Drone Racing League Launches First Mobile Game With Skillz – SportTechie

Gaming platform Skillz has partnered with the Drone Racing League to launch the league’s first mobile game titled Drone Racing Arcade, which can be downloaded free on iOS and Android devices.
Skillz—also working with the NFL to launch a mobile game after previously securing investment from the league—will host Drone Racing Arcade tournaments that offer prizes starting in December. Users can compete in head-to-head competitions on Drone Racing Arcade, in which they tap their screen to fly drones through courses.
The mobile game joins the DRL video game launched last year on Xbox, Playstation, and the Epic Games Store. The DRL will host its championship race at T-Mobile Arena on Jan. 5 in Las Vegas.
The league’s 2021-22 season is being held in a hybrid format, with some races being held remotely via the league’s drone racing simulator and others taking place in-person at venues such as Allianz Field in Minnesota and FedEx Forum, home to the Memphis Grizzlies. Races will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network and Twitter.
Activist and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is starring in the first national ad campaign for Ergatta, a rowing machine that is designed to drive participation through game-based fitness content and communal competition.  
 Ergatta, a graduate of the 2019 Techstars Sports Accelerator class, has raised $35 million in investment, including a $30 million Series A round announced back in April. Kaepernick has been a company advisor since 2020, and Egatta members can now partake in a three-month training program inspired by the former San Francisco 49ers signal-caller. 
 Ergatta is also formally partnering with Kaepernick’s foundation, the Know Your Rights Camp, which seeks to advance Black and Brown communities. The company is donating rowers and dollars to community centers in KYRC’s partner cities. One of the foundation’s 10 pillars is the “right to be healthy” and a mission to encourage daily fitness.
 “I was initially drawn to the Ergatta team as an investor, advisor and brand partner because they’re innovators,” Kaepernick said in a statement. “They were challenging the model of group fitness classes with games and competitions—something that really resonated with me.”
Wearable fitness company Whoop has formed its new Women’s Performance Collective to further the company’s research and product development effort, specifically to benefit women’s health and athletics. 
The founding class of the WPC, which will feature a new group of female sports experts every year, includes tennis star Sloane Stephens, CrossFit athlete Annie Thorisdottir and Olympic runner Colleen Quigley, among other women in professional sports. 
Whoop has also partnered with Voice In Sport, a women’s athletics-focused media company. The deal will see 100 female college athletes receive Whoop devices and Voice In Sport memberships. The companies will also create content that highlights sleep, strain, recovery and menstrual cycle data collected by Whoop. 
Whoop partnered with the WTA earlier this month to let athletes wear Whoop’s wrist strap during matches. The company also has a deal with the LPGA Tour
Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker has joined video game equipment company Astro Gaming as a brand ambassador. Booker’s video game livestreams on his Twitch channel will now be sponsored by Astro Gaming, and he’ll wear the manufacturer’s headset while streaming. 
 Booker’s first Twitch stream as part of the new deal will be Thursday. The two-time NBA All-Star will be joined by his brother Davon while they play “Call of Duty: Warzone” alongside other popular streamers in the Call of Duty community.
 During the stream, Booker will reveal a new glow-in-the-dark headset that he helped design with Astro Gaming. A few editions of the headset will be given away to viewers in the audience. Booker launched his own Twitch channel in 2019 and won last year’s NBA 2K Players Tournament that aired on ESPN while the NBA season was paused due to Covid-19.
Sponsorship analytics platform FanAI has raised $3 million in additional Series A funding. Athlete marketing firms OneTeam Partners (co-founded by the NFLPA and MLBPA) and Wasserman led the round alongside Tech Coast Angels.
 FanAI collects audience data on ticket sales, digital spending behavior and viewing exposure across TV and streaming to inform brands on their sponsorship ROI. Marketers can compare data relative to how their campaigns perform with different teams—and view sponsorship ROI figures from competing brands.
 “We’re committed to innovating the metrics needed to accurately reflect human experience and consumer behaviors, and we’re excited to unlock the competitive advantage this FanAI partnership will give to Wasserman clients in an ever more competitive market,” Wasserman EVP of global insights Shelley Pisarra said in a statement.
 The funding brings FanAI’s total Series A investment to $11 million after it secured $8 million in 2019. That round was led by Japanese conglomerate Marubeni and included investment from Sterling VC, the venture fund of the Wilpon family that previously owned the New York Mets. 
The NFL has opened registration for its second annual Madden esports tournament exclusively for students from all 48 Historically Black College and Universities. HBCU students have until Dec. 3 to register for the tournament’s online qualifier event, with the finals to be held at SoFi Stadium. 
The top 16 finalists will be invited to the NFL’s Los Angeles headquarters at Hollywood Park, where they’ll have the chance to shadow employees and network with staff from the league and Electronic Arts. Esports organizer Gaming Community Network will manage the tournament’s operations. 
The top two finalists will advance to play a Madden match at SoFi Stadium —where the 70,000 square foot video board is the largest in pro sports. The match will air on the league’s Twitch and YouTube channels on Feb. 12, the day before SoFi Stadium hosts the Super Bowl. Cash prizes will be awarded to the two finalists. 
“We want to expand the League’s efforts to create inclusive opportunities for the next generation of talent with partners like EA providing not only a chance for students to compete, but also the chance to learn the business of football through practical learning and shadowing experiences,” Natara Holloway, the NFL’s VP of football strategy and business development, said in a statement. 
Student-athletes at the University of Arizona can now create subscription-based content for fans through the school’s new partnership with content platform Dyme. Athletes will receive a share of revenue from subscriptions. 

