The Seattle Seahawks are using Microsoft (MSFT) technology (Microsoft Azure and Power BI) to analyze and plot sports-science data as the team tries to prevent player injuries. MSFT’s Sports Performance Platform utilizes machine learning, predictive analytics and historical data to spot trends between “practice loads and player durability”, with coaches and trainers using the actionable insight gained to customize training regimens for individual athletes. Not everyone is on board though: some players are concerned that the data collected could be used against them (and lead to cuts), while others question the efficacy of the program, with several key Seahawks on season-ending I.R. (Sherman, Avril, Chancellor). Microsoft has plans to “deploy the platform to a broader set of customers.”
Howie Long-Short: MSFT grew revenue 12% YOY (to $24.5 billion) in Q1 ’18, with net income up 16% (to $6.6 billion) over the same time frame. Sparta Science is another company playing in the sports-science space; creating money ball methods to assess injury risk. The company which already works with the Cavs and Falcons, recently signed its first EPL partnership with Stoke City F.C. Sparta Science is privately held, but Qualcomm Ventures, the investment arm of Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM) participated in the company’s seed round.
Fan Marino: Speaking of Microsoft, the company will remain the NFL’s official sideline technology sponsor through the 2018-2019 season; meaning MSFT will continue to supply Surface tablets (it’s not an iPad, Mr. NFL announcer) for officials to use on video reviews. Coaches and players will also have access to Surface tablets on the sideline, giving them the ability to review previous plays. The deal comes as the existing 5-year $400 million contract comes to an end. Financial terms of the new deal were not disclosed.
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