Sports Technology is a sector where some of the smartest thinking in human performance and digital engagement is taking place. It is the equivalent of the Space Race of the 1960’s in terms of what it can deliver for the wider world, and Ireland is in a central position with companies like Whoop, Stats Perform, StatSports and Orreco having strong presences on the island.
Each week we bring the Sport for Bussiness network a look at some of the biggest advances and trends that are continually reshaping the ways in which sport is leading the way in technology.
Today we highlight Whoop’s new partnership with the WTA, the science of sweat, Hawk Eye’s move towards Hoops, Technology Sponsorship and UEFA Batting Data…
WHOOP SIGNS UP WITH WOMEN’S TENNIS ASSOCIATION
WHOOP, the human performance company that is building its EMEA base out of Ireland and the Women’s Tennis Association has announced a multi-year partnership naming WHOOP as the Official Fitness Wearable of the WTA.
The WTA has also approved WHOOP wearable technology for in-match use, making it the first technology to receive this designation.
“We’ve long known that many WTA players are members and fans of WHOOP,” said Will Ahmed, Founder and CEO.
“Our new partnership allows every WTA athlete to wear WHOOP during matches for the first time. It also enables us to provide viewers at home with physiological insights about these world-class athletes.”
WHOOP will bring biometric data into WTA broadcasts and social media content to highlight player performance during defining moments of the Tour. WHOOP has successfully integrated real-time player data into broadcasts for organizations like the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, NASCAR, and CrossFit via WHOOP Live, and will now help WTA fans experience the sport like never before.
“Our partnership with WHOOP represents a pivotal moment in women’s professional tennis,” said Micky Lawler, WTA President.
“WHOOP’s cutting-edge technology serves as a new research and learning tool for WTA players. WHOOP will play an instrumental role in the future of women’s tennis and will endow our current and next generation of athletes with a wealth of innovative performance analytics.”
WHOOP and the WTA’s Performance Health team will closely collaborate on research specific to what the two organizations’ data collectively reveal regarding physiological responses, readiness, and sport performance. By examining the impact of various distinctive challenges experienced by WTA athletes, such as global travel and frequent, high-intensity training on menstruation, the many anticipated new findings will uniquely enrich our understanding of women’s health.
WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY SPONSORS US PGA TOUR EVENT
This week’s PGA Tour event in Golf is the World Wide Technology Championships taking place at Mayakoba in Mexico.
The generic sounding name actually belongs to an organisation that is a major player in digital transformation.
It creates cloud and mobility strategies for some of the world’s largest organisations from insurers and healthcare to pharma and the military.
This is the first time that the $15 Billion company has sponsored on the Tour and CEO Jim Kavanaugh explains why they wanted to see their name above the FedEx Cup event.
“The global expansion and resulting positive impact of the PGA TOUR makes Mayakoba a natural fit for WWT.”
“We do whatever it takes to create the best possible technology experiences and business outcomes for customers and communities around the world. We are proud to support the tournament as it showcases top golf talent while also inspiring leadership and opportunity through the expansion of youth golf in Mexico and Latin America.”
UEFA SIGNS SPORTRADAR AS EXCLUSIVE ‘DATA FOR GAMBLING’ PARTNER
UEFA has signed its first deal to package the exclusive collection of data for betting rights. Sportradar, which lists almost 1,000 betting companies around the world as its client base for real time data to provide for in-play betting and stats based forecasting, has won the contract which will run for an initial three years up to the end of the Euro 2024 competition.
That tournament and its qualifiers will be included in the package alongside the Nations League, the Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference League, UEFA Super Cup, Women’s Champions League and Women’s EURO 2022.
“We are very happy to enter into this partnership with Sportradar, who are a global leader in delivering sports data. It follows a long-standing partnership with the company as our official integrity partner and it links to our recent announcement of Bwin as the first betting partner for one of our competitions.”
“The combination of the two partnerships allows UEFA to engage more openly with the sports betting sector, giving greater access to market intelligence and support from both a sports integrity and a commercial perspective.”
There will be those who suggest that linking integrity services and betting services together is a strange mix but the reality is that for players and gambling companies, knowing that an event and it’s participants are being played and playing on merit are equally important to the more esoteric qualities of fair play and honesty.
SWEATING YOUR PERFORMANCE
Precision Hydration is a UK based company that helps athletes to create what theyt describe as ‘individual hydration strategies.’
They take sweat samples to measure its individual composition and use software to determine an individual approach to getting the most out of the fluids you take on during preparation and the intesnity of competition.
They also produce their own gels and liquids that can be tailored to an individual needs.
They currently work with teams in the NFL, Cycling, Basketball, Baseball and with individual athletes.
Hydration directly impacts on performance and recovery and can be seen as having an impact in a very real way through cramp at the end of a game or a performance.
In a high performance world where the one per cents are critical this is a way to individualise a strategy in contrast to those efforts put in place by the major drinks companies like Gatorade and Powerade.
HAWK EYE BECOMES HOOP EYE
Hawk Eye has transformed the way that sports like Tennis, Soccer and our own Gaelic Games manages the actuality of what has happened as opposed to the neked eye judgement of a referee or umpire.
It is in talks currently with Baseball about doing similar and over the summer it was on trial in Las Vegas with the NBA.
Decisions on clock management, out of bounds decisions and more can become part of the referees suite of technology to help with real-time decisions.
Currently player data in the sport in the NBA and the WNBA is provided by camera tracking technology but not to the same granular level as Hawk Eye. Player trackers are not permitted as part of the uniform, though information on speed and movement is still available to coaches and fans.
In a nation and its sporting ecosystem that is so geared towards statistical analysis it is only surprising that other sports have been first to the party.
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