Technology Rumors

Kentucky is among the programs that have adopted a basketball equipped with a data sensor along with wearable motion-tracking devices on players that are tied into a system known as ShotTracker. It provides real-time automated analytics on shooting efficiency, ball movement and other metrics. “If you look at her shot chart from the last two weeks, there was a spot a little inside the 3-point line where it would be considered cold, 30 percent,” said Daniel Boice, Kentucky’s director of player development. “Because every shot is charted, she can now take that and work on that spot.”
The Mountain West this year is the first to use ShotTracker technology for all of its men’s and women’s conference games, and the NBA this year began testing connected basketballs from different companies during its Summer League in Las Vegas. This fall, the minor league NBA G League will include such balls in games. The “smart ball” games are a laboratory for the NBA. If the system works, expect to see it used in the NBA itself in a couple of years. Talks are under way with the player union to amend the collective bargaining agreement to allow players to be equipped with a motion-tracking sensor that will fuel a galaxy of new information for coaches, players, trainers, fans, broadcasters, fantasy players and gamblers.
“It’s a space we’ve dabbled in casually the past few years,” said Evan Wasch, the NBA’s head of basketball strategy and analytics. “There was some appetite from teams and broadcasters to explore the connected basketball. What we’ve done is try to put forth a plan that ultimately leads to a connected basketball down the road.” The league is interested in how the smart tech can provide data for fans during game broadcasts, such as ball speed and rotation, accuracy, shot arcs, etc. A chipped ball could more accurately identify when a ball went through a hoop. Timing and accuracy of calls could be improved beyond what the human eye can detect. Goaltending, tips, out of bounds, did the ball hit the rim, and possession accuracy all theoretically could be bolstered. “There are new metrics for fan engagements that could be pretty powerful,” Wasch said.
For the Kings, though, being the first NBA team to enter the cryptocurrency market drew benefits. “The crypto groups started purchasing items in our team store and that was successful,” Montoya remarked. “But what was really successful was when we launched the website where individuals could buy team gear and various experiences. We were the first and there were all of these Bitcoin enthusiasts who were like, ‘Oh my gosh, there is someone who actually understands this!’ These people didn’t really know about the Kings at the time, but saw that we knew where Bitcoin was going. At that point, we had people from around the world purchasing items from our team store and it was extremely popular.”
“People who are fans of Bitcoin are looking for ways to spend it,” Cuban said. “They want it to be seen as a currency and we want to give them a place to spend their Bitcoin.” For Cuban, the fluctuating valuation of Bitcoin did not play a role in determining whether the Mavericks would accept it as a form of payment. “It’s not about bullish or not bullish,” he said. “It’s about allowing people different ways to buy Mavs tickets and merchandise. I don’t care what the price of Bitcoin does.”
Today, the Sacramento Kings announced the NBA’s first blockchain-powered reward program in collaboration with Blockparty. The Kings plan to add the new reward program as an enhancement to the NBA’s first predictive gaming application, “Call the Shot,” in time for upcoming 2019-20 season. “We have only just begun to see the benefits of blockchain technology as it transforms the way business is conducted worldwide, ensuring secure transactions across multiple sectors and customers,” said Sacramento Kings Chairman, CEO and Governor Vivek Ranadivé. “We are committed to continuing to deliver the best fan experience and are excited to bring this transformative technology to life to award our loyal fans through experiences in a secure and transparent way.”
As for other takeaways from TechCrunch — the 31-year-old takes investing seriously. So far, Curry and his team have invested “healthy six figures” into eight companies. “I have a full-time job that requires a lot of my attention. But I’m all in on our weekly updates, our periodical updates,” Curry said. “I’m all in and that’s been the fun part about it.”