Smart Home Gym Fitness Company Tonal Cuts 35% of Workforce – SportTechie

Tonal, the AI-powered strength training machine that was valued at $1.6 billion last year amid the pandemic’s at-home fitness boom, is cutting 35% of its workforce as its leadership prepares for a recession. LeBron James invested in Tonal last year and its other investors and marketing partners include Serena Williams, Michelle Wie, Steph Curry, Drew Brees and Amazon’s Alexa Fund.
Tonal was staffed at 110 people before the pandemic began and grew to 750 employees before the recent cuts to more than a third of its staff. According to CNBC, Tonal has not yet been profitable but its job cuts position the company to make money in a matter of months. Tonal has raised $450 million in funding to date and is aiming to become profitable before eventually launching an IPO.
“As we head into a recession — and many of us believe we’re headed into a recession — it’s really important that we become a business that’s here for the long term,” Tonal CEO Aly Orady told CNBC. “The public markets are no longer rewarding hypergrowth when it comes at the expense of profitability. And as such, private market investors are no longer investing as many dollars or as aggressively to support businesses through hypergrowth. Those dollars just aren’t out there the way they were a year ago.”
Peloton, an at-home fitness machine competitor to Tonal, announced layoffs of 2,800 workers earlier this year and has seen its stock drop more than 70% since January. Tonal has increased the price of its wall-mounted smart gym from $2,995 to $3,495 and the company now plans to scale back on advertising to reduce its customer acquisition costs.
Michael Andretti, the legendary IndyCar driver and current CEO of Andretti Autosport, said the future of motorsports is electric. He spoke on Friday in advance of Formula E’s two races in New York City this weekend. 
“I think electric is going to be in almost all racing in some form, whether it’s hybrid or all-electric,” said Andretti, whose group fields team in both Formula E and Extreme E. “So that is happening. IndyCar is going hybrid. Sports car racing is going more hybrid. It’s all going that way.”
NASCAR has said it will mandate hybrid engines by 2024. Formula 1 has pledged that it will introduce a 100% sustainably fueled hybrid engine in 2025. Formula E is the first global sport to be certified with a net-zero carbon footprint since inception, having received that distinction in 2020. Andretti has been a team principal in Formula E since its first season in 2014.
The international governing body for auto racing, the FIA, is supporting these efforts. Frederic Bertrand, the FIA’s innovative sport projects director who also oversees Formula E, said, “We are trying to balance our portfolio between protecting tradition in motorsport and all these things and be ready for the future, which means that we need to evolve.”
“The way we manage now is the way we are moving from where we are to full electric—should it be straightforward, should it be progressive?” Bertrand added. “And for the moment, we are more on a progressive approach to make sure that everybody is able to follow because, behind the technology, there are plenty of other parameters, which we also need to manage and we need to make sure that everybody can be there and perform.”
The NFLPA is partnering with SuperTeam Games to develop STG Football, a multi-player football video game that will let users trade NFL players as NFT collectibles. STG Football will launch in beta later this year with a full free-to-play launch scheduled for Q1 of 2023.
Blockchain-based gaming startup SuperTeam Games raised $10 million last month, and its investors include former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, LAFC co-owner Bennett Rosenthal and Memphis Grizzlies’ minority owner Steven Kaplan. STG Football will host arcade-style 7v7 gameplay and a marketplace for users to buy and sell NFTs of NFL players that dual as roster-able characters in the game.
OneTeam Partners facilitated the deal for the NFLPA. The union debuted an NFT fantasy football game called Hashletes in 2018 and will debut a similar game with DraftKings for the upcoming NFL season.
Following the lead of the English Premier League, Major League Soccer and FIFA —among many others internationally—the National Women’s Soccer League will implement VAR technology in time for its 2023 season.
The league’s board of governors made officiating a priority during its two-day meeting in New York this week and voted to invest in the AI-driven real-time referee tool. The development also comes on the heels of FIFA’s latest decision to use an enhanced version of VAR called Semi-Automated Offside Technology at the World Cup Qatar this year.
The NWSL’s board of governors also announced they will upgrade the league’s Paramount+ and Twitch broadcasts by deploying superior cameras, mainly to serve their streaming audience that has expanded by 24% and a social media base that has risen by 28 percent.
The New York Yankees will offer a savings plan for employees to convert portions of their salary into bitcoin through a new multi-year partnership with bitcoin financial services firm NYDIG. Employees can opt into NYDIG’s Bitcoin Savings Plan to have parts of their paychecks stored as bitcoin.
Research from NYDIG claims that 36% of employees under 30 years old said they’d be interested in allocating a portion of their pay to bitcoin. The company’s crypto savings plan is now offered by dozens of organizations, including the Yankees, and it does not make employees pay fees to participate.
The price of one bitcoin is currently equal to about $20,000, significantly down from its all-time high value of about $68,000 reached in November 2021. During that month, NYDIG announced a sponsorship with the Houston Rockets that paid the NBA team in bitcoin and renamed a seating area at Toyota Center as “Bitcoin Suites by NYDIG.”
French Ligue 1 club Olympique Lyonnais has entered into a long-term agreement with soccer analysis platform SportsDynamics. 
SportsDynamics ingests player tracking data and automatically tags on-field events and helps coaches devise their own bespoke metrics. The technology is an offshoot of the French National Scientific Research Center (CNRS) and École Polytechnique. Olympique Lyonnais will begin by implementing the company’s GaTa platform for the men’s first team with plans of expansion to the women’s and academy teams.
