All posts by Rick Limpert

Noah Syken, IBM on New Technology at the 2020 US Open

Rick is joined by Noah Syken of IBM this week on iHeartRadio to talk about what IBM is doing at the 2020 US Open.

We all know the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of daily life, and sports for both fans and players have not been spared. As we adjust to a new reality, some sports are finding ways to slowly return under new rules and circumstances. At the same time, fans are looking for ways to engage with their favorite leagues, tournaments, teams and players. In fact, a recent IBM survey on sports and technology showed that nearly half of sports fans said having an interactive digital experience has become more important to them since the COVID-19 outbreak, highlighting the importance of creating new technology for fans.

Listen to Rick and Noah as they talk technology, tennis and more…

Here is some of what is going on:

Open Questions with Watson Discovery: To give fans a way to engage remotely in iconic sports rivalries, IBM will facilitate debates among fans on Starting with questions like who is the best player of all time, who is the top US Open Champion and more, IBM will use Watson’s natural language processing (NLP) capabilities to scour millions of online sources and then, using IBM Research technology, it will deliver a debate-like pro/con argument. Fans will also be able to share their opinions on the questions, adding to the debate. Match Insights presented by IBM: Match Insights with Watson Discovery is an AI-powered “cheat sheet” available to fans for every match. Match Insights uses NLP technology to search for and understand millions of articles, blogs, statistics and more. It pulls key insights from that mountain of data and converts it into a brief narrative form, enabling every fan to get insights from information ahead of matches.

Crowd Sounds: When faced with the prospect of no fans in attendance, the USTA, ESPN and IBM embarked on a collaborative journey to bring authentic crowd sounds into the presentation of matches. IBM leveraged its AI Highlights technology to recreate crowd sounds gleaned from hundreds of hours of video footage captured during previous US Opens. AI Highlights uses Watson technology to digest match footage and rank the excitement level of each point to create highlights in near-real time and classify specific crowd reactions. That insight has been reimagined to deliver real crowd sounds to the stadium and broadcast producers’ arsenals.

Todd Zeile, Former Major Leaguer, Executive at Game Developer, Bit Fry

16-year MLB player, Todd Zeile, is part of the indie game developer, Bit Fry, based in New Hampshire. They are the first company to ever create a new, officially licensed sports gaming franchise that features star athletes from all the major sports leagues. Rick talks to Todd on this episode of “Tech of Sports”.

You might have thought a huge developer (such as an EA) would have been the first to do this, but it is Bit Fry. The first game in the franchise is called Ultimate Rivals: The Rink and it has launched on Apple Arcade. Bit Fry is also growing in preparation for the next titles in the Ultimate Rivals franchise. Last week, Bit Fry announced a new license with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) for a new football video game.

Zeile says they are filling an “open space” in the sports gaming world.

The company has secured groundbreaking licensing agreements with nine major professional sports organizations, including the NHL, NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA), NBA, National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), MLB, MLB Players Association (MLBPA), NFLPA, Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA), USWNTPA, as well as Wayne Gretzky.

In Ultimate Rivals: The Rink, different combos of heroes unlock unique ways to play and win against the AI or other gamers in online multiplayer matches. Some of the 58 athletes include LeBron James, Mike Trout, Alex Ovechkin, Alex Morgan, Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts, James Harden, Zion Williamson, JJ Watt and Wayne Gretzky. The game is addictive and spans sports with athletes everyone knows.

Have a listen to Rick and Todd and see what Bit Fry is working on.

Jason Yim, CEO of Trigger on Mixed Reality

Rick talks to AR, VR and Mixed Reality expert, Jason Yim, this week on “Tech of Sports.”

Even if movie theaters reopen, many consumers will not go. Amusement parks may not see attendance rebound to pre-COVID levels for years. In-person events, such as Comic-Con and live sports, will have to be vastly different moving forward. Across all forms of entertainment, we are in for major changes.

As consumers seek new entertainment options, cutting-edge technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) may find increased use in the home, catering to consumers that don’t want to venture out but want to experience the latest from huge entertainment franchises.

Trigger, one of the world’s leaders in mixed reality, can provide you with unique insights into the future of entertainment, what consumers will be looking for and how companies can utilize these rapidly growing technologies to reach broader audiences. Trigger has worked with major entertainment companies including Disney, Amazon, Sony Pictures, Marvel, the NBA and more.

With many top franchises “grounded” for the time being, there is a unique window of opportunity for entertainment rights holders to try new platforms to reach fans and expand the popularity of their brands.

Rick and Jason talk sports and more as we all try to survive a pandemic. Check out Trigger Global.

Dyamond Doll, Miami Rapper, Releases Anthem Single “Dwade”, Paying Tribute to Dwyane Wade

Rick talks to Miami Rap Artist, Dyamond Doll, this week on “Tech of Sports”.

Dyamond Doll is beating all odds and taking the Miami music scene by storm during lockdown. The Miami Cuban-African-American native has been writing, rapping and singing since the age of 14. Now at 27-years-old and under Dark Boys Records’ wing, she’s reached over a million views after releasing her first uplifting anthem single “Dwade” featuring Miami legend Trina this past March. A homage to the city of Miami and to Dwyane Wade, Wade took personally to his Instagram and gave his stamp of approval by jamming out to the track, not to mention personally reaching out and congratulating Dyamond for her hot single and future success.

