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With New Cleat, Adidas Changes the Production Game

The company can now take footwear from design, to production, to use in under 14 days.

Adam White

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adidas created cleats for their players in the Super Bowl in under 14 days. (Photo via Paul Murphy)

Before Amazon Prime made everyone want something in two days or less, there were shipping options for 14-day delivery. Whether it was the cheapest option, or we weren’t in a rush, consumers still had the option. Now, thanks to adidas, football cleats can go from design, to production, to use, in the same amount of time that people at one point would wait for cleats just to ship.

The revolutionary adidas Made For Minnesota (AM4MN) are the first football cleats to be digitally created inside the company’s SPEEDFACTORY facility in Ansbach, Germany.

Data-driven and digitally produced, the AM4MN takes the football cleat silhouette to the next level by incorporating a sneaker profile and redefining fit, comfort, movement, and a radically accelerated digital production process to deliver the most innovative football cleat ever.

Leveraging the technology inside of the SPEEDFACTORY, adidas was able to deliver the custom cleats in under 14 days, 3x faster than their standard production. With this new opportunity, the company will have a Fanatics like opportunity to create cleats and other footwear to capitalize on the biggest moments in sports and the speed desired for today’s consumers.

Player’s who will be wearing the cleats come Super Bowl Sunday include the likes of Jay Ajayi and Nelson Agholor from the Philadelphia Eagles as well as Malcolm Butler and Brandon Bolden from the New England Patriots.

The Tech Inside

A closer look at the adidas Made For Minnesota (AM4MN). (Photo via Pablo Murphy)

When creating the shoe, adidas designers utilized athlete foot scans and ARAMIS motion capture technology used by NASA to understand the precise details of how an athlete’s foot moves during a football game. They then took that data and used it to create a series of patches that have been strategically placed across different parts of the cleats to harnesses movement, provide stability and support, and deliver a precision fit that is specifically tuned for elite performance for football athletes.

As consumer habits continue to change, be on the lookout for how technology like this will continue to impact the desire to have everything as fast as possible.

Adam is the Founder and CEO of Front Office Sports. A University of Miami Alum, Adam has worked for opendorse, the Fiesta Bowl, and the University of Miami Athletic Department. He can be reached at adam@frntofficesport.com.

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Former Super Bowl Champion Turns to STEM to Empower Youth

NFL Veteran and Super Bowl Champion Ellis Wyms has found a passion with computer science.

Adam White

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Ellis Wyms - Tech - NFL - Super Bowl

Breaking into tech can be hard.

It can be even more difficult if you are like Ellis Wyms, who grew up in Indianola, Mississippi, a city in which 30 percent of the population sits at or below the poverty line and median household income is only $26,479.

But, thanks to the game of football, Wyms was able to earn a scholarship to Mississippi State, where he would go on to rack up 120 tackles before being drafted in the sixth round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

An eight-year NFL veteran with the Buccaneers, Seahawks, and Vikings, Wyms won a Super Bowl with the Bucs in 2003.

Eight years removed from professional football, Wyms is now tackling another project that he’s equally passionate about: empowering youth through computer science.

“When you grow up in that type of environment, you just don’t have resources. There are not a lot of businesses, and educational opportunities are limited. I wanted to provide educational opportunities to communities that needed it the most.”

These opportunities originally started out as fitness-focused ones in which Wyms worked with Microsoft to get Xbox Kinects into community centers. Realizing that it is hard for kids — and adults — to prioritize fitness when they are just figuring out where their next meal will come from, Wyms realized he could make a greater impact by focusing on early education.

READ MORE: Inside the NFL’s New Partnership With ‘Fortnite’

“I wanted to develop a program that could ultimately drive young people toward better career and economic opportunities, and could give them value in the new economy. Today, we have the opportunity to take young people growing up in poor or poverty-stricken environments, and through access to the Internet and advancements in technology, connect them to opportunities that they may have never had before.”

The goal? Being able to shape the perspectives of the children who grow up in communities like Indianola and enable them to believe that they could have any type of career.

