A controversial split decision in a Scottish super-lightweight title fight last February could lead to VAR scoring in an upcoming rematch between the two fighters.
The champion Josh Taylor of Scotland narrowly defeated challenger Jack Catterall of England on Feb. 26 even though Catterall knocked Taylor down in the eighth round and appeared safely ahead on points. The judges, however, awarded the victory — along with the WBO, IBF, WBA and WBC titles — to Taylor with scores of 114-111, 113-112 and 112-113.
"Today I should have been waking up with all of the belts," Catterall posted on Instagram 24 hours after the verdict. "…Boxing, shame on you…Dreams stolen."
Since then, promoter Ben Shalom has worked to secure a rematch that could potentially include VAR technology similar to what is deployed globally in soccer. A second fight is now tentatively scheduled for March in Glasgow, Scotland, alongside discussions to implement automated scoring in boxing for the first time.
"I actually spoke to Robert Smith [chief of the British Boxing Board of Control] about that," Shalom told talkSport.com. "We're going to be putting a lot of pressure on for this fight to have [VAR]—we'll see. I hope next year is when we'll see a different way of judging the top fights. Look at what we've got now with football, with VAR."
"[It] could [be] two judges…in a truck [watching on screens] as well, judging at the same time as the three next to ringside. There's opportunities now perhaps if everyone is open-minded to take boxing into a place where it's never been before. That fight is so significant because of the outrage it caused, and that's what's giving us the impetus to try and make a change."
February's split decision created vitriol in Europe, starting with an investigation by the British Boxing Board of Control and incendiary remarks by the British House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, a native of Catterall's hometown who called the scoring "a travesty of justice."
At the same time, an incensed Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) made it clear he would grant Catterall (26-1, 13 KOs) a re-match in the super-lightweight 140-pound weight class. Taylor then ducked so many other mandated opponents in the past year — in order to make a second fight happen — that he was stripped of his IBF, WBA and WBC titles.
That publicity, in part, led Shalom to pursue VAR: "That is something that we're really trying to push and also very confident that we could see in the next year or two, yeah…We're talking about help from technology, and we're talking about perhaps judges that can watch things back at the very highest level."
In recognition of Alex Ovechkin becoming the NHL's No. 2 all-time goal scorer, the Washington Capitals have launched "AR Ovi," an augmented reality platform that allows fans to celebrate the achievement with an immersive version of Ovechkin.
Either by visiting washcaps.com/AROvi or by activating the AR through the Capitals Instagram profile, fans can bring a 3D Ovechkin into their personal space. Other AR integrations have him shooting virtual slapshots and holding up a virtual No. 2 sign.
Ovechkin scored his 802nd career goal on Dec. 23, eclipsing Gordie Howe's 801. He now trails the No. 1 all-time scorer Wayne Gretzky by 92 goals. The AR giveaway includes a congratulations alert and also allow users to share photos of their AR Ovi by tagging URL on social media platforms.
The AR technology is powered by Baltimore-based Balti Virtual, which previously produced an AR game called "Ovi's Os Slapshot" in 2019 that allowed users to control a virtual Ovechkin shooting cereal at moving targets. Balti Virtual also collaborated with the Caps that year on AR gamification called "Tilt the Ice," where users could serve as an interactive goalie trying to save virtual slapshots.
Biometrics identification and security company HID Global has acquired Janam Technologies, a maker of mobile reader devices used to scan tickets at sporting events and other venues. The companies recently collaborated at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where HID produced paper tickets with RFID codes that venue security officials scanned with Janam's handheld hardware for fans to enter stadiums.
Austin, Texas-based HID Gobal has partnered with FIFA over the past three World Cups, helping produce about 2 million paper tickets in Qatar that were embedded with an RFID inlay as opposed to traditional barcodes to reduce the threat of counterfeits. Janam's NFC mobile readers allows for 'tap and go' access control and support Apple Wallet and Google Pay transactions. Venues using Janam's ticket scanners include the Baltimore Orioles' Camden Yards.
HID Global's biometric security solutions include facial recognition and fingerprint verification. Founded in 2006, Janam is headquartered in Woodbury, N.Y. and will be part of HID's Identification Technologies Business Area division.
Nike is launching at-home fitness content on Netflix starting Dec. 30. All Netflix subscribers will be able to stream more than 90 Nike Training Club video workouts that require minimal to no equipment and span yoga, strength and high-intensity exercises.
