Las Vegas-based casino giant Wynn Resorts is looking to sell its online sports betting unit Wynn Interactive for $500 million, according to the New York Post. The asking price is significantly lower than the $3 billion valuation that Wynn Resorts assigned to its Wynn Interactive unit last year, the Post reported.
 Fanatics and Penn Interactive were mentioned by The Post as possible suitors for Wynn Interactive, which includes the WynnBet mobile sports betting app. NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal joined Wynn as a mobile sports betting ambassador in August; the company is also an official gaming partner of the Las Vegas Raiders.
 The Post reported that exorbitant marketing costs—essential to acquiring customers—is a main reason Wynn is looking to abandon its sports betting business. David Katz, a gaming analyst at Jefferies, told The Post that it costs between $300 and $500 on average to acquire an online gaming customer. 
 “The market is really not sustainable right now,” outgoing Wynn Resorts CEO Mike Maddox said on a Nov. 10 earnings call. “Competitors are spending too much to get customers. And the economics are just not something that we’re going to participate in.”
Charlotte Hornets star point guard LaMelo Ball has launched his own esports brand MB1 Gaming in partnership with esports tournament platform One Up. MB1 Gaming will host esports tournaments on One Up, while Ball will offer exclusive content and merchandise giveaways through the One Up app. 
MB1 Gaming’s first event on One Up will be an NBA 2K tournament sponsored by Puma on Feb. 5. Gamers must be at least 18 years old to sign up for the free tournament, which will offer $25,000 in prizes. The four finalists will compete in Cleveland during NBA All Star festivities on Feb. 18, and all finalists will receive a pair of Ball’s Puma MB.01 signature sneakers 
One Up says more than 250,000 users have registered for its platform, which hosts tournaments for NBA 2K, Madden, Call of Duty, FIFA, NHL and Fortnite. Former South Plains College basketball player Brandon Pitts is the founder of One Up, whose investors include NBA players Victor Oladipo, Terry Rozier and Quinn Cook, as well as Cleveland Browns defensive back Denzel Ward. 
Concacaf, the governing body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean, will implement video assistant referee (VAR) for its remaining World Cup qualifier matches. Those matches will be played this week through March.
World Cup qualifiers for national teams in Concacaf began in March 2021, with the Qatar World Cup scheduled to begin in November of 2022. Video review has not been used by Concacaf in any of those contests, which drew critical comments from U.S. men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter in September.
“That’s where the modern game is going,” Berhalter told the AP. “We want to be right up there with the rest of the world, our region, in terms of the quality and the technology. And we need to find a way to get that done.”
Concacaf also announced it will add VAR to games for this year’s women’s championship, men’s and women’s under-20 championships and its Champions League. VAR made its World Cup debut at the 2018 men’s tournament in Russia and was again used at the 2019 women’s World Cup in France. 
Microsoft has debuted a new statistic called Goal Probability for La Liga match broadcasts. The stat can be calculated within 30 seconds and has been shown as an on-screen graphic during replays of goals.
 Goal Probability determines the likelihood of a shot attempt being successful by measuring factors such as distance between the ball and goal, a player’s line of sight while shooting and their distance to defenders—as well as the shooter’s individual goal scoring history.
 Data is captured by 16 optical tracking cameras in each La Liga team’s stadium. Microsoft Azure analyzes the data alongside historical data from 2,000 previous La Liga matches to generate Goal Probability on a zero to 100% scale.
 La Liga expanded its technology partnership with Microsoft in May, and the organizations plan to release up to 21 more new metrics this year. Goal Probability is similar to the Expected Goals statistic that Amazon Web Services introduced for Germany’s Bundesliga soccer league in 2020.
Major League Baseball is looking to hire tech support in 11 Triple-A cities to operate its Automated Ball-Strike system. The job post signals that MLB is readying to implement ABS in Triple-A for the 2022 season, a significant jump after its trial at the Low-A level in 2021. 
 The ABS Tech job opening on MLB’s careers page says ABS will operate in “Spring Training venues in Florida, in AAA West and Low-A Southeast, and potentially in other non-MLB games and venues.” The job’s responsibilities include using the ABS iPhone app for at-bat data entry during games and assisting human umpires and staff with ABS operations.  
 Low-A games last season used Hawk-Eye’s optical cameras to call balls and strikes, while the human home plate umpire wore an AirPod in his ear to receive and execute the call from the software. TrackMan’s 3-D Doppler radar system has piloted MLB’s initial ABS deployment in the Atlantic League since 2019. The job posting says ABS will leverage “optical tracking data” to call balls and strikes—indicating Hawk-Eye and not TrackMan to be the preferred tech provider moving forward. 
 MLB is “actively recruiting” applications to support 11 Triple-A teams: the Albuquerque Isotopes, Charlotte Knights, El Paso Chihuahuas, Las Vegas Aviators, Oklahoma City Dodgers, Reno Aces, Round Rock Express, Sacramento River Cats, Salt Lake Bees, Sugar Land Skeeters and Tacoma Rainiers.  
Wagr, a sports betting app with social chat features, announced its public launch amid the completion of a $12 million Series A. The round included investments from The Kraft Group—operated by New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft—and HBSE Ventures, the venture arm for owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils. 
