Steve Nash's New Fitness App Block Training Launches – SportTechie

Basketball Hall of Fame point guard and current Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash has co-founded a new fitness app called Block Training that’s based on workouts designed by the two-time NBA MVP and his performance coaches. 
Block Training offers both live training and on-demand sessions to $9.99 monthly subscribers, largely targeting adults seeking to continue recreational participation. The training content—for which Nash collaborated with Golden State Warriors director of sports medicine and performance Dr. Rick Celebrini and personal performance coach Yohei Arakaki — seeks to help users through all cycles of fitness and competition: training day, recovery day and game day. Activities are broken into 45-minute blocks.
At launch, Block support programs for 11 disciplines, including 10 sports (running, soccer, basketball, volleyball, cycling, lacrosse, golf, tennis, pickleball and Australian rules football) and another category simply called “life.”
Nash met his Block co-founder, Kit Hawkins, while playing rec soccer in Los Angeles. They developed the app to serve the more than 60 million American who plays sports at least once per week, although they cite a stat there is a 35% decline in activity after the age of 35, with injury as a leading factor. Nash is also an investor in Nex Team, the company that made the SportTechie Award-winning HomeCourt smartphone-tracking app, which started with basketball and added soccer, as well as Active Arcade, which encourages activity by making one’s body the game controller.
Candy Digital has minted an NFT of Aaron Judge’s American League single-season record-setting 62nd home run that is the first collectible as part of the company’s new Milestone Mark category. The NFTs began being sold today, one day after Judge slugged his historic homer at Globe Life Field in Texas. 
Judge’s Milestone Mark token is being sold for $62 and only 99 are being produced, a nod to the outfielder’s jersey number. The NFTs include an extended highlight video from his record-breaking moment and audio from the YES Network’s call of the play. 
Candy Digital is also selling a less-rare NFT of Judge’s home run as its Play of the Day token, which sell for $15 apiece. That NFT also includes video of his home run, but no broadcast audio. It will be sold until 11:59 p.m. ET tonight, with Candy producing as many as users request before time runs out.   
Judge’s 62nd home run broke the single-season AL record set by former Yankees outfield Roger Maris in 1961. The fan who caught Judge’s home run ball on Tuesday has already been offered $2 million for the baseball by JP Cohen, president of Memory Lane Auctions.
Sky Candy Studios has disseminated footage of a drone touring both the exterior and the bowels of Wrigley Field, illustrating the type of infiltration that has concerned sports leagues about drones.
Prior to the current NFL season, the league’s chief security officer Cathy Lanier said she was worried about unauthorized drones penetrating stadium airspace and potentially causing “catastrophic outcomes.” The Atlanta Falcons are among the NFL teams using a drone detection system to monitor the activity of unauthorized drones flying near their stadium. Federal officials have had the ability to intercept suspicious drones, usually by hacking into their communication signals, but that legislation officially expired today. 
A bill introduced by the Biden administration that would grant federal officials authority to counter unauthorized drowns, as well as empower local law enforcement to do the same, is currently in limbo. According to Bloomberg Government report four weeks ago, there were 1,400 instances of drones invading NFL stadium airspace last season.
According to federal law, drones are not allowed to fly within three miles of a Major League Baseball stadium from an hour before an event until an hour after. Sky Candy Studio’s drone tour, however, was authorized and did not violate those rules.
The Wrigley Field drone excursion, piloted by Michael Welsh, began in the neighborhoods surrounding the venue and navigated through the ballpark’s scoreboard, team clubhouse and back offices before trailing players onto the field. Sky Candy Studios credited the companies Go Pro and Rotor Riot for executing the tour. Rotor Riot constructs a myriad of drones such as FPV and cinewhoops, which are designed to maneuver through tight spaces.
Basketball analytics startup ShotQuality has raised a $3.2 million seed round co-led by KB Partners and TIA Ventures. Last season saw more than 60 NCAA basketball teams subscribe to ShotQuality’s software, which has an algorithm to predict an outcome of a shot. 
