're not just securing networks; we're safeguarding legacies.”

Steven McComas, CEO of Responsive Technology Partners

We Need to Talk About: DAZN

DAZN is not playing around. 

Revolutionising sports broadcasting, the company was one of the first to properly leverage online platforming to create a user-friendly way for fans to watch and engage with a variety of different sports.

Rising to the top of the game, the media giants are now major distributors of Boxing, Football, and more.

Specifically, the company has expertly managed to show that live and on-demand streaming can be an easy process for fans…

And, guess what? They’re bringing it to the next level…

That’s right. The company is looking to show-off its newest innovations in a way that is totally unique in the scene.

Hosting an indoor Football tournament named the ‘Infinity League’, DAZN has already enlisted names such as Champions League semi-finalists Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund…

This is what we know so far:

  • Each team participating will send one men’s and one women’s team, games will be 20 minutes long, and each half will see each team play. 

  • Specific technological innovations that will be seen used during the tournament are as follows: an interactive GlassFloor playing surface, body cams, microphones, and more. 

“The Infinity League marks a turning point in sports entertainment, combining football tradition with innovation, women’s and men’s sports, Gen Z and mainstream, elite football, music and content creators and much more. This event will delight fans and usher in a new era of sports entertainment. We are thrilled to be able to present this magical event to fans in Germany and around the world.”

Alice Mascia, Chief Executive of DACH and Group Chief Marketing Officer at DAZN

Quick Bites

Meme of the Week

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Quote of the Week

"Of course, from the club's point of view it will be a failed season if we don't win anything this year because we're expected to win, but all we can do is take that into next year and try and turn that around."

Harry Kane on the Champions League

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