More than 30 hours of Nike training sessions will be released on Netflix, beginning with five training programs this month with other workouts being added throughout 2023. A dozen Nike trainers will lead the workouts, including Joe Holder, Kirsty Godso and Betina Gozo. Netflix's more than 223 million worldwide members will be able to stream Nike's fitness content in 10 languages and access videos from a custom Nike tab on the streaming service.
Subscribers can also search 'Nike' to find the workouts on Netflix and search videos by workout type or duration, while also being shown curated workouts based on their viewing history. Nike's Netflix fitness offering comes as smartwatch company Garmin reported earlier this month that out-of-home exercise activities have climbed back to pre-pandemic levels. Many companies that saw growth during the pandemic's at-home fitness boom underwent layoffs this year, including Whoop, Tonal, Peloton, iFIT, Mindbody and ClassPass.
The Web3 marketplace FanField, co-founded by Michael Vick, has added former MLB all-star Jose Canseco to its roster and will release Canseco's first NFT collection in the spring of 2023.
Canseco joins Vick and former NFL Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson on the marketplace's burgeoning list of athletes, which includes more than 100 college and professional players. Consumers can gain entry to FanField.io via a desktop computer or mobile app and unlock NFT mystery boxes.
In addition, fans can secure virtual one-on-one conversations with FanField athletes, engage with them via social media and play video games against them on-line. Canseco's NFTs will be exclusively sold through the company's website.
Vick, the former All-Pro quarterback, co-founded FanField last August with the intent of creating NIL opportunities for college athletes and disseminating some of the proceeds to charities such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
The first FanField NFTs were minted in September at the same time the marketplace's collegiate athletes began signing collectibles for fans digitally to create authenticity.
Nickelodeon and CBS Sports will reprise its Emmy Award-winning augmented reality Slimecast with a regular-season production of the Christmas Day matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos.
Marketed as the "Nickelodeon NFL Nickmas Game," the alternative broadcast will mimic previous "Nickified" Wild Card productions the past two seasons. Among the technological innovations — some of which are powered by the Unreal Engine content group Silver Spoon — will be green slime, snow and presents being shot out of a cannon; augmented reality Nickelodeon characters being beamed on the field; and a virtual Nick blimp cascading through the host SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
The Famous Group was responsible for the broadcast's popular Slime Monster in a previous SlimeCast, helping Nickelodeon and CBS Sports win two Emmys in the categories of Outstanding Playoff Coverage and Outstanding Live Graphic Design.
Nickelodeon's prior game-day announcers will also return, with CBS' Nate Burleson, Noah Eagle and Nick actress Gabrielle Nevaeh Green collaborating to call the game — which will also air on NFL+. Nickelodeon's Young Dylan will also return as sideline reporter. The traditional Rams-Broncos broadcast, which kicks off at 4:30 p.m. ET, can be seen on regular CBS and will stream on Paramount+, the CBS Sports app, NFL digital properties and NFL+.
During the same game, the Rams will continue the implementation of their shared augmented reality platform known as RamsHouseAR. Fans either attending the game or watching at home can download the Rams' AR app and play immersive metaverse-styled 3D games that simulate being on the field kicking a field goal.
Online sportsbooks DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM have all been impacted by recent cyberattacks that breached user data. BetMGM announced Wednesday that a data security issue resulted in 'some patrons' having their information obtained in the attack, such as name, postal address, email address, telephone number, date of birth, hashed Social Security number, account IDs and data related to transactions with BetMGM.
'BetMGM currently has no evidence that patron passwords or account funds were accessed in connection with this issue,' the sportsbook wrote Wednesday. 'BetMGM's online operations were not compromised. BetMGM is coordinating with law enforcement and taking steps to further enhance its security.'
BetMGM said that it became aware of the issue on Nov. 28 but believes the security breach occurred in May 2022. Nearly 68,000 DraftKings users had their information compromised as part of cyberattacks that began Nov. 18 as the World Cup was kicking off with those hacks resulting in about $300,000 in unauthorized transactions on the sports betting app. The attack on DraftKings has been escalated to the FBI, according to ESPN.
'Bad actors were able to use login credentials obtained from an unknown third-party source to gain access to some user accounts,' a DraftKings spoksperson told ESPN. 'DraftKings has restored amounts for all users whom we have determined had funds improperly withdrawn from their accounts. Our investigation to date has uncovered no evidence that user login credentials were obtained from DraftKings."
FanDuel told CNBC on Nov. 21 that is has seen a recent uptick in attempts to hack its platform, but the sportsbook has not yet publicly said how many accounts have been compromised. As of Wednesday, many FanDuel users are tweeting that FanDuel is sending them alerts of hacking attempts on their account.