With his goal set, Wyms founded Athletes for Computer Science (AFCS), a nonprofit that introduces the fundamentals of computer science to elementary school-aged children. As a way to drive additional interest and excitement, Wyms engages professional athletes who share an interest in computer science and STEM learning to help students as part of their ongoing lessons.

In an economy where skills are at a premium and nearly every industry is being impacted by technology, Wyms see computer science as a necessity when it comes to a successful trajectory.

“The only way you get out of poverty is to learn how to participate in the economy. You can only participate if you have a skill set that’s valuable. That’s kind of the message we want to drive home.”

In the first year of the program alone, AFCS has worked with more 500 kids from second grade to sixth grade, who have written over 100,000 lines of code. AFCS’ program has been implemented across eight schools in four different states through online classes using curriculum developed by Code.org, and helps prepare classroom teachers to support children as they go through curriculum modules.

Going into its second year, Wyms hopes to see AFCS expand to more schools across the country, as well as get more athletes involved to provide inspiration and mentorship to the participating kids.

“Early on, it was about proving the model of marrying athletic influence to a learning opportunity tied to computer science education. Now, it’s about reaching as many children as possible, particularly those living in more under-resourced communities.”

With ongoing conversations between Wyms, and NFL players and teams, the opportunity to have representation from all 32 of the NFL teams is something that Wyms one day hopes becomes a reality. NFL Pro-Bowler Warrick Dunn and two-time Super Bowl Champion Booger McFarland have been early adopters of AFCS.

“I was able to join a class and encourage kids from my hometown of Baton Rouge to learn computer science – I know how important computer science education will be to their future,” said Dunn.  “The AFCS platform gives me a meaningful way to connect with youth and encourage them to learn a skill that will absolutely be an asset to them when they grow to be adults.”

READ MORE: How Riddell Is Changing the Game With New Football Helmet Technology

As AFCS brings computer science to more schools and students, Wyms has been excited to see how enthusiastic the students have been about STEM learning.

“It’s been amazing to see how engaged the kids are with the curriculum. We are helping fulfill a need in many school districts, and also creating an enthusiasm for learning that teachers and administrators love to see from their students.”

While there is still great opportunity to grow AFCS, there is no doubt that when it comes to impact, Ellis Wyms shows that he too is #MoreThanAnAthlete.

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NeuLion College Becoming Its Own Company Is Paying Off

NeuLion College was born as a standalone to specifically serve over 70 clients, and the company has already seen exciting growth in a short period of time.

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Photo credit: NeuLion College

Since 2007, NeuLion College President Tim Vargas has been leading the charge in giving college sports fans great digital experiences.

For the better part of the last 20 years, NeuLion has offered its clients solutions for web publishing, mobile app development, HD OTT video streaming and ticketing, as well as donor and guest management. In 2016, Vargas was put in charge of the company’s college accounts. Then in early 2018, NeuLion was acquired by Endeavor. The company soon realized that in order to best serve its 70-plus clients, specifically in the college space, it would need a more streamlined approach.

Soon after, NeuLion College was born as a standalone to specifically serve those clients.

People outside the world of sports marketing may not realize the stark differences between the professional and college world. Vargas believes that companies like NeuLion College simply have more to offer the college market.

READ MORE: NeuLion College’s New Tool Makes Social Marketing Easier

“One of the biggest ways that college and pro sports are different is pro sports teams usually have really solid business teams in terms of marketing prowess and analytical capabilities. Those are important things when it comes to keeping your content in front of fans and finding your fans where it matters. Pro sports teams always have great resources dedicated to that. I think it’s more the exception than the rule in college sports that you find those capabilities. So as a service provider, if we can be more than just a technology provider, but also a provider of some of that expertise, I think that makes a big difference.”

While transitions like this can be an uncertain or frightening time, Vargas seems to exude confidence about the company’s future after spinning off into its own entity.

“The transition has been tremendous, to be quite honest,” Vargas said. “Being able to focus specifically on the college side of things allows us to serve the needs of those clients in much more streamlined way. It’s also helping us develop our products at a much faster rate, and we’re advancing those products in ways that I don’t think the market expects.”