Now, taking it to the next level, her first EP “Dyamond In The Rough” was released on August 14. The EP contains 7 tracks, including features with Jackboy, R&B sensation DaniLeigh and veteran Canadian rapper, Tory Lanez.

Dyamond talks about her new release, her love of basketball and how it all started.

Yair Banuelos, Men’s and Women’s Head Tennis Coach, Auburn Montgomery

College sports are going through an interesting time and it’s not only the NCAA DI programs. Don’t forget about the DII and DIII programs around the country.

Rick is joined this week, by his friend, Yair Banuelos, the Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach at DII, Auburn Montgomery.

Banuelos came to the Auburn Montgomery Warhawks from Western New Mexico University, where he guided both the men’s and women’s programs to national prominence, as well as established the Mustangs as a power in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

A native of Mexico City, Mexico, Banuelos was a star on the court for the Mustangs prior to his coaching career. As a junior he was named the RMAC Player of the Year in 2010, earning All-RMAC first team honors in singles and doubles.

During his final year Banuelos was named the Senior Player of the Year in the South Central Region, the RMAC Honor Student-Athlete of the Year, and earned singles and doubles All-RMAC first-team honors for the second year in a row. During his senior year Banuelos went 6-0 in both singles and doubles during the conference season, while also being named to the RMAC All-Academic First Team for his work in the classroom.

Banuelos earned his bachelor’s degree from Western New Mexico in 2011, before earning his master’s from WNM in 2013.

He now guides the Warhawks on the court and through a pandemic affecting all college sports.

His women’s team posted a record of 5-4, while the men finished 4-4 in a 2020 season shortened by COVID-19. The Warhawks won three of five combined GSC matches, with the women going 2-1 against conference foes. Both squads closed out the abbreviated season with a 7-0 road win at Spring Hill College on March 8. Prior to the beginning of the 2020 spring campaign, the double’s duo of Alba De la Torre and Julia Enderink came in at no. 20 nationally in the final ITA 2019 Fall D-II Double’s Rankings.

In 2019, Coach Banuelos led the women’s team to a record of 9-12 and the men to a mark of 13-6. The women’s squad posted the fourth-best Gulf South Conference record at 7-4, while the men’s team finished third in the regular-season conference standings at 8-2. The men’s team ranked at no. 28 nationally in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association D-II rankings, with Alvaro Terron ranking 28th nationally in singles and Eban Straker-Meads ranking 36th. Both the men’s and women’s tennis programs were named All-Academic Teams by the ITA, while Alba De la Torre, Julia Enderink, Svenja Petri, Tonja Foessmeier, Eban Straker-Meads, Marcus Lind and Santiago Veglia were named ITA Scholar Athletes.

Learn about what Coach is going though with his teams at the DII level.

Rich Neher, Author of ‘Drop in Tennis Secrets’

Rick is joined by longtime tennis teaching professional and organizer, Rich Neher this week on “Tech of Sports.”

Tennis Pros hurting during Covid-19 can develop a second income stream thanks to his new book, “Drop-In Tennis Secrets.”

Neher talks the publication of his new tennis book “Drop-In Tennis Secrets,” which is now available as a paperback and in a Kindle version. He set out to find an answer to the question, “Can you make money in tennis when your name is not Roger or Rafa?” The answer is, yes! Drop-In Tennis Secrets is a handy guide for those seeking to organize tennis matches for local players and make some money in the process. Neher says, “This manual is suitable for tennis professionals that want to add a second income stream to their regular business, and for entrepreneurial tennis players who want to start a business in the sport they love.”

All the steps for starting and conducting a successful drop-in tennis business are covered. All aspects of a new tennis business, from start to finish, with plenty of tips and best practices, are presented in an easy-to-read, clear, and precise style, including Neher’s “Secret Sauces” to keep players coming to your group week after week.

Delaine Mast, National Director for World TeamTennis Community Leages, writes, “As I read your book, it reinforced for me how there is no replacement for experience. Your vast experience and passion for tennis, and people have made you successful and uniquely qualified to help others. I hope that others will read this booklet and realize it can help them create their own success story!”

Rich Neher is a tennis writer and publisher of a monthly newsletter titled TENNIS CLUB BUSINESS. Rich has organized and personally conducted thousands of drop-in tennis events in Southern California since 1998.

Equipped with a German engineering degree, Rich emigrated to the United States in 1985. After 5 years in Philadelphia, he moved to Southern California where he pursued his passion for tennis; he started to play tennis, and learned the business of tennis. Rich was a Board member of the San Diego District Tennis Association and received the Community Tennis Award from the USPTA San Diego division. It was in 1994, at the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club in Encinitas, California, when Rich began organizing drop-in Tennis events for local, recreational players.

As Team Lead for Adult Leagues and NTRP Ratings on the USTA Tennislink Team, he taught the ins and outs of league tennis to coordinators in all 17 USTA sections. In 2008 he moved from San Diego to the Los Angeles area and in 2009 he started his consulting business, TENNIS MEDIA GROUP, and became a tennis sports writer for Inside Tennis and the Examiner Group. Rich began publishing TENNIS CLUB BUSINESS in January of 2014.

He is the recipient of the 2003 Community Service Award from the USPTA San Diego Division and of the 2019 PTR Media Excellence  Award.
In 2020, after creating and organizing almost 3,000 drop-in tennis round robins, he wrote and published the booklet “Drop-In Tennis Secrets – a manual for creating a second income stream with tennis.”