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[Call of Duty]Andbox Expands Into Mobile Esports With Call of Duty Team

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  Andbox Expands Into Mobile Esports With Call of Duty Team

  

  

  

  Andbox, the New York esports franchise backed by the former owners of the New York Mets and NBA star Kevin Durant, is adding a new Call of Duty: Mobile esports team. It marks the first time an organization from Activision’s Call of Duty League will also field a team for CoD’s mobile edition played on smartphones.

  Mobile gaming team Trovo Mayhem will now be rebranded as NYSL Mayhem under its new affiliation with Andbox, whose New York Subliners play in the PC-based Call of Duty League. Trovo Mayhem’s seven players will join NYSL Mayhem, as well as two analysts, a manager, and coach.

  “We intend to continue to work with our partners and sponsors to bring them new activations against our audience and cross mingle our Call of Duty mobile and the main team to play with each other in promotional content and pick-up games,” said Rohit Gupta, chief product officer at Andbox.

  Andbox, which has a 5G partnership with T-Mobile, was founded by Sterling.VC, a venture fund started by the Mets’ previous owners, the Wilpon family. Sterling.VC is also an investor in Skillz, the mobile gaming platform that partnered with the NFL to make a new mobile game.

  NYSL Mayhem will play in tournaments across Activision’s Call of Duty: Mobile esports ecosystem, including its World Championship and Masters competitions. Andbox also fields teams in Valorant and the Overwatch League.

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  JPMorgan Chase Invests in NFL Owner Robert Kraft’s Analytics Firm

  

  

  

  JPMorgan Chase has acquired a stake in the Kraft Analytics Group, a data firm founded by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft that focuses on the business operations of sports franchises.

  The bank, which made the investment through its Asset & Wealth Management division, is the first strategic partner for the Kraft Analytics Group and is also becoming a client. Based in Foxborough, Mass., KAGR works with about 20 sports properties, including the NFL as well as individual teams in the five major U.S. sports leagues and some college programs.

  KAGR, which launched in 2006, was spun off as a standalone company in 2016. It collects a wide array of data—ticketing, concessions, marketing initiatives and more—to analyze fan behavior and help teams and leagues make more strategic decisions to drive more engagement and revenue.

  “The biggest thing we realized is everyone who buys a sports team initially, they’re very focused on the field,” Kraft told The WalStreet Journal, which first reported news of the investment. “Very few prioritize the business side, and this really helps to do that.”

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  Lay’s to Create Soccer Pitches With Empty Chip Packs

  

  

  

  Potato chip brand Lay’s, in partnership with the UEFA Foundation for children, streetfootballworld and GreenFields, is planning to reuse empty packs of chips to create sustainable soccer pitches around the world. The Lay’s RePlay initiative will look to maximize social value and minimize environmental impact. Up to five soccer pitches are expected to open in 2021.

  The first pitch will open in Tembisa, South Africa, with more fields to be built in Brazil, Russia, Turkey, and the U.K. In addition to providing safe access to soccer, Lay’s RePlay will include educational programming focused on social issues in each community.

  Local organizations and community members will also be involved in the planning, building, and maintenance of the pitches. Through Lay’s partnership with artificial pitch manufacturer GreenFields and local waste and recycling partners, chip packets are collected, shredded and converted into pellets that make up the underlying layer, called Ecocept, under the pitch turf.

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  IMG Academy to Host Gen.G Esports Summer Camp

  

  

  

  By Dominic Massimino

  Gen.G Esports will partner with the IMG Sports Academy to host a weeklong esports camp for high school students from Aug. 15–22. The camp will feature world-class esports coaches and players, including members of Gen.G’s professional Valorant team.

  IMG Academy regularly develops some of the top student-athletes in the U.S., and it trains college and professional athletes across many sports at its campus in Bradenton, Fla. IMG Academy also hosted the 2020 WNBA bubble and held esports training programs as early as 2017.

  Gen.G’s previous initiatives within esports development include its $1 million pledge made last August toward supporting people of color, women, and low-income students in their pursuit of careers in gaming.

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  MLB Strikes Cryptocurrency Partnership With FTX

  

  

  

  Major League Baseball has signed a long-term partnership with FTX, marking the first time that a North American pro sports league has partnered with a cryptocurrency exchange. The global partnership makes FTX the official crypto exchange brand of MLB.

  FTX.US (the company’s U.S.-specific brand) also reached an agreement with the MLBPA for rights to use player highlights in its content. Blockfolio, a crypto portfolio management app owned by FTX, ran a registration promotion that was posted by MLB’s Twitter account on Wednesday as part of the new deal.

  Starting with the MLB All-Star Game on July 13, all umpires will have the FTX.US logo on their sleeves during games, making FTX the league’s first umpire uniform patch partner. FTX will also be advertised across nationally televised MLB games, MLB.com, MLB Network, MLB.TV, and the league’s social media platforms.

  While the value of FTX’s MLB deal was not announced, FTX signed a $210 million naming rights deal with the esports organization TSM earlier this month, as well as a $135 million deal for naming rights to the Miami Heat’s arena, which will be called FTX Arena starting next NBA season.

  MLB’s existing presence in the crypto space includes deals with Topps and Candy Digital to create digital collectibles (NFTs) of players. The Oakland A’s are accepting bitcoin in exchange for season suite tickets, while team president Dave Kaval told SportTechie in April that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if paying players in crypto was included in the next collective bargaining agreement.

