TAYLOR’S TAKE ON THE WEEK IN SPORTS TECH: It was Christmas morning on Thursday for soccer fans as the World Cup kicked off in Russia. The host country breezed by Saudi Arabia in the opening match, 5-0, but as usual with this tournament, the storylines went far beyond the pitch. Uruguay took down Egypt, 1-0, in Friday’s early bout.
Matches run through July 15 and will usually air live in the U.S. in the morning. Here’s the full schedule.
Fox is airing all 64 matches, both on Fox and Fox Sports channels. If you have a cable log in, you can stream the matches here, or with the Fox Sports Go app (iOS; Android: Fire TV; Kindle Fire; Windows Phone; Windows 10; Xbox; Apple TV; Chromecast; or Android TV). Fox will not be streaming matches via its Fox Soccer Match Pass.
For the cord cutters, there are a few options. The more important games later in the tournament will air on Fox, which you can access with a digital antenna.
You can also go with one of the newer streaming services, like Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu, DirecTV Now, FuboTV, or PlayStation Vue. Some offer trials, but you’ll need to shell out a monthly subscription to keep watching after that.
Telemundo is streaming matches for free until June 25.
There are also some virtual reality options. Oculus Venues is streaming four matches on the Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Go. The Fox Sports VR app is also streaming games in VR for those that have a cable log-in.
Highlights from the week in sports tech
- This is the first World Cup with VAR, or video assistant referee, which will be used to review calls. “It will almost certainly prove controversial,” says The Independent, which has a good explainer here. As Quartz put it, the tournament “could potentially be decided by a computer.” And based on the NBA Finals, some think instant replay should go away altogether.
- Each team has access to a tablet-based system that uses optical cameras to show player tracking stats, according to Forbes.
- The official World Cup match ball from Adidas has an NFC chip, but it doesn’t add much in the way of new data.
- Here are some World Cup tips for Comcast subscribers.
- FiveThirtyEight has some fun World Cup coverage — here’s a quiz to find out who to root for, and some data-driven predictions.
- Wondering why the U.S. isn’t playing in this year’s tournament? The Ringer has the inside story.
- Speaking of the World Cup, it will return to U.S. soil in 2026.
- The U.S. Open started Thursday and punished pro golfers with the insanely difficult conditions at Shinnecock Hills, which is set up with the help of technology. Check out the tech that FOX is using for its broadcast.
- New Jersey became the second state this month to legalize sports betting. Esports bets are subject to the same laws after some initial uncertainty.
- Speaking of, DraftKings is reportedly raising another $150-to-$200 million in new cash to build out its sports betting biz.
- SportCastr, a livestreaming startup backed by former NBA commish David Stern and NFL tight end Vernon Davis, launched its own cryptocurrency geared toward the sports industry.
- WNBA star Sue Bird reveals some of the high-tech tools she uses to stay healthy in her 16th season.
- Here’s the trailer for the new Madden 19 video game.
- The 49ers opened up a team-branded gym in the Bay Area. The Cowboys did something similar.
- Not everyone is thrilled with the MLB games streaming exclusively on Facebook.
- SeatGeek partnered with Snapchat to sell tickets inside the messaging app.
- Will sports teams be able to track players’ brainwaves in the future?