49ers, Warriors scout Israel tech for next winner
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49ers, Warriors scout Israel tech for next winner

In US trip, Israeli delegation shows prowess in performance-monitoring sensors, real-time video and replay capabilities

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots in front of Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) during the second half of Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. The Cavaliers defeated the Warriors 96-91. (Larry W. Smith/Pool Photo via AP)
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots in front of Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) during the second half of Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. The Cavaliers defeated the Warriors 96-91. (Larry W. Smith/Pool Photo via AP)

New York and San Francisco sports teams, including the 49ers and the Warriors, along with media conglomerates and investors got a glimpse of Israeli sports and advertising technology as a delegation of 13 Israeli companies presented their wares in New York and San Francisco.

These included sensors for monitoring athletes’ performance, real-time video and replay analysis capabilities in combination with video games, and communication channels between fans and brands.

The delegation was set up by the NY and San Francisco trade missions of the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry along with the Israel Export Institute. The delegation’s members met with senior representatives from the leading American sports leagues, including the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB, as well as with teams, global giants in sports media and investors specializing in sports, the ministry said in a statement.

“It was very exciting to have Israeli companies meet with the biggest names in the industry, including teams like the 49ers, the Raiders, the Dodgers, the Warriors, media groups, venture capital funds among the leaders in Silicon Valley and leading tech companies like Twitter, Sony and HTC,” said Gili Ovadia, trade representative for the Economy Ministry to the West Coast. “The hundreds of meetings scheduled in advance for the Israeli companies are the best evidence of the power of innovation of Israeli industry. It was a great success.”

Among the companies presenting were FanPassTick, which asks holders of season tickets if they plan to use them for each event, then sells off unneeded tickets at 50% of the ticket price, ensuring stadiums stay full and fans who want to attend can do so. Minute’s video technology can automatically generate highlights from full-length videos, while Motionize has developed sensors to provide a real-time virtual coach for athletes, both amateur and professional, in kayaking, golfing, shooting and bowling, so far.

The Israeli trade missions in the US work together with the Israel Export Institute to promote Israeli innovation in a wide array of sectors. Over the past few months the missions have hosted dozens of Israeli companies in the US in sectors like IoT, augmented reality and virtual reality, cybersecurity, homeland security and educational technologies, Nili Shalev, trade representative for the ministry in New York, said.

“The delegation of sports technology companies was a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase Israeli innovation and to create business opportunities in one of the hottest and most popular fields in the world,” Shalev said.

Sports teams and companies are seeking to harness new platforms and technologies developed globally, from wearable activity trackers to e-sports and coaching apps, to grab the attention of viewers. Since the start of 2011, e-sports and game streaming startups have raised $714 million in more than 100 deals, according to a July 21 report compiled by CB Insights. At the current rate of investment, 2016 funding is on pace for a record high, and expected to top the $320 million invested in e-sports startups globally in 2015, the New York-based data firm said in the report.

The companies in the Israeli delegation were selected in advance by the US representatives they met with. They presented not only technologies related to the world of sports but also those enabling new connections between sports brands and their fans, Li Aviram Shoshani, manager of digital media at the Israel Export Institute, said.

“This was one of a series of activities we have been conducting in cooperation with the Israeli trade missions around the world, ” Aviram Shoshani said. “The first such event, held in London last year, led to opportunities that are still unfolding. At the same time, we are preparing for the next such event in November, to be held in Germany and Spain.”

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