SBJ Power Up: New approach shot – Sports Business Journal

 
Today, we have a sneak peek at some more details of TGL, the tech-infused golf league from Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy coming next year that is building a futuristic venue for fans and its broadcast audience.
 
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The venue that TMRW Sports is creating for its tech-imbued golf competition creation, the TGL, is like a blend of Golden Tee on steroids, a small sports arena or concert hall, Times Square, a short game practice area and a sportsbook, writes SBJ’s Bret McCormick, who has great preview of what to expect from the new league backed by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. The technological aspects of the building will be considerable, in part because the golf action will transition between virtual and real on every hole.
The contests will be hosted within an arena seating 1,500 to 2,000 ticketed fans that is being built on 10 leased acres at Palm Beach State College’s campus in Florida. TMRW Sports’ largest investment so far is in developing new technologies, oftentimes combining existing technologies that haven’t been used together before in a particular way. “The venue is built to be that kind of showplace and palace” for the digital environment, Tom Veit, TMRW Sports senior vice president, venue and events said. 
Huge amounts of data will naturally spin off in such a wired place, making the arena’s bandwidth and computing power one of the highest early design priorities. Figuring out how to harness data ranging from swing speed and shot height to all the information stemming from the ball (speed, rotation and so on) and then make best use of it — whether fan interactivity, sports betting, or making broadcasts more interesting — will be critical to the venture’s success. 

TMRW Sports has an entire division focused solely on handling, moving and managing data produced by the events. LED, projection tech, and lighting will also be central to the TGL’s presentation, both in-person and over broadcast. And Veit expects the venue to be cashless and paperless for in-person fans.
The NBA has signed a multi-year virtual reality partnership extension with Meta that will include licensed league and team digital apparel sold on Meta’s Avatars Store and live games available for free in VR, SBJ’s Andrew Cohen reports.
Meta is licensing 52 live regular season NBA League Pass games to be streamed in VR for free through NBA Arena, a new virtual fan environment accessed through Meta’s Horizon Worlds app in Quest headsets. Live WNBA, NBA G League and NBA 2K League games will also be streamed via Meta Quest, which has offered League Pass games for the past several seasons and has been the NBA and WNBA’s VR headset partner since 2020.

NBA Arena is scheduled to stream six NBA games this month, starting with tonight’s BucksPistons matchup. NBA Arena is an updated and expanded version of the NBA Lane activation that debuted on Meta’s Horizon Worlds in May 2022. NBA League Pass subscribers will also be able to watch live games through Xtadium, a live sports VR app developed by YBVR that launched in November.
Meta’s expanded deal with the NBA will see the Quest headset showcased at major NBA and WNBA events, in addition to Meta’s ads that have regularly appeared during ESPN and ABC’s broadcasts of NBA games.
Hawk-Eye will be the NWSL‘s inaugural VAR provider when it becomes the first professional women’s soccer league to implement the technology this season, which begins March 25, my colleague Andrew Cohen has learned.
The NWSL announced its plans in July to implement VAR for next season, but the announcement did not include mention of the video review system provider. MLS, which shares many stadiums with the NWSL, also leans on Hawk-Eye for VAR and has used a video assistant referee since 2017.
On-field NWSL referees will also be equipped with Vokkero’s wireless radio communication devices to communicate with Hawk-Eye’s video review room in Atlanta. The NWSL’s production partner Vista/NEP has developed a pipeline to show Hawk-Eye’s camera review angles on in-stadium jumbotrons and broadcasts from CBS for fans to see.
Here are some of the latest comings and goings among sports tech executives:
See more executive transactions from the sports industry at SBJ
The latest company featured in SBJ Tech‘s Startup series is BuzzU, which helps college athletes using its AI-powered database of NIL marketability rates and valuation. BuzzU currently has over 50,000 scores for athletes across the country, across 13 different sports.
“What we are doing is democratizing the space by creating these marketability ratings, where you can figure out who’s being talked about and who’s most buzzworthy and not just who is a social media influencer, along with fair market value, to figure out how much these athletes should be worth,” BuzzU founder Zach Novoselsky said.
Read more at SBJ Tech.
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