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Friday Briefing: Fox’s Daytona 500 Coverage, Snapchat NBA All-Star AR, Mideast Piracy Fight

The key sports technology stories you need to know this morning, including SportTechie’s own content and stories from around the web.

Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 – New technologies will be on show this weekend for the Fox Sports coverage of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 and during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend in Charlotte. Meanwhile, major organizations have joined Qatari broadcaster beIN’s legal battle against piracy operation beoutQ.

New Camera Angles at Daytona 500: Several new technologies will make their Daytona debut this Sunday during the Fox Sports coverage of the Daytona 500. Two new camera angles—a high speed rail cam and a body mounted camera worn by an operator in the pits—will be introduced at this weekend’s NASCAR race. While Fox used a tethered drone in its Daytona 500 broadcast in 2018, this year’s race will be the first time an untethered drone is used. The drone will capture footage of the backstretch, though it will not be flown above fans or the track. Fox Sports’ announcers will also have access to touchscreen analytics to show fans real-time engine data from the track regarding RPMs, break, throttle, steering, and GPS.

Fox Upgrades Unreal NASCAR Studio: Fox Sports will also reveal a renovated virtual studio during Daytona. The Charlotte-based studio will allow hosts to trigger VR and AR features on set for instant 3D analysis of the race. To power the graphics of the virtual studio, Fox will use Unreal Engine, a software suite owned by video game developer Epic Games, and the platform that powers Fortnite. “Video game engines are kicking out some of the most realistic and dynamic looking graphics,” said Michael Davies, SVP of Field & Technical Operations at Fox Sports. “We’re just sort of getting started, we as in the whole industry, in terms of harnessing what video game graphics can do for broadcasts.”

Snapchat Augments All-Star Fan Experience: Nike and the Jordan Brand have partnered with Snapchat to let fans create custom augmented reality art this weekend at Charlotte’s Mint Museum Uptown as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend. The activation lets fans operate Lens, a desktop app powered by Snap, to take a photo of themselves and add custom AR graphic overlays with quotes from NBA players, Nike and Jordan logos, and All-Star Game designs. “For us, the world is mobile, and our consumer, that’s where they live,” said Sean Tresvant, vice president of global marketing, Jordan Brand, according to Front Office Sports. “We’re trying to give them a great experience, a great mobile experience where they can use augmented reality.”

BeIN Finds Support in Piracy Battle Against BeoutQ: Major U.S. leagues, international broadcasters, and trade associations have joined Qatari broadcaster beIN in its fight against pirate streaming operation beoutQ, which is believed to be based in Saudi Arabia. According to a statement on beIN’s website, the MIRAMAX film studio, the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance, the NBA, the USTA, and Sky are among the list of organizations that have filed submissions with the Office of the United States Trade Representative asking that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia be identified as a Priority Foreign Country or be placed on the Priority Watch List. Qatar and beIN have previously asked for help from the WTO in its fight against beoutQ.

AWS to Enhance Clippers Mobile App: Clippers CourtVision, the mobile app that blends augmented reality and artificial intelligence for fans watching L.A. Clippers games, has partnered with Amazon Web Services to add new forms of machine learning and data analytics to its live game broadcasts. Clippers CourtVision was launched by the Clippers and data analytics firm Second Spectrum at the start of the current NBA season and is available to FOX Sports Prime Ticket subscribers via the FOX Sports mobile application. Moving forward, Clippers CourtVision will test Amazon SageMaker to build, train, and deploy machine learning-driven stats which will appear on live broadcasts and on-demand NBA game videos.

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