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  Peacock to Livestream Men’s Basketball, Gymnastics, and Track and Field at Tokyo Olympics

  

  

  

  NBC’s Peacock streaming service will carry live and on-demand coverage throughout the Tokyo Olympics, including showing live track and field and gymnastics events for free. All USA men’s basketball games will also livestream on Peacock, albeit on the premium paid-subscription tier, with play-by-play coverage from Bob Fitzgerald, Fran Fraschilla and Vince Carter.

  “Given that we’re still testing and learning, we thought it was an opportunity for us take an event like men’s basketball and make it available on the premium tier,” Matt Strauss, the chairman of Peacock, said Wednesday at an NBC press event in New York. “It’s going to be accessible in other places, but for Peacock, we thought it was an interesting opportunity to learn.”

  Fans can sign up for Peacock’s free ad-supported service to livestream all USA men’s and women’s gymnastics events, as well as track and field events such as the 100m, 4 x 100m relay, 4 x 400m relay, 200m and 400m. Some 7,000 hours of Tokyo Olympics coverage will appear across NBC’s linear and digital platforms.

  Peacock will also feature daily live analysis shows, full event replays, and a Tokyo Olympics highlights show hosted by Kevin Hart and Snoop Dogg. Peacock streamed its first MLB games for free last weekend and had 42 million subscribers as of NBCUniversal’s last earnings call in March.

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  Electronic Arts Buys Mobile Games Studio Playdemic From Warner Bros. for $1.4 Billion

  

  

  

  Warner Bros. has sold its mobile games developer, Playdemic, to Electronic Arts for $1.4 billion in cash. Playdemic is the creator of the popular iOS, Android and Facebook game Golf Clash, which has more than 80 million global downloads.

  The acquisition will bolster EA’s mobile games production and expand its sports games portfolio. Warner Bros. will not be selling its several remaining video game developers operated under its WB Games subsidiary, as they’ll be included in WarnerMedia’s pending merger with Discovery.

  Playdemic is not the first mobile games developer EA has bought this year; EA also acquired Glu Mobile for $2.1 billion in April. Video game publishers Codemasters and Metalhead Software were also acquired by EA over the last year.

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  Catapult Boosts Video Analysis With SBG Sports Software Acquisition

  

  

  

  By Dominic Massimino

  The Melbourne-based Catapult Sports has acquired SBG Sports Software, which performs video and data analysis for sports teams in order to gather real time strategic insights, most notably in motorsports, soccer, and rugby. Catapult paid $40 million for SBG Sports Software.

  The acquisition of SBG improves Catapult’s ability to provide video analysis as a tool for performance optimization. SBG’s RaceWatch software won best technology for elite performance at Yahoo’s 2019 Sports Technology Awards.

  Catapult was originally founded from a partnership between the Australian Institute of Sport and Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre to prepare Australian athletes for the Sydney Olympics. Catapult’s performance-tracking wearable devices are used by nearly 3,000 teams across the NFL, MLB, NBA, soccer, and rugby, among other sports.

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  LPGA Tour, KPMG Launch New Golf Analytics Platform

  

  

  

  The LPGA Tour has expanded its partnership with the accounting firm KPMG to launch a new platform for data insights and performance analytics across every LPGA Tour event. The platform, KPMG Performance Insights, will include course data such as strokes gained, performance indexing, and proximity averages.

  KPMG will serve as the LPGA’s official data and analytics advisor, and the data insights will be shared across LPGA digital and social channels, media coverage and broadcasts, in addition to being available to players and coaches.

  KPMG Performance Insights will debut at this weekend’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in Atlanta, which KPMG has title-sponsored since 2015.

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  Co-Watching App Hearo to Host Just Baseball’s College World Series Programming

  

  

  

  Baseball media startup Just Baseball will host live analysis shows from the College World Series in Omaha exclusively on the watch party app Hearo. Viewers will be able to participate in live Q&A’s with Just Baseball’s hosts through Hearo’s audio chat.

  Hearo, whose watch parties also include a text chat, is a free app for co-watching streaming services such as Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, and TV channels such as ESPN, FOX, ABC, and CBS.

  Just Baseball’s three shows on Hearo are scheduled for June 25, 26, and 28 (the College World Series runs through June 30). Former MLB All-Star Jeff Conine is an advisor to Just Baseball.

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  NHL Tunes Into Hip-Hop in Deal With Timbaland’s Beatclub

  

  

  

  The NHL has partnered with music marketplace Beatclub to gain access to its library of hip-hop songs to play inside arenas and during broadcasts of games. Beatclub was founded by Grammy Award-winning artist Timbaland.

  Beatclub will collaborate with the NHL and its teams to curate music playlists for use in TV and radio broadcasts, in-arena integrations, as well as adding to highlight videos and content shared to social and digital media. The league hopes its embrace of rap and hip-hop will help broaden its appeal to younger fans.

  “Hockey highlights are awesome when set to hip-hop. This new curated library of music is another example of how the NHL is listening to what our young fans and players are asking for and is happy to deliver,” Steve Mayer, NHL chief content officer, said in a statement.

  The NHL is the first sports league to partner with Beatclub, whose music library includes tracks from artists and producers such as J. Cole, Mike WiLL Made-It, Mike Dean, and Tainy. Beatclub will play music throughout the remainder of the NHL playoffs, as well as during this summer’s NHL draft and expansion draft in July.

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