The Nashville-based startup is initially available in Tennessee following a private beta release that began last month. The mission of Wagr is to present an accessible interface for all levels of bettors, who can use the app to challenge others on bets. The experience is designed to be social with leaderboards and other community posts. Wagr generates revenue through a 5% transaction fee. 
Among those who joined HBSE Ventures and The Kraft Group in the funding round were BITKRAFT Ventures, Greycroft, Pear Ventures and Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six. Greycroft and Seven Seven Six had led the $4 million seed round that closed in Dec. 2020. Wagr’s co-founders are CEO Mario Malavé and CPO Eliana Eskinazi, who met while studying at Harvard Business School. 
Space Entertainment Enterprise, the UK-based company producing Tom Cruise’s upcoming space movie, has announced plans to launch a sports arena and entertainment studio in space by 2024. The module will be connected to the International Space Station and is being constructed by Axiom Space, which won NASA’s approval in 2020 to build the commercial component of the ISS.
 The low-earth orbit project, called SEE-1, is expected to be operational by December 2024. In addition to an arena to host sports events, SEE-1 will consist of a content studio to produce, record, and livestream films, television and music, according to a press release from Sports Entertainment Enterprise. 
 Space Entertainment Enterprise (SEE) was founded by film producers Elena and Dmitry Lesnevsky, and the company’s advisors include Mark Taffet, a former SVP of sports at HBO. A SEE spokesperson confirmed to CNBC that the company is in production of Cruise’s upcoming movie set to be filmed in space. 
Golf operations software Whoosh has raised $6 million in funding led by Craft Ventures. The company’s platform streamlines management operations for private golf clubs, and its new funding spurred development of an app-based member booking system that Whoosh will debut at next week’s PGA Show in Orlando. 
 Whoosh’s software provides caddie tracking, a waitlist feature and chat communications for a club’s staff and members. The software launched last fall and was developed with input from more than 150 golf clubs across the U.S.
 Other firms to invest in Whoosh’s new funding include Bienville Capital, Operator Partners, Human Ventures and Alaris Capital. According to Whoosh co-founder and CEO Colin Read, his company’s software will help golf club operators handle the sport’s participation increase seen since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. 
 “Clubs have been forced to dramatically change their operations to meet the elevated demand,” Whoosh Co-Founder and CEO Colin Read said in a statement. “We are focused on providing solutions that meet the workflows of our partners instead of having them alter their workflows to meet the constraints of legacy software.”
Tom Brady’s digital collectibles startup Autograph has raised a $170 million Series B funding round co-led by VC firms Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Kleiner Perkins. The funding will help expand Autograph’s NFT offerings across sports and entertainment, after having already released tokens for Brady and partnered with athletes such as Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter, Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka.
 Investors Katie Haun, Arianna Simpson, Ilya Fushman and Chris Dixon will also join the company’s board. They join existing board members that include Brady and his Autograph co-founders Richard Rosenblatt and CEO Dillon Rosenblatt; Apple SVP of services Eddy Cue; FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried; musician The Weeknd; and Peter Mattoon, an investment manager who frequently works with Brady on his business endeavors. 
 Autograph launched in April and partnered with DraftKings in July to provide athlete NFTs to the company’s DraftKings Marketplace. The new Series B funding also included investments from Nicole Quinn of Lightspeed Venture Partners and San Francisco-based venture capital firm 01A.
DAZN has launched a new global content production arm called DAZN Studios to bolster development of original content on its sports streaming service. The new division will support DAZN’s efforts to sign content development deals and help sell and license its original content across documentaries, series and films. 
 The new content arm will seek to work the “next generation of content creators” to develop sports programming, according to a press release. Original programming debuting this year on DAZN includes a documentary on Cameroon’s 1990 World Cup team and other behind-the-scenes pieces focused on the late Diego Maradona and Brazilian soccer icon Ronaldo.
 Earlier this week, former Entain CEO Shay Segev was named the new sole CEO of DAZN, while the company is also reportedly nearing a deal to buy U.K. broadcaster BT Sport. The launch of DAZN Studios comes after the streaming company created its own innovation hub in November. 
Online sportsbook PointsBet says it successfully tested a live in-game betting option during Saturday’s NFL playoff game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals that aired on NBC. PointsBet app users were able to view live odds to make spread and moneyline wagers without any suspensions that prevented bets from being placed, the company announced on Wednesday. 
 PointsBet’s ‘Always On’ in-play wagering was powered by Banach Technology, a gambling software provider that was acquired by PointsBet for $43 million in 2020. PointsBet has an existing partnership with NBC, which included the media giant buying a minority equity stake in the sportsbook in 2020. 
 “During NBC’s Saturday Playoff Game, our customers experienced 100% uptime and no suspensions on in-game spread and moneyline bets, which we believe to be the first ever result of this kind in the U.S,” PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken said in a statement. 
 PointsBet joins other betting operators such as BetMGM and DraftKings to embrace in-play sports betting in the United States. For the 2022 NFL season, PointsBet plans to expand its live betting options and improve the customer experience. In December, PointsBet signed a multi-year deal with sports data firm Sportradar to grows its live betting and in-app sports streaming offerings. 


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