Filming is currently underway for a new Netflix documentary centered on the PGA Tour. The show will include many major events on the Tour, including THE PLAYERS Championship, the FedExCup and the four majors: the Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open Championship and The Open. 
 The show’s structure will be similar to Netflix’s hit Formula 1 docuseries Drive to Survive, according to Golf.com. Filming will run through the end of 2022 and will follow current PGA Tour players such as Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and World #1 amateur Keita Nakajima. 
 This release will build on Netflix’s portfolio of sports documentaries that includes Drive to Survive, The Last Dance and an upcoming series of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace. The new PGA Tour series will be produced Vox Media Studios and Box To Box Films (which also produced Drive to Survive). David Check of ESPN’s Red Sox-Yankee “Four Days in October” 30 for 30 film will serve as an executive producer. 
Fan Controlled Football has raised a $40 million Series A led by blockchain gaming company Animoca Brands and crypto research firm Delphi Digital. The league, whose app lets fans call plays for their selected team to execute on the field, will double from four to eight teams in its second season starting April 16.
FCF also announced two new teams—The Bored Ape Yacht Club and The Gutter Cat Gang—will each be controlled by the communities that own their respective NFTs. The FCF’s upcoming nine-week season will also include new teams owned by retired NFL stars Tiki and Ronde Barber and musician Steve Aoki.
Last year’s inaugural FCF season generated 10 million live views on Twitch, while NFL stars such as Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, Austin Ekeler, Dalvin Cook and rapper Quavo all owned teams. The league announced a global broadcast deal with DAZN last month and will soon unveil a new venue in Atlanta. 
The United Soccer League and NBC Sports Next, the media company’s tech division, have extended and broadened their partnership for three additional years. The new deal designates SportsEngine as the preferred web and registration platform of the USL.    
SportsEngine’s youth sports club, league and team management platform will support USL Youth Academies and includes digital content production across the newly designed USL Network through SportsEngine. The USL consists of more than 150 clubs across seven divisions: USL Championship, USL League One, USL League Two, USL Academy, USL Super Y Leagueand the new USL Super League and USL W League.   
The 32-week USL Championship regular season, announced on Wednesday, runs from March 12 through October 15, followed by playoffs that culminate with a final in mid-November. All 459 matches will air on ESPN properties, primarily streaming on ESPN+. 
 
English soccer club Millwall FC has joined Recast, a micropayment-based sports streaming platform. Fans will be able to make small payments to watch portions of live matches, post-game analysis, interviews and behind-the-scenes content. 
UK-based Recast already has additional deals with the Premier League’s Manchester City, Scottish soccer clubs Hibernian and Queens Park Rangers and golf’s European Tour. Recast’s direct-to-consumer platform raised $8.2 million last year. The company’s investors include former Pixar CFO Simon Bax and West Indies cricket star Chris Gayle. 
Recast lets rights holders offer live action anywhere from 10-second clips to full match streams. The Recast app is free to download, and users pay to access content through purchasing in-app credits called Casts.  
“Because of Recast’s unique micropayment system, we are also able to explore a new revenue stream that we hope will bring great benefits and impact our success as a club,” Millwall FC CEO Steve Kavanagh said in a statement. 
 
Wearable fitness tracker Myzone has increased its total valuation to $102 million after securing $17.2 million from UK investment firm BGF. Vin Murria, founder of Advanced Computer Software, has also been named non-executive chair at Myzone, whose products span heart rate monitors and fitness watches. 
Initially founded as a general fitness wearable, Myzone has since expanded into health & wellness, medicine and high-performance sport, having sold more than two million total devices. Elite athlete users include U.S. Olympic hockey gold medalist Hilary Knight, who told SportTechie in 2019 that she uses the Myzone heart rate monitor during training. 
“A lot of my teammates also use [Myzone], and, while I’m training alone, it allows me to compete and compare myself to the team when everyone is training in different cities,” Knight said.
In 2021, Myzone launched its new MZ-Switch product, a heart rate monitor with interchangeable straps for the chest, arm and wrist. The new product also features both electrocardiography (ECG) and photoplethysmography (PPG) type sensors to track a wearer’s physical activity. 
China’s central bank digital currency, the digital yuan, will be an available payment method for athletes and coaches staying at the Olympic Village in Beijing for the Winter Games that start Feb. 4. Venues will also accept digital yuan as payment from fans attending the Games.
 The People’s Bank of China has been working to develop the digital yuan since 2014 and last week launched a pilot version of an app to support public use of the currency in 10 Chinese cities. Athletes and coaches will be eligible to receive wristbands that can be scanned to pay with digital yuan at cafes and convenience stores inside the village, according to Bloomberg. Visa cards and yuan cash will be the only other accepted forms of payment at the Olympic Village.  
 Digital yuan is an electronic form of China’s physical currency aimed at replacing paper money and coins—though it’s not a cryptocurrency because it does not operate on the blockchain and is issued by China’s central bank. Credit cards and apps such as Apple Pay in the U.S. and WeChat Pay in China merely serve as electronic movers of money, whereas China’s digital yuan serves as legal tender backed by traceable computer code. 
 In November, China’s PBOC said 140 million people had registered for digital yuan accounts. Tencent’s WeChat Pay and Alibaba’s Alipay, two dominant mobile payment apps in China, both recently updated their apps to offer digital yuan payments.
 In July, three Republican senators asked the U.S. Olympic Committee to ban U.S. athletes from using the digital yuan due to espionage and data-security concerns. Citing similar concerns, the Dutch Olympic Committee has warned Dutch athletes to not bring their phones and laptops to China.

