Mar 21, 2017

March Madness gives sports tech startup its shot

While most eyes are on the NCAA bracket, those interested in the latest in sports technology would be wise to check out this week's NAIA basketball tournament taking place in Kansas City.

That event, which runs through Tuesday and features 32 smaller schools, is serving as a testing ground for several new technologies including ShotTracker, a system that lets coaches and fans get real-time stats thanks to sensors in the ball, players' shoes and the arena itself.

"We believe ShotTracker is to gyms what Wi-Fi is to coffee houses," ShotTracker CTO and co-founder Davyeon Ross told Axios.

Pricing hasn't been set, but Ross said the goal is to have it priced in the thousands (as compared to tens of thousands for video-based systems) so that it can be affordable to high schools, AAU teams and small colleges, in addition to the big university and pro teams.

The system has its limits too. It needs human intervention if, say, a foul is called and a basket waved off. Ross says the goal is to learn a lot from the NAIA tournament and refine the product through other uses, including at a number of tournaments this summer.

ShotTracker got its start with an individual one-hoop, one-player option that is still sold for around $149 on Amazon. Wilson makes a rival connected basketball that doesn't require sensors on the shoe or hoop. The company, which has 27 employees and contractors, has backing from Magic Johnson Enterprises. former NBA commissioner David Stern, and the LA Dodgers' Elysian Ventures.

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and South Korea ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

A combine in Rippey, Iowa harvests soybeans in October 2019. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. U.S. soybean stockpiles expected to drop as exports rebound, USDA says
  2. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  3. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins
  4. Reports: Facebook offers up to $5 for voice recordings
  5. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps