Sports Marketing and Ad-Tech Firm TGI Sports Acquires Virtual Advertising Company Brand Brigade – SportTechie

Sports marketing and ad-tech firm TGI Sports has acquired virtual advertising company Brand Brigade, which overlays ads into broadcasts for more than 4,000 sporting events per year including NBA, NHL, and MLB games. The acquisition will help Brand Brigade expand its services globally, with Brand Brigade expected to launch an ad product for streaming later this year.
Bruin Sports Capital acquired a 50% stake in TGI Sport for a reported $100 million in March 2021. The Brand Brigade acquisition comes after TGI announced last week that it had bought London-based Interregional Sports Group (ISG), which manages virtual ad rights in broadcasts for Serie A, La Liga, and Formula 1. Under TGI, Brand Brigade and ISG will operate independently of each other but collaborate on a broader expansion strategy to work with new clients across the globe.
Brand Brigade was founded in 2007 by Sam Chenillo and Oren Steinfeld. Both Chenillo and Steinfeld will now join TGI Sports and their virtual ad platform will be offered as Brand Brigade powered by TGI Sport moving forward. Earlier this year, the UFC signed a pilot deal with competing virtual ad provider 4D Sight to overlay sponsor branding on UFC Fight Pass.
Fitness app Trainerize will incorporate insights from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) into its educational platform, helping participating trainers and coaches gain more expertise on nutrition, mental wellness and physical anatomy.
Powered by ABC Fitness Solutions, the Trainerize mobile app is deployed by an estimated 400,000-plus personal trainers, nutritionists and wellness coaches most often as a way to connect with gym owners and clientele. The collaboration with the NASM is expected to help the gyms and trainers generate more business virtually.
NASM’s contribution to the app could be substantial, considering it has over 1.4 million certified trainers who specialize in physique and bodybuilding and virtual coaching. As part of the collaboration, Trainerize mobile app subscribers will have discounted access to NASM’s nutrition coach program, virtual coaching specialization program and other applications.
Amateur sports management software company TeamSnap has acquired LeagueSide, a community sports sponsorship platform whose reach includes major brands such as Chipotle, Uber and Verizon. 
TeamSnap reaches more than 25 million coaches, administrators, players and parents across 19,000 sports organizations and will now add 11 million households and 2 million youth athletes through LeagueSide. The acquisition consolidates the management and sponsorship functionality into one place for organizers while helping brands have more direct contact with their end consumers. Among the other stated use cases is the potential of reducing participation costs for families of youth athletes via the new sponsorship opportunities.
Private equity firm Waud Capital Partners bought a majority stake in TeamSnap in April 2021.
“We have listened to brands and partners looking for ways to connect in-person with youth sports communities, as well as youth sports organizations interested in sponsorship opportunities — and this is our answer,” Peter Frintzilas, TeamSnap CEO and a Waud Capital executive, said in a statement. “Like LeagueSide, TeamSnap at its core is a company focused on improving the lives of youth athletes and their families, while making sports accessible to all. We are excited to welcome these forward-thinking innovators to our team.”
FIFA’s high-performance team, led by legendary former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, has developed 11 new advanced metrics that will be made available to broadcast and digital audiences during the World Cup in Qatar. 
The new metrics, based largely on player and ball tracking data, will be used to inform fans during the World Cup as well as be used by FIFA for internal uses. They are:
Wenger is FIFA’s chief of global football development, and the high-performance team includes analysts, data scientists and engineers.
The federation said it will conduct developmental analysis to track longitudinal changes in how the sport is played as well as have more objective measures about the physical and tactical demands of the game at the highest level, with an eye toward understanding player development from lower levels. Chyron’s TRACAB provided the optical tracking cameras and algorithms powering electronic performance and tracking systems (EPTS) in the 2018 World Cup.
Venture Capital firm KB Partners has closed one of sports’ most prodigious early-stage tech funds with an investment total of $127 million that so far spans 10 startups such as the 3-on-3 hockey league 3ICE, betting-centric nVenue and gravity sportswear Omorpho. 
The highly-anticipated Myriad Opportunity Fund II — which follows founder Keith Bank’s initial $41 million, 16-startup fund in 2018 — substantially exceeds its initial investment goal of $100 million. As part of the fund, other companies such as metaverse-focused Stadium Live, smart basketball SIQ, blockchain ticketing firm Tixologi, outdoor enthusiast portal Kaya and basketball-focused Shot Quality, media platform Goss and gaming firm GridRival all earned financial boosts, with likely 15-to-20 more investments arriving over time.
Members of KB Partner’s advisory board include John Abbamondi, past CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclay’s Center; Chip Brewer, CEO of Callaway Golf; Joe Vrankin, CEO of Puttshack; Elton Brand, long time NBA star and Philadelphia 76ers GM; Steve Byrd, former Head of Global Partnerships at Sportradar, among others.
Women in Sports Tech, a non-profit seeking to diversify the industry, has opened applications for its 2023 WiST Fellowship Program, a summer internship for women and nonbinary students. The application deadline is January 16, 2023. 
WiST fellows work at relevant companies, teams or leagues for six to eight weeks while receiving a $5,000 grant and some reimbursable travel expenses. The fellowship program began in 2018 and included 27 recipients in 2022, working at such places as Major League Baseball, Stats Perform, Titleist, GameChanger, Catapult Sports, Stats Perform and Oura.