Each shot graded by ShotQuality takes into account 90 different variables, mostly related to a player’s historic individual shooting ability and the location of on-court defenders when shooting. The new funding will help ShotQuality work with new leagues and develop new products, including overlaying data to appear on video for coaches and broadcasts.
NCAA schools using ShotQuality include Auburn University, University of Florida, Stanford University and the University of Arizona. The company offers a separate product called ShotQualityBets for bettors to access its algorithms for predicting over/under scores of games. ShotQuality was founded in 2020 by Colgate University student Simon Gerszberg, who worked as a data analyst for Colgate’s men’s basketball team. 
GameChanger, the youth scoring app that continues to accelerate its push into the basketball space, has hired former Hudl executive Mark Robinson as VP of Business Development.
Robinson has a heavy background in basketball and streaming, which aligns with GameChanger’s recent breakthroughs with voice-activated basketball scorekeeping using Siri and automated video highlight clips using time stamps. Just last weekend, GameChanger was a presence at an NJBCA clinic, demoing the app in front of 150-200 high school basketball coaches, as well as Kentucky’s John Calipari and UConn’s Danny Hurley.
Robinson, who led strategic partnerships at Hudl, will oversee strategy, partnerships and the go-to-market plan for each of GameChanger’s sports applications. GameChanger reached 10 sports after they integrated football, soccer, ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, rugby and water polo last year.
The company’s hallmark sports remain baseball and softball, but basketball has become a major emphasis in the past four months, as GameChanger also recently finalized a partnership with the player development platform Point Guard College Basketball.
Gamurs, a gaming and esports media network, raised a $12 million Series A round co-led by the Dodgers-backed Elysian Park Ventures and Cerro Capital, a fund focused on the future of sports.
Led by flagship site Dot Esports, Gamurs owns and operates 16 digital publications, which includes the acquisition of six more last week: Destructoid, Escapist Magazine, PC Invasion, Upcomer, Siliconera and Operation Sports. In announcing the investment, Gamurs reported that it is already a profitable business that draws more than 55 million active monthly users. It plans to use the capital to continue its aggressive growth.
Gamurs has partnered on brand campaigns with McDonald’s, Red Bull, Nintendo and Intel. It previously announced investments of $3.5 million in 2017 and another $2.2 million in 2018.
Goalies on the Toronto Maple Leafs are wearing Swivel Vision goggles during training camp drills to enhance their puck-tracking ability ahead of the upcoming NHL season. The no-lens goggles have rubber blinders to limit peripheral vision, forcing an athlete to move their head for optimal sight.
“It’s just a tracking aid, basically forcing you to use the middle of your eyes and the strongest part of your eyes,” Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray said according to the Toronto Star. “It gets you in the rhythm of turning your head, tracking the puck.”
“It narrows down your visuals on the sides. You’ve got to be even more precise tracking the puck,” added fellow Leafs goalie Erik Källgren. Swivel Vision sells its adjustable-strap worn googles for $29.99 on Amazon. The product has been used by athletes in other sports such as MLB catcher Yasmani Grandal and wide receivers on LSU’s football team. The Colorado Avalanche are among the other NHL teams to equip their goalies with Swivel Vision’s goggles during training.
More than half of U.S. Millennials (57%) will pick streaming as their method to watch the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar, according to a new study from telecommunications software firm Amdocs. The study consists of responses from 1,000 U.S. consumers aged 18 and over collected via an online survey conducted by data company Dynata.
The World Cup 2022 Viewing Report was commissioned by Amdocs, which works with telecommunications giants Samsung, AT&T, at T-Mobile. It found that:
82% of fans are confident in their home internet connection to stream the World Cup viewing, but 40% of fans think their mobile network isn’t reliable enough to stream games on-the-go via their phone.
Fox Sports owns the U.S. English-language broadcast and streaming rights to the World Cup. That includes real-time highlights, in-match previews and live pre-game shows for all games streamed on Twitter. The 2018 World Cup saw Fox Sports set several of the network’s streaming audience records.
Injured UFC fighters will have access to Lutronic’s Accufit technology, a post-surgical electro-muscular stimulation system that accelerates recovery by simulating gym workouts.