 UA is the first college in the U.S. to partner with Dyme, which lets subscribers engage in live video chats and text messages with athletes.
 “DYME will create revenue opportunities for both teams and individual athletes, and through our current collaboration, the Arizona athletic department has shown its investment in maximizing the opportunities for its athletes in a way that has yet to be seen in college athletics,” Dyme founder George Pappas said in a statement. 
 Athletes will use Dyme’s iOS app to host post-game locker room conversations, team travel videos, player profiles and more. Fans can currently subscribe to receive content from UA’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the baseball, softball and volleyball teams—with more squads to be added in the future.
Virtual reality ice hockey training platform Sense Arena has become the official cognitive training partner of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. Players will now have access to Sense Arena’s “Read and React’’ technology during practices at the Kings’ Toyota Sports Performance Center in El Segundo, Calif.
 Sense Arena’s hockey training software is initiated through an Oculus Quest VR headset. Users wear the headset while commanding a physical hockey stick—which is mounted with Sense Arena’s movement sensor—to complete drills that simulate passing, shooting, reaction time, checking, goaltending and other skills. 
 This system can be used for goalies that are injured or coming off an injury. However, the most useful aspect of the Sense Arena system is being able to train without the added stress of physically putting equipment on and stepping on the ice,” LA Kings goaltending coach Bill Ranford said in a statement.
 Other NHL teams deploying Sense Arena include the New Jersey Devils and Vegas Golden Knights. Ranford, a retired NHL goalie and two-time Stanley Cup Champion, also serves on Sense Arena’s advisory board to help design drills.
All-Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. joined two rosters on Thursday, signing a free agent NFL contract with the Los Angeles Rams and partnering with sleep-tracking company Oura Health as a new brand ambassador.
 Beckham is serving as creative director for the new promotional campaign, which follows the recent release of its new Oura Ring Generation 3. The latest iteration of Oura provides more daytime metrics, such as workout heart rate monitoring in addition to its signature sleep tracking. 
 In his day job, Beckham will play alongside Matthew Stafford, Darrell Henderson Jr., Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp on offense. In supporting Oura, Beckham joins a group of star athletes that includes Chris Paul, Katie Ledecky, Lindsey Vonn and Carissa Moore—all four of whom have won Olympic gold medals.
 Oura has previously partnered with the NBA and NBPA, NASCAR and the World Surf League (The NFLPA has an agreement with Whoop).
 “The Oura Ring has changed the way I think about my health and my sleep patterns, which is why I wanted to get involved with the brand,” Beckham said in a statement. “Being asked to represent the brand was a no-brainer, but I was really thrilled to come on board to creative direct my campaign with Oura. It is always great to work with a company that I really believe in.”
Alt, a marketplace for trading cards and other collectibles, has raised $75 million in Series B funding. Several athletes invested in the round—including Tom Brady, Candace Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Alex Morgan and Marlon Humphrey. Existing investors in Alt include Kevin Durant and Larry Fitzgerald. 
The round was led by investment firm Spearhead alongside several others, such as Vibe Capital, Seven Seven Six, Breyer Capital, Shrug Capital and Apollo Group. Alt began as a platform to buy and sell lucrative sports trading cards, though the company plans to expand into other assets such as watches and NFTs. 
“We define alternative assets as any asset that a traditional bank does not consider real collateral. Where the banks stop, Alt starts. We want to be the financial platform for the next generation of assets,” Alt president Nicole Colombo said in a statement.
Cards sold on Alt are physically stored in the company’s facility that it calls the “Fort Knox of cards.” After transactions, buyers can have their items shipped to them, but Alt says that 99% of sold cards stay in its facility because buyers view the cards as investments rather than display items, according to TechCrunch
Microsoft has created a new digital experience for users to explore ancient Olympia—the site of the original Olympic Games in Greece. The project includes 3D models of 27 ancient buildings, such as the original Olympic Stadium, the temples of Zeus and Hera and the workshop of Greek sculptor Phidias.
 The experience is called “Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds,” and it was made in collaboration with Greece’s Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport. Iconem, a startup that specializes in digitally replicating historical sites, also partnered with Microsoft to create the 3D project, which includes descriptions of how ancient Olympia changed over time.
 Iconem used on-ground cameras and drones to take hundreds of thousands of images at modern-day Olympia. Microsoft AI then altered the images based on research from archaeologists to create 3D models that resemble its ancient form.
 “The project to digitally preserve ancient Olympia is a stunning achievement in cultural heritage, bringing together humanity and cutting-edge technology to benefit the world and empower coming generations with new ways to explore our past,” Brad Smith, president and vice chair at Microsoft, said in a statement.
 Users can explore the digital experience through its web page, its mobile app or by making an in-person visit to the Athens Olympic Museum in Greece. An exhibit at the museum lets guests put on a Microsoft HoloLens headset for a virtual tour of ancient Olympia. 

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