Opportunities for the 2023 summer program are still being finalized but include Stats Perform, Comcast NBCUniversal and the USOPC. The WiST fellowship is open to US citizens or international students enrolled in a US university.
Partnership intelligence platform SponsorUnited has raised a $35 million Series A funding round led by Spectrum Equity, alongside other investors such as Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry and San Diego Padres co-owner Ron Fowler. 
SponsorUnited tracks as many as 1.1 million sponsorships across 250,000 brands and types of IP, with a longtime emphasis in sports. Utilizing machine learning and a global scouting network, the SaaS platform allows all but five major professional teams in the U.S. to monitor marketing partnerships throughout every major sports league. 
The company’s founder Bob Lynch formerly oversaw partnerships for BSE Global, the parent firm of the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Dolphins, and is a board member along with SponsorUnited’s Alain Benzaken. In its most recent research, SponsorUnited’s data shows sponsorships in women’s sports are increasing at faster rate than men’s sports.
Liga MX selected Incode Technologies, makers of the facial recognition software, to implement a league-wide Fan ID program with installations for 35 clubs in more than 30 stadiums, covering more than 400 matches annually. Incode is also a new sponsor of the Mexican national team for its appearance in the FIFA World Cup.
Following a violent brawl in the stands during a March 2022 match between Atlas FC and Querétaro, Liga MX required facial recognition be implemented for the 2022-23 season as part of its Fan ID program. Incode partnered with two Mexican clubs, Atlas and Santos Laguna, back in April. Now, the same technology is being introduced throughout the country’s top tier of professional soccer.
Incode’s fully automated solution promises encryption of fan data while maintaining stadium security. Incode tethers facial biometrics to a ticket and, if partners choose to, it can be attached to a credit card for concessions purchases, including for age-restricted items such as alcohol.
Concacaf, soccer’s governing body for North and Central America, is launching on TikTok in partnership with Wave Sports + Entertainment in support of the confederation’s four teams competing in the FIFA World Cup: Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico and United States. 
Wave Sports + Entertainment will produce original content and manage the TikTok account on behalf of Concacaf. Wave’s flagship soccer brand, FTBL, has roughly 10 million followers across all its social accounts. In addition to introducing personalities and perspectives for the four World Cup participant nations, content will also include angles relevant to all 41 member nations.
In all, Wave touts a reach of 117 million followers across its brands and partnerships, which include collaborations with 115 sports leagues. Its most high-profile content is its football-centric podcast, “New Heights with Jason & Travis Kelce.”
“Every day we are working to identify opportunities to authentically connect with football aficionados across our region and the world,” Heidi Pellerano, Concacaf’s chief commercial officer, said in a statement. “New generations are inheriting a love for football, and we are committed to offering unique, interactive, and engaging content to foster that interest and passion for years to come. I am biased but I also think our fans will add some extra flavor to TikTok challenges and will love engaging with our content.”
Heated apparel company ORORO will supply the USA Bobsled/Skeleton national team with its battery-operated clothing for the next four years leading up to the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.
Through the multi-year deal, ORORO will provide the athletes with thermal gloves, mittens and socks that are generally powered by 7.4 volt UL/CE batteries and contain carbon nanotube fiber heating elements. The apparel works up to 10 hours before needing a recharge.
The direct-to-consumer company has expanded its initial offerings of heated vests, jackets and hoodies to this latest glove, mitten and sock deal with the USABS national team. ORORO will also be the presenting sponsor of the USABS national team trials ahead of the 2016 Olympics and has other partnerships with the Professional Pickleball Association and the Canadian PGA tour.
Earlier this month, players for the NHL’s Minnesota Wild wore the battery-operated apparel at an outdoor practice event. The franchise has a multi-year deal with ORORO.
ImagineAR is powering a new platform in the Baltimore Ravens mobile app that allows fans to pose in virtual photos and videos with the team’s star players, including quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The augmented reality application is a four-step process where users download the Ravens app, select “Ravens in Reality” from the pop-up menu, tap on a player and then aim their iOS or Android camera at a floor or flat surface to activate a life-sized virtual version of that athlete. They can then acquire an unlimited number of videos and pictures that can be shared on social media.
Marketed as a simple way to bring AR images to life, the players who are currently available for scan are Jackson, linebacker Tyus Bowser, safety Kyle Hamilton and the Ravens mascot Poe. More players will become available each week.
The Ravens have an ongoing two-year partnership with ImagineAR. Earlier this season, the company used its immersive technology to celebrate the Ravens’ 10th anniversary of its Super Bowl XLVII victory, enabling fans to view virtual 2012 Super Bowl rings and a virtual Super Bowl trophy similarly through the team mobile app.
As part of their revenue-sharing deal with the team, ImagineAR will continue to deploy its signature SDK Platform to create a series of metaverse-focused projects for the Ravens’ fanbase. The company collaborated with YinzCam, the Ravens’ app developer, to release the AR platform before this 2022 season.
ImagineAr has a similar partnership with the La Liga club Valencia, and the Ravens have previously introduced a mixed reality virtual Raven produced by The Famous Group.

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