Thanks to advances in NeuLion College products like SocialDirect, Vargas and his team expect the NeuLion College brand to continue growing extensively in the next six months or so.

“We’re uniquely positioned for some pretty impressive growth; impressive, maybe not in the quantity of schools, but I definitely think it will be in the quality of schools that we start signing on with. Everybody here is really energized and engaged — and that is going to result in service like we’ve never provided before and technology like we’ve never provided before. If we can keep that momentum going, this is going to be a really interesting year coming up.”

READ MORE: How Riddell Is Changing the Game With New Football Helmet Technology

Also, expect the company to continue development on statistics technology in the near future. 

“We recognize the deficiency of our current product offering in that area. But we’re building something that I think is going to impress not just our existing portfolio, but anyone else who has looked at us and seen what our capabilities are with that respect. We’re taking the opportunity to completely rewrite and rework everything that we do with respect to stats. I think we’re going to have some features that none of our competitors have, and we’re really excited about that.”

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How Riddell Is Changing the Game With New Football Helmet Technology

The InSite Training Tool from Riddell is set to pave the way for football coaches and players to create a smarter, more intelligent game.

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Riddell - Tech - SportsFootball and well-documented head injuries have steadily been going hand in hand as medical science catches up with the game. Thankfully, this is at the forefront of Riddell’s thinking as the company continues to move its helmet technology forward.

Riddell is a premier designer and developer of protective sports equipment and an official helmet supplier of the NFL. Earlier this year, the company released its InSite Training Tool, which is a web-based data center that collects and analyzes on-field head impacts.

Sensors placed within Riddell helmets can track the severity and frequency of blows to the head that players receive during a game or practice and send that information directly to coaches. This way, coaches can easily recognize if a player has improper tackling/blocking form, needs medical attention, or if a specific practice drill is inflicting an unnecessary amount of force onto the head.

READ MORE: Will Snapchat Still Be Useful in 2019?

“This is a tool that we think has the potential to change the game because coaches now can have access to this impact data live,” said Kameron Block of Burson Cohn & Wolfe on behalf of Riddell. “If Riddell can show a coach exactly how often and where his players are being hit, then he’ll be able to take the necessary steps to change these drills and change practices to keep them safe.”

Football coaches adopting the tool are already seeing its benefits.

“The InSite Training Tool revolutionizes how we view practice and paves the way for coaches and players to create a smarter, more intelligent game,” said Dan Hunt, Colgate University’s head football coach. “The capability to influence how our athletes train and the ability to systematically assess our performance is a clear advantage over other programs. It adds more depth and substance to our player protection and evaluation processes.”

To spread the word about this innovative tool, Riddell recently launched what will be a five-part video series featuring Devin Hamrick, director of sales strategy for Riddell, and Brand Ambassador/Strategic Advisor Peyton Manning.

In this format, the show is reminiscent of what fans would see in a film room leading up to the NFL Draft. In terms of content, however, Manning and Hamrick talk at length about the InSite Training Tool’s capabilities and how it can continue to make the game safer.

“Peyton is someone who cares so deeply about this sport,” Block said. “He actually donated to Riddell’s Smarter Football campaign, where we usually give $10,000 worth of gear for 10 football programs. Thanks to Peyton’s donation this year, we were able to bring that up to 18 teams. Devin sitting down with him and showing everyone out there what this tool can do is such a great and interesting way to do it.”

READ MORE: Transmit.Live Sees the Future With Live Streaming Tech

The first two episodes of the show across Riddell’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube pages, have received more than 37,000 views. The other three episodes will be released throughout the month of December.

Not only has Riddell developed a tool that will hopefully play a part in preventing future cases of CTE and other brain injuries, but the company is presenting it in an interesting way that could pay off in terms of increasing its digital following.

“We’re just trying to give information that’s never been properly understood before and never been so readily accessible before. We hope that through this information and through our innovation with our new helmets, we can help keep the game and the kids who play it safer than in years past.”

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