Emanating out of the UFC Performance Institutes in either Las Vegas or Shanghai, the Accufit treatments involve muscle activations otherwise known as waveforms which activate both concentric and eccentric contractions. The result is that recuperating MMA fighters can undergo exercise patterns without the physical strain of training, expediting their return to the Octagon.
Accufit’s proprietary energy delivery system can target multiple areas of a fighter’s body in brief 30-minute pain-free treatments. Its developers at Lutronic focus on smart laser and energy-based systems that are patented to enhance an athlete’s fitness, as well as ophthalmic and aesthetic procedures.
The UFC Performance Institute, which won SportTechie’s 2019 award for Outstanding Venue, has long tried to use technology to aid fighters’ training and recovery. It previously implemented Fusion Sport’s Smartabase athlete management system, allowing athletes to import data from a myriad of training technologies. The fighters were able to customize their training and view their progress through the Smartabase Athlete app.
Lumin Sports, an Australia-based athlete management system, has launched in the US market with five NCAA universities, including Rice and Cal State-Fullerton. 
The flagship product of Lumin Sports is Arc Core, which ingests the usual data inputs from technologies such as heart rate monitors, GPS and sleep trackers, and then creates reports with visualizations and analysis to help coaches with decisions around rest and recovery. Lumin Sports is a sister company to corporate wellbeing app Hoap and includes consideration of athletes’ mental health.
The idea for Lumin Sports was born out of a collaboration between a Tour De France cycling team, NTT Pro Cycling, and technology partner Dimension Data in 2018. It raised an oversubscribed funding round earlier this year of $1.15 million AUS ($750,000 USD) and drew support from retired AFL players Matthew Pavlich and James Begley. Among its early adopters overseas are Hawthorn Football Club, Adelaide United, Cycling Australia, the South Australian Sports Institute and the armed forces.
Gamification-based fan engagement startup LiveLike will begin offering crypto fan tokens to its sports industry partners through its new partnership with Chiliz, the parent company of the Socios fan token platform. LiveLike has become the first company to receive a grant to join Chiliz Chain 2.0, the new blockchain ecosystem offered by the Malta-based company.
LiveLike has previously worked with teams and leagues such as the NBA, Golden State Warriors, NASCAR, and La Liga, as well as broadcasters such as Madison Square Garden Networks, Fox Sports, Turner Sports, Canal+ and Sky Group. Trivia, polls, prediction games, watch parties and leaderboards are among the features LiveLike integrates into the apps of their partners. Fans earn points for engaging with the features, and now LiveLike can integrate Socios fan tokens to further support fan loyalty programs.
“We were going to their [Socios’s] partners independently and saying LiveLike will provide you an audience engagement platform to help create communities in your owned and operated apps, it’ll help you engage your fans better, create loyalty programs,” LiveLike CEO Miheer Walavalkar told SportTechie. “The fan token is sort of the endpoint of what that journey would have been. So this way, we sort of bring it together and go to partners together.”
Socios has made fan tokens for some of the world’s biggest soccer teams, including FC Barcelona, Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, and Juventus, in which token owners get exclusive access to rewards and in-person experiences. LiveLike’s partnership will enable the Socios fan token ecosystem to expand beyond the Socios app and directly into partnered team apps.
“The big value point for a fan token in the future isn’t just going to be determined by the size of the platform, but the entire ecosystem of how many different areas, apps, websites, retailers, outlets — can you plug in this one single digital membership, and accrue benefits from them?” said Max Rabinovitch, chief strategy officer at Socios.
Socios also has deals with 27 NBA teams, 26 MLS clubs, 14 NFL teams, and 13 NHL teams. However, the company’s U.S. partnerships to date have mostly been held to marketing and fan rewards programs that don’t yet involve fan tokens.
“[In the U.S.] it’s almost a very binary experience where it’s either a yes or no to team level, league level tokenization,” Rabinovitch said. “You don’t get to go piecemeal the way we did in Europe where you can go to just Barcelona, you can go to just PSG. You don’t have to ask permission from their respective leagues in order to do something with the team.”


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