TAYLOR’S TAKE ON THE WEEK IN SPORTS TECH: Hey, Yinzers! I’ve been having fun living and working in Pittsburgh for the past week as part of our GeekWire HQ2 initiative. On Friday I experienced my first NHL game in person as Sidney Crosby’s Penguins hosted Alexander Ovechkin’s Capitals at PPG Paints Arena.
Loved the fast-paced action of live hockey with few in-game interruptions. I can see why it appeals to a younger crowd, as Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee told me last month.
Sports tech note: Pretty cool watching coaches use iPads to review video of past plays during the game. This went into effect last year, and is similar to how NFL teams use Microsoft Surface tablets.
I also noticed a ton of advertising around the arena. Some of it was old school: Penguins staff would literally stick new rink ads on the walls after each period. And yes, even the zamboni had a sponsor.
The thick game program was also packed with ads. While reading I learned about “Pens Pass” — a last second way to buy mobile tickets. More and more teams are offering this.
Also noteworthy: entering the arena. I first went through security gates before taking escalators inside the arena up to the concourse, where ushers scanned my ticket. Not sure if this is done to speed up the security process; it is certainly a good idea that doesn’t force Penguins fans to stand in the bitter Pittsburgh cold.
I’ll be in Pittsburgh all month and will be meeting with a few sports tech startups while I’m here in the Steel City. Not clear who Pittsburghers are rooting for in the Super Bowl — Steelers fans dislike both teams equally, it seems. Follow all of our coverage on GeekWire or my Twitter.
Highlights from the week in sports tech
- You’re probably watching the Super Bowl today — NBC is streaming the big game for free at NBCSports.com; NBC.com; and via its NBC Sports app. Yahoo is also streaming it via the Yahoo Sports app.
- Expect several Amazon commercials during the Super Bowl. They won’t set off your Echo devices.
- Here are the winners of this year’s “1st and Future” startup competition.
- The Madden simulation, which correctly picked 10 of the past 14 Super Bowl winners, predicts a 24-20 Patriots win.
- Fanatics reports big merchandise sales leading up to this year’s Super Bowl.
- Pitchbook looks at who won this year’s “VC Bowl.”
- Xfinity rolled out a Super Bowl viewing experience.
- Here’s what’s going on at Twitter for the big game.
- The Patriots launched their own non-stop streaming channelleading up to the Super Bowl.
- The NFL inked a deal with Fox Sports to broadcast Thursday Night Football — no word yet on if Amazon will stream games next year again.
- More than a third of NFL teams are using player-tracking devices from Zebra Technologies.
- Some stats from Extreme Networks on WiFi usage by NFL fans at games this season.
- Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson spoke to CNBC about his Seattle startup TraceMe.
- Tracking data from fitness app Strava gave away the location of secret U.S. army bases.
- Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr accidentally sent out a tweet critiquing the NBA that was meant to be a direct message.
- The NHL is getting into esports.
- DraftKings wants to build a sports gambling business.
- The NFL is partnering with HP to create foot-specific cleats for its players.
- The Sounders just hired a new sports performance director from the English Premier League.
Thanks for tuning in, everyone! — Taylor Soper