 The Beijing Olympics was originally positioned as a chance for China to test its digital yuan on foreign visitors. However, that coming out party has been dampened by China’s move to ban foreign fans from the Games due to COVID-19.
Fox Sports has expanded its World Cup content partnership with Twitter to include weekly live Twitter Spaces audio analysis around matches. The expanded deal covers both this year’s men’s World Cup in Qatar and the 2023 women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. 
Fox, which has English-language World Cup broadcast rights through 2026, previously collaborated with Twitter to produce content for the 2018 and 2019 World Cups. Fox will again post video clips of every goal of this year’s tournament to Twitter within seconds of them being scored, as well as original content and Q&A’s with Fox Soccer personalities hosted on Twitter. 
Twitter fully launched its Spaces audio chatroom feature to all users in Oct. 2021. Both the NFL and NBA expanded their deals with Twitter last year to include Spaces audio content, while ESPN hosted a paid Twitter Space in December. 
Manchester City is the first soccer club to join Rezzil, a virtual reality training and fitness platform. Rezzil’s Player 22 app for Oculus headsets will now let users complete virtual drills inside a digital recreation of the club’s Etihad Stadium.
 Players wearing an Oculus VR headset will be immersed onto the pitch and must move their body to complete drills, such as motions to kick or head a ball into goals and targets and drills that test reaction time. Player 22, which costs $14.99 to download, also offers a new Manchester City Team Pack for in-game purchase to buy gloves, soccer balls and other Man City-branded digital equipment.
 Rezzil uses haptic feedback in an attempt to replicate the physical sensation of kicking a ball. Investors in Rezzil include soccer stars such as Thierry Henry, Gary Neville and Vincent Kompany, while the company is also a member of the NBA’s inaugural Launchpad accelerator program. Rezzil also offers VR training games for other sports such as football, basketball and tennis. 
 “The biggest problem it solves right now in youth soccer is not only training, but if you are under a certain age, you’re not allowed to head the ball in practice or in games,” Rezzil USA’s operations director Christian Barsanti told SportTechie in September. “A lot of time kids don’t know how to properly head the ball and the technique is wrong. Our system, you can practice heading in a non-impact way.” 
Esports organization Gen.G is partnering with Mobil 1, the official motor oil of the NBA, to launch a series of NBA 2K tournaments and a sweepstakes for fans to win one-on-one training with professional NBA 2K League players.
 The deal will also see the launch of a four-part streaming series that will share tips on how NBA 2K players can improve their game. The Tune Up Program launched Jan. 11 and will last through May 31. It will include two rounds of NBA 2K tournaments with more than $2,000 in cash prizes awarded each round.
 In 2018, former NBA star Chris Bosh joined Gen.G as a player development advisor. Shanghai-based Gen.G became the first club outside of North America to join the NBA 2K League in 2020. A second international expansion club from Mexico is also set to join the esports league this year. 
FanDuel has expanded its betting partnership with the PGA Tour through 2024. The new deal makes FanDuel the exclusive provider of odds for the PGA Tour’s social media channels.
The deal covers the Tour’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. FanDuel will also continue to have permission to use PGA Tour trademarks, highlights and video content, such as pre-game and post-game betting programming. 
IMG Arena, the betting data distributor for the PGA Tour, partnered with BetMGM in March to livestream tournaments inside its betting app. DraftKings is another betting partner of the PGA Tour and will open a retail sportsbook at TPC ScottsdalePGA Tour Live, the streaming service moving to ESPN+ this year, began showing on-screen betting odds in 2020.
Non-fungible tokens issued at the upcoming Australian Open will be integrated with match data captured by Hawk-Eye, the tennis tournament’s electronic line-calling provider. The AO Art Ball collection will consist of 6,776 NFTs minted on the Ethereum blockchain.
 Each tennis ball NFT will be randomly assigned to a specific 19×19-centimeter plot of on-court surface. For every winning shot made during the event’s 400+ matches, Hawk-Eye’s ball-tracking data and video footage will be added to the metadata of the NFT tied to that shot’s on-court location. 
 “By utilising the same line-calling technology and data used in the game, we’ll select holders from all AO matches, based on where the match winning shot lands in the court, and update that data to your NFT,” the Australian Open tweeted
 Physical tennis balls used from the tournament’s 11 finals matches will also be given to NFT holders whose tokens correspond with the winning shot’s location of each match. Each NFT will be sold for 0.067 ETH (currently about $200) starting Jan. 13 ahead of the tournament’s start on Jan. 17 in Melbourne.
 Ethereum-based virtual reality platform Decentraland has also partnered with the Australian Open to create a “metaverse” version of the event’s Melbourne Park. The online platform will stream the tournament’s live broadcast and share archived footage of past Australian Open matches.

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