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TAYLOR’S TAKE ON THE WEEK IN SPORTS TECH: Last night’s Thursday Night Football game at Arizona was a bit wild, in particular from a sports tech and sports science perspective.
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- Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman suffered a devastating season-ending injury, tearing his achilles during the third quarter of Seattle’s 22-16 win over Arizona. NBC decided to show Sherman mouthing “I tore my achilles” to his teammates on the sidelines — I would have loved to be in the TV truck for that decision.
- Sherman’s injury was one of many suffered by both Seattle and Arizona players last night. It again brought up questions about whether Thursday Night Football games, which force players to compete coming off three days of rest, should be “illegal,” as Sherman wrote in 2016. His teammate Doug Baldwin echoed those thoughts after the game. The Washington Post wonders whether this game was the tipping point.
- I was also surprised NBC showed Seahawks QB Russell Wilson going into the concussion check tent for just a few seconds. He and the team could face scrutiny, ESPN reports. Wilson also had one of the more incredible plays you’ll see this season.
- NBC used its SkyCam view during the first half. Many folks on Twitter weren’t happy with the viewing angle, which is very Madden-esque. Expect more tests of this from NBC.
- Lots of people were complaining about Amazon’s stream last night, citing delays and lag. “Streaming NFL games still sucks,” Sports Illustrated wrote last month.
Highlights from the week in sports tech
- Speaking of the NFL and injuries, this is a pretty damning write-up from The New York Times about what doctors found in the brain of Aaron Hernandez. Also sobering: Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti said he’ll donate his brain to concussion research after his death, noting that “I’m not half the man I used to be.”
- The league this week released research from engineers who analyzed video of 459 concussions reported over the last two seasons to “better understand concussion-causing events.”
- ESPN wrote a feature story about why NFL players use smelling salts during games.
- Sherman and teammate Bobby Wagner appeared in a new promotional video for Seattle-based real estate company Zillow.
- Intel inked a deal with the NBA this week to stream games in virtual reality. The league already partners with NextVR to do the same.
- Nike is using augmented reality as a way to help sell more sneakers and battle bots.
- Wired looks at whether Nike’s new marathon running shoes actually make you faster.
- Adidas made an appearance at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference to talk about its new shopping app.
- Amazon will stream an exclusive documentary series about Manchester City’s current season. It is also reportedly interested in buying streaming rights for Premier League matches.
- Microsoft released a new video spotlighting NFL tight end Martellus Bennett and its new Create Change program.
- Seattle-based jersey rental startup Rep the Squad added NBA jerseys to its collection and announced more funding from venture capital firms and former NFL athletes like Marcus Trufant and Lance Moore.
- Two other startups to watch that just raised cash: Twignature, which enables social e-signatures, raised $3 million, while opendorse, an athlete and brand social media management platform, raised $3.5 million.
- Major League Soccer said it’s happy with how VAR, or video assistant referee, performed this season.
- CBC reports on Canadian sports tech companies building ways to increase fan engagement.
- Sad news this week in baseball as former All-Star pitcher Roy Halladay died when his plane, an amphibious light-sport aircraft known as the Icon A5, crashed off the coast of Florida.
- New marketing strategy from FanDuel: Produce original video content with people like ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter. DraftKings meanwhile just signed a live-streaming deal for European basketball.
- Twitter expanded its character count limit and the Yankees had a lot of fun with the extra space.
What to watch this weekend: More fun college football games on Saturday — No. 12 Michigan State at No. 13 Ohio State at 9 a.m. on FOX; No. 1 Georgia at No. 10 Auburn at 12:30 p.m. PT on CBS; No. 3 Notre Dame at No. 7 Miami at 5 p.m. on ABC; No. 6 TCU at No. 5 Oklahoma at 5 p.m. on FOX . … Saints vs. Bills at 10 a.m. or Cowboys vs. Falcons at 1:25 p.m. Sunday seem to be the best NFL matchups.
Thanks for tuning in, everyone! — Taylor Soper