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This week, NBA Europe launched a really cool AR activation dubbed NBA Chasedown which mimics a Pokemon Go-style game, encouraging fans in the UK, France and Germany to capture 🏀 and 💎 to win prizes. While there's no prizes on offer in today's newsletter, hopefully there's plenty of valuable nuggets of information to be collected!
TOP STORY

Meta makes Supernatural acquisition in bid to gamify the fitness industry

Less than a day after rebranding to Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook announced that it was acquiring Within, a start-up focused on offering a variety of fitness-related VR apps.
 
The company is most famous for Supernatural, which debuted on Facebook’s Oculus Quest platform back in April. The app, which is described as “a fitness-oriented take on the popular Beat Saber rhythm game,” takes a gamified approach to convincing people they should work out using VR.
 
The acquisition can also be seen as part of a wider trend across the entire fitness industry, which is increasingly seeing its future in gamification.
 
Fitness gamification creatively combines the highly popular elements of competitive video games into workouts to address a large complaint many have with fitness: a lack of noticeable progress. This is achieved through the use milestones and scores within games, which can provide instantaneous feedback and gratification, as well as distracting from the physical exertion.
 
District Technologies for example, has developed a first-of-its-kind running and urban exploration app which combines location-based tracking, augmented reality, and gamification to motivate users to explore cities by completing a series of virtual challenges and checkpoints. Taking this to another level, the platform is soon-to-launch digital collectables into the physical world, further gamifying the platform.
 
Our Take
Gamification in fitness is still a relatively new trend, but it has already shown itself to be a valuable innovation. This is only set to grow with the continued development of wearables, apps, and virtual and augmented reality, particularly with powerful players like Meta now increasingly focused on transforming VR headsets into workout tools.
📚 Further Reading

Fitness Gamification
  • The gym of the future will be virtual, gamified, and totally immersive - Fast Company
  • Aviron raises $4.5m to deliver gamified in-home rowing experience – Forbes
  • Pikmin Bloom: How Niantic and Nintendo's new game mixes walking, memory and AR - CNET
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK 
The COP26 conference got underway in Glasgow this week with world leaders such as Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel, and Emmanuel Macron in attendance alongside other world leaders and the likes of David Attenborough and... former Formula 1 World Champion, Nico Rosberg.

The former racing driver has, of course, since become an owner of his own Extreme E team, Rosberg X Racing, a team which he sees as a platform for positive change. Furthermore, alongside two engineers and entrepreneurs Marco Voigt and Sven Krüger, Rosberg helped to conceive the GREENTECH FESTIVAL, an exhibition (also taking place this week) highlighting innovative sustainability-inducing, green technologies. 

Interestingly, Rosberg's idea that sport has a unique power to highlight the urgency of climate change, has been similarly echoed by a fellow COP26 attendee, Greta Thunberg, who stated that,   

Sport “has the ability to engage with billions of people” and therefore “has a significant opportunity to educate people about climate change and what actions they can take to help address it.”

What do you think? What is the role of sport in regards to environmental sustainability? Let me know by replying to this email.
📚 Further Reading

Environmental Sustainability
  • ‘It’s like scoring a hat-trick’: how sport is aiming to drive sustainability - The Guardian
  • Envision Racing reveals new look for 21/22 FE season at COP26 - Racer
  • BT Sport reveals new programming about sustainability and the climate emergency - BT Sport
WEEKLY ROUND UP 
Merchandise
  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced the launch of a unified online Olympic shop developed in collaboration with global merchandise leader Fanatics. Through the store, fans will be able to purchase official Olympic and Paralympic Games merchandise produced by licensees and suppliers appointed by the IOC and the Organising Committees of Paris 2024, Milano Cortina 2026 and LA28.
Mobile Gaming
  • Liverpool have teamed up with mobile gaming title PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) Mobile to provide exclusive in-game offerings featuring the Premier League club. Through the collaboration, players will be able to unlock limited edition, Liverpool-branded outfits, as well as earning free in-game gear and items when they compete in a series of classic mode games.
Private Equity Investment Acquisition
  • Coca-Cola announced yesterday that it has bought full control of sports drink maker Bodyarmor for $5.6 billion, making it the company’s largest brand acquisition to date. The beverage giant bought a 15% stake in Bodyarmor in 2018, becoming its second-largest shareholder. At the time, basketball legend Kobe Bryant was its third-largest shareholder after investing in Bodyarmor in 2013, just two years after its founding. The estate of the late NBA star will receive roughly $400 million from the sale, according to The Wall Street Journal.

PODCAST
In Episode 5 of Sports Pundit Explains… Sponsorship, Andy is joined by Peter Murray, CEO of Professional Fighters League, to discuss the unique commercial proposition of the PFL, the importance of a content strategy, and how sports betting is being embraced across North America.
 
Apple | Google | Spotify
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Andy 
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