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Game Changers

A look at the technology and innovation currently making waves across the world of sport

Published in Sports Management 04 Apr 2016 issue 117

Wasps recruits Fitbit as wearable technology

Aviva Premiership Rugby club Wasps has signed a unique partnership with Fitbit, which will see the fitness tracking provider become the club’s official wearable technology partner.  

Fitbit will work closely with Wasps, supplying their devices to the senior and academy squads and provide coaches with a comprehensive data management dashboard to further develop and enhance their performance, while ensuring personal goals are being achieved.

Wasps’ group commercial director, Luke Organ, said: “As a club, we’re continuously exploring ways in which we can develop our performance on the pitch and in business through the use of technology.

“This is another step in Wasps’ ambition to work alongside global brands, which successfully push the boundaries and are leaders in their fields. The partnership with Fitbit will create a platform to further improve our ability to deliver live analytics and provide clear visualisation of players’ physical performance and development.

“We look forward to working with Fitbit, which joins a strong portfolio of brands who will help us achieve our ambitious goals.”

Gareth Jones, general manager for Fitbit EMEA, said: “Our trackers are designed to be worn all day, not just on the field, monitoring key data such as heart rate and sleep patterns is now much easier. Via an app and dashboard Wasps can make smart training decisions and push team performance harder.”

www.wasps.co.uk

Wasps players will use FitBit technology in training and performance analysis
Wasps players will use FitBit technology in training and performance analysis

Atlanta Braves stadium to feature zip line ride

The new Populous-designed home of Major League Baseball (MLB) team Atlanta Braves will boast a zip line across its concourse. Derek Schiller, the franchise’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, confirmed the attraction for the forthcoming SunTrust Park while speaking at a Business of Sports Summit in Atlanta.

The zip line – which will begin from behind the ballpark’s video board – will be installed as part of a strategy to cater better for families visiting the venue.
“We are very family friendly, and that is a significant portion of our audience,” Schiller said. “Well over 50 per cent of our fans are families that come with their child to a game.”

The 41,500-capacity SunTrust Park and a connected mixed-use facility called the Battery Atlanta will feature restaurants, bars and retail outlets, alongside a hotel, plaza and theatre, which the Braves will run with music promoters Live Nation.

The properties will form an important revenue stream for the club, which is investing US$622m (€555.2m, £435.6m) in the project. Construction work is well underway, with the franchise hoping to move into its new home in 2017.

www.atlanta.braves.mlb.com

The Braves’ stadium will open in 2017
The Braves’ stadium will open in 2017

New playground for Ireland’s Olympic hopefuls

A new €4m high performance training facility – designed to help Ireland’s Olympic hopefuls win medals at major events – has opened its doors in Dublin. More than 180 elite athletes from 18 different sports will be based at the centre, located on the National Sport Campus in the capital city.

The centre will offer athletes elite physical conditioning, testing, rehabilitation, nutrition, physiology, medicine, precision analysis, education and life skills. Facilities include a four-lane indoor 130m track with performance analysis equipment, integrated long jump and a fully equipped world class physical conditioning area.

There is also an integrated medicine and rehab area, athletes’ kitchen with nutrition demonstration and education area and social ecology space where athletes and coaches can rest from training.

In addition to supporting high performance athletes, coaches and support staff, the facility will also support the Irish Amateur Boxing Association’s high performance programme. With a fully specced out Boxing Gym, the facility will include four training rings and a full-size competition ring, analysis equipment and coaches’ offices.

Kieran Mulvey, chair of Sport Ireland, said: “Our new High Performance Centre will provide a world class environment where our elite athletes can prepare and train at home, to realise their performance potential on the world stage”.

http://www.nscda.ie

Ireland’s high performance centre will be home to 180 athletes from 18 sports
Ireland’s high performance centre will be home to 180 athletes from 18 sports

Qatar looks to tents for World Cup 2022 accommodation

Qatar may accommodate thousands of fans in Bedouin-style tents in the desert after declining oil prices have forced the nation to rethink projects including the building of hotels.

In the lead-up to its successful World Cup 2022 bid in 2010, officials from the Gulf state said it would build 55,000 hotel rooms to house supporters, however that has now been altered to 46,000 rooms following the dent in its oil-dependent economy.

“At the heart of this World Cup is a commitment to showcase the hospitality and friendship in the Middle East. As a result, we are actively researching the concept of supporters sleeping under the stars,” a spokesperson for Qatar’s World Cup Supreme Committee (QWCSC) said.

FIFA requires 60,000 rooms to be available during the World Cup, and according to Reuters the organisers are looking at tents as a potential way to meet the requirements.

A QWCSC spokesperson said Qatar was on track to deliver the required rooms, but it’s unknown if the camps will permit alcohol consumption. Public drinking is banned in the country, but the camps could host a designated fan zone where the law could be relaxed.

http://www.sc.qa/en

Qatar won its bid to host the 2022 World Cup in 2010 after pledging that 55,000 rooms would be built
Qatar won its bid to host the 2022 World Cup in 2010 after pledging that 55,000 rooms would be built
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