Current Olympique Lyonnais coach Peter Bosz previously managed Bundesliga’s Bayer 04 Leverkusen back when the club became SportsDynamics’ first professional client in 2020.
Ōura Health has teamed with athletic social network Strava, enabling wearers of the Oura Ring to directly import their Strava workouts into its wellness monitoring platform.
The Strava data will inform Oura users’ daily Readiness and Activity scores. This integrationOura’s first beyond Apple HealthKit and Google Fit, which are preloaded on iOS and Android devices—allows two-way data sharing as Oura activities can also be imported into a Strava feed.  
Oura released its Gen 3 hardware last fall and added its promised workout heart rate feature in June with the new sensors able to calculate average, maximum and minimum heart rate data. Initially, workout monitoring was implemented for running, walking and cycling with additional exercise types in the works. 
Oura has previously partnered with the NBA and NBPANASCAR and the World Surf League (The NFLPA has an agreement with Whoop).
Every player participating in the women’s Rugby World Cup will receive a sensor-laden mouthguard from Prevent Biometrics to track head impacts. The global quadrennial tournament—originally scheduled for 2021—is taking place across multiple New Zealand venues in October. 
Prevent Biometrics has a standing relationship with World Rugby, which has collaborated with researchers at the University of Otago on multiple studies in community and elite rugby. All 12 teams are said to be fully supportive of the World Cup initiative to track magnitude, frequency and accelerations of head impacts.
Last week, Prevent Biometrics began a new study of Rugby Football League, and this week the Minnesota-based mouthguard technology company announced a separate project with the sport’s other code, Rugby Football Union. This research with the RFU includes collaboration from World Rugby and Premiership Rugby.
In 2019, the San Francisco 49ers launched their own influencer program to partner with popular social media personalities for content creation. Since then, the team has created organic content with influencers such as Natalie Aguilar, who creates TikTok videos with her die-hard 49ers’ fan father, the Santa Clara-born rapper Saweetie whose grandfather Willie Harper played for the 49ers, and the popular video game streamer Dr DisRespect who attended a playoff game last season against the Dallas Cowboys.
“People don’t realize that when Gen Z is following these influencers and celebrities, they’re trusting them more than they’re trusting actual brands,” Allie Dicken, the 49ers’ director of brand & influencer marketing, said at Horizon Summit on Wednesday. “Studies have come out that 63% of that audience trusts what an influencer says more than a brand directly.”
Dicken led off Day 2 of SportTechie’s Horizon Summit with a keynote conversation with Maddie Bregman, a 23-year-old founder of the consulting agency Girl Z that helps brands connect with the Gen Z audience. Gen Z is defined as seven to 25 year olds while Millennials are 26 to 41.
“I think the influencer is going to continue to just get more and more important.” @MaddieBregman on the future of Gen Z marketing, and how it will evolve 📱#HorizonSummit
“Millennials grew up as technology did — so getting the first iPhone, computer, iPad, all that kind of stuff,” Bregman said. “Gen Z hasn’t known a world where we can’t order a pizza, FaceTime our mom and text a friend at the same time.”
Dicken said that authenticity is paramount when deciding which influencers to partner with, so the team prioritizes working with people who are 49ers fans or have connections to the Bay Area. Videos that Natalie Aguilar and her father recorded at 49ers games last season generated an average of more than 12 million views on TikTok. Dr DisRespect announced a 49ers’ draft pick on Day 2 of this year’s NFL Draft, which ended up being the team’s top performing draft-related video on social media.
“I think that brands and teams in particular, since sports are a little behind the curve, are going to have to prioritize influencer budgets and influencer positions,” Dicken said of how the sports industry must adapt to successfully reach Gen Z. “Right now, influencer [content creation] is something that a lot of places are just throwing at a marketing person having to do that on top of everything else and lot of places don’t see it as a position that warrants its own body.”
The Sandbox is creating Tony Hawk LAND, a 6×6 virtual skatepark that will put the legendary skateboarder in the metaverse for the first time.
The partnership between the decentralized virtual gaming world The Sandbox and Tony Hawk Inc. not only unveils what’s believed to be the largest virtual skatepark ever made, but also includes non-fungible tokens. Tom Brady’s startup, Autograph, will design high-fidelity Tony Hawk-avatar NFTs based on his memorabilia, such as the skateboard Hawk used to execute the 900 at the 1999 X Games.
Courtesy of the Sandbox—which markets itself as part virtual real estate, part amusement park—the Tony Hawk NFTs will be interoperable in the open metaverse, which will transform the avatars into 3D voxel types for in-game usage.
The NFL and Ticketmaster are making a fivefold expansion to their program for fans to receive free commemorative tickets as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) 
More than a half-million souvenir ticket NFTs were minted in 2021, accounting for about 20 select regular season games as well as every playoff game—including Super Bowl LVI—and the Pro Bowl and NFL Draft. In 2022, NFTs will be available to every fan who scans his or her ticket upon entering the venue for more than 100 games, including every Week 1 game and at least three home games for all 32 teams. Unlike last year, however, there are no current plans to make some generic NFT tickets available for public sale. 
The NFL saw “off the charts” engagement with the initial batch of NFT tickets in 2021, with fans opening related emails up to four times as often as they do standard marketing messages from the league. Fans can access and sell their NFTs in a dedicated, Ticketmaster-powered NFL marketplace.  


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