Intel is re-upping its investment in sports tech with the acquisition of Replay Technologies, a Israel-based startup that develops 3D video broadcasting software.
Intel announced the deal today. The tech giant previously partnered with Replay Technologies at the NBA All-Star Game last month, utilizing 28 ultrahigh-definition cameras and 3-D video rendering technology to give fans a cool 360-degree view of different plays from multiple angles.
Replay Technologies also had its technology utilized at Super Bowl 50 during the CBS broadcast:
In a blog post, Intel Senior VP Wendell Brooks called the acquisition a “natural next step in our collaboration.”
“Together, we will scale this new category for sports entertainment that we call immersive sports, which is attracting the attention of leagues, venues, broadcasters and fans,” Brooks wrote. “Immersive sports requires the high-performance computing Intel is known for, and it’s also data driven – fueling the continued build out of the cloud. For athletes, coaches, broadcasters and fans, the ability to capture, analyze and share data adds compelling new dimensions to the game.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Israeli media reported that Intel paid $175 million for Replay Technologies.
For the past year or so, Intel has made a serious effort to bring its technology into the sports world. In January, we spoke to Intel VP of Smart Device Innovation Steve Holmes about Intel’s partnership with X Games Aspen.
“We’re at a big transition point now with being able to bring computational horsepower and miniaturize technology,” Holmes said. “It’s a natural time for Intel to really participate in a much broader way in sports.”
That was the same message delivered by Intel at the big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this past January, when the company spent half of its 90-minute keynote announcing partnerships with companies like ESPN, New Balance, Red Bull, and Oakley.
During the keynote, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich talked about using Intel’s hardware and software to help New Balance develop next generation smartwatches, or help Oakley make smart-glasses that provide coaching during exercise for people through speech technology. He also showed off the 3D innovations from Replay Technologies.
Krzanich participated on a separate panel at CES about sports tech investing with people like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal, who himself is a big sports geek. The Intel CEO said that the uptick in sports technology-related investments can be simply credited to improvements in technology itself. He cited innovations like virtual reality and wearable devices that are now ready to be used by the masses.
“It’s hitting a breakthrough,” Krzanich said. “If you think it’s big now, just wait until the next two or three years when we’ll have another set of breakthroughs.”
Krzanich added that “you almost have to bring technology to sports — otherwise it will fall behind.”
“As you go around the world and talk to various industries, almost every industry is realizing that technology is bringing efficiency or new customers or new ways to look at data,” he said. “Those that don’t adopt technology are falling behind, and I think the sports community is just seeing the same thing.”