TAYLOR’S TAKE ON THE WEEK IN SPORTS TECH: We caught up with two big names in the NBA world to get an update on Seattle’s chances of getting professional basketball back in the Emerald City.
My colleague Todd Bishop sat down with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, now the owner of the L.A. Clippers, and discussed the city’s prospects for bringing back the Sonics, which left town in 2008. Ballmer noted that Seattle is “the most affluent city in America” without an NBA team, but noted that transportation issues around KeyArena could pose an issue. Can technology help?
Separately, I ran into former NBA commissioner David Stern last week at CES in Las Vegas. “I do think that if they expand, or ever move a team, Seattle, my guess is, is first in line,” Stern said.
Read more on their comments here.
Highlights from the week in sports tech
- We’ve posted some videos from CES — check out my interview with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith here, and my chat with the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, here.
- Two big NFL playoff games on Sunday, with Jags at Patriots at 12:05 p.m. PT and Vikings at Eagles at 3:40 p.m. (you can stream for free via the Yahoo Sports app). ESPN wrote about Philadelphia’s use of analytics for making in-game decisions on offense and defense. There’s a lot of math involved, and much of the work is done before the game or even before the season starts.
- Also at CES: Twitter COO Anthony Noto spoke on a Turner Sports panel and said streaming sticks like Chromecast and Fire TV will go extinct in five years. He also said esports will become a sanctioned NCAA sport; WNBA commissioner Lisa Borders took it one step further, predicting that esports will be an Olympic sport.
- Verizon inked a deal with the NBA to distribute League Pass games on its Yahoo properties and develop other content formats. This comes after Verizon expanded its partnership with the NFL last month.
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said his team will accept bitcoin as payment for tickets next season. Also in cryptocurrency news: Sweatcoin, which rewards users with crypto if they exercise, is climbing up the app store charts.
- Sparta Science, a Silicon Valley startup developing injury prediction and recovery monitoring technology, raised a $7 million round this week.
- MLS streamed its SuperDraft on Twitter today.
- Microsoft is the presenting sponsor for this year’s Special Olympics, held in its hometown later this summer.
- Seattle startup Vicis reduced the price of its high-tech football helmet this week, from $1,500 to $950.
- Verizon and T-Mobile are touting their network capacity around Minneapolis in preparation for the Super Bowl next month.
- The NFLPA renewed its partnership with opendorse, a marketing platform that lets athletes share content on social media.
What to watch this weekend: As noted above, the NFL conference championships on Sunday: Jags at Patriots at 12:05 p.m. PT on CBS and Vikings at Eagles at 3:40 p.m. on FOX. You can stream for free via the Yahoo Sports app; it’s part of Verizon’s new deal with the NFL.