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The OneTeam Collective is the sports industry’s first athlete-driven business accelerator for innovative companies seeking to incorporate sports strategies to drive growth. Launched in December of 2016, the organization consists of the NFLPA, BlackRock, Harvard Innovation Lab, Intel Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, CSM LeadDog, Madrona Venture Group and Sports Innovation Lab.

Since then, OneTeam Collective has invested in companies featuring blockchain, wearables, voice recognition, digital media, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, health and wellness, active gaming and live video streaming. Many of these industries were highlighted in our column last week, when we discussed some of the hot technology that has NFL players buzzing.

Today, we examine the latest strategic investment by OneTeam Collective, which includes a partnership with ByteCubed Labs, an advanced technology product development startup that combines data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented/mixed reality to change the way fans interact with sports.

Just seven months old, ByteCubed Labs made waves with its initial launch of PRE-GAME PREP, the world’s first holographic training platform for football, attracting clients from both college and NFL teams.

The joint venture between OneTeam Collective and ByteCubed Labs will focus on bridging the gap between players and fans, utilizing content and data-driven products, as they plan to create distribution channels and engagement models for new forms of fan-player interaction, as well as transforming athletic training across all elements of game-day preparation.

One of their featured products under development includes a mixed reality and fan interaction platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI), which they claim will be a first in sports. Fans will get a glimpse of similar technology this weekend in a PPV broadcast dubbed, “40 Yards of Gold,” which plans to crown the NFL’s fastest man. Athletes will appear to run over futuristic platforms thanks to projection-mapping technology.

“Developing cutting-edge, player-driven fan experiences is what really excites us about this collaboration,” NFLPA President Eric Winston was quoted in the press release. “ByteCubed Lab’s approach to content through the use of mixed reality and artificial intelligence could be a game changer as it relates to fan engagement.”

As social media continues to evolve, the way we watch sporting events continues to change, and the way we view an NFL game could look completely different from today’s viewing experience, thanks to technology.

This could mean a viewing experience would include:

  • An arena filled with cheering Disney characters rather than fans
  • The end zone catching fire as a rusher crosses the goal line
  • A receiver’s uniform to change color, along with the cornerback defending him, to spotlight the pending catch
  • A Steelers home game against the Bengals that looks like it’s being played in Paul Brown Stadium
  • The odds of converting on a third-down play printed on the field depending on where it’s thrown, or the direction of the rush
  • A quarterback that appears to throw a Big Mac to a hungry tight end, rather than a football

The possibilities are endless, and not always pretty.

For those interested in learning more about how augmented and virtual realities work, the history of the technology behind it and what lies ahead in the future, here is a recommended article.

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