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TAYLOR’S TAKE ON THE WEEK IN SPORTS TECH: Amazon Web Services, the massive cloud computing arm of Amazon that made $4.6 billion last quarter, held its big annual conference in Las Vegas this week — and there were quite a few sports-related announcements.

I wrote about the new partnership between AWS and the NFL here. The league will use machine learning and data analytics services built by AWS for Next Gen Stats, a new platform that uses data from player and ball tracking devices to produce new advanced statistics like distance covered, speed, and acceleration — the idea is to better show a receiver’s ability to get open, for example, or how well the offensive line protects the quarterback.

Sports tech also came up during the conference keynote addresses. A company called HEED brought two UFC fighters on stage to show how advances in AI, IoT, and data visualization can enhance the fan experience. GeekWire reporter Tom Krazit, who covered the conference, called the demo “ridiculous.”

During his keynote, AWS chief Andy Jassy talked about Hudl, a top sports tech startup based in Lincoln, Nebraska that sells video and analytics tools for coaches. The company uses AWS’ machine learning tools to do “sports mapping” — for example, showing who passes to who in a soccer match. AWS uses Hudl as a case study for its cloud computing services.

These are the latest examples of Amazon’s continued push into the sports world. The company’s cloud computing arm also powers Statcast, the next generation statistics platform for Major League Baseball. Amazon also is streaming Thursday Night Football games this season on its Prime video platform.

Highlights from the week in sports tech

What to watch this weekend: Plenty of exciting college football action Saturday — Memphis at UCF at 9 a.m. PT on ABC; TCU at Oklahoma at 9:30 a.m. on FOX; Georgia at Auburn at 1 p.m. on CBS; Miami at Clemson at 5 p.m. on ABC; Ohio State at Wisconsin at 5 p.m. on FOX; Stanford at USC at 5 p.m. on ESPN … Top NFL matchups are Vikings at Falcons at 10 a.m. on FOX; Panthers at Saints at 1:25 p.m. on FOX; and Eagles at Seahawks for Sunday Night Football on NBC … Tiger Woods is making his much-anticipated return this weekend at the Hero World Challenge — you can watch the tournament on NBC.

Thanks for tuning in, everyone! — Taylor Soper

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