Clear Health Pass
Clear stood out as a product adapting to meet an acute need. Its Health Pass was first deployed to confirm vaccination status at Super Bowl LV in 2021. Its sports and entertainment partners grew tenfold over the past year, from 30 to 300, including eight pro sports leagues as well as Super Bowl LVI, the Rose Bowl and dozens of pro sports teams such as the Golden State Warriors, Las Vegas Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Kraken. Last year, Clear raised $100 million in funding, including investment from the NFL’s venture arm (32 Equity). It also expanded into payments through an integration with Levy and YinzCam, with Clear providing the biometric identification to ensure age-restricted purchases on alcohol.
The proliferation of the NFT industry, which Bloomberg reported as worth nearly $41 billion in 2021, wouldn’t have happened — or at least not as rapidly — without Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot. That product was accessible to the masses via logistics (by not requiring an Ethereum wallet) and by conception (a clear presentation of a product). Dapper runs on its own Flow blockchain, which is a collaborative platform for third-party developers. Top Shot alone amassed nearly $1 billion in sales with its coveted drops. There have been high-value sales: a LeBron James dunk that emulated the late Kobe Bryant sold for $387,000.
But there is a critical mass of users, with more than 1.3 million having registered,
and more than half have completed some type of transaction. Dapper raised more than $550 million in investment in 2021, reaching a $7.6 billion valuation.
GameChanger has been an amateur sports mainstay for years, allowing parents and extended family to follow their loved ones’ youth games from afar via real-time scoring, but in response to the pandemic, the company developed and released a livestreaming product in three months. What stood out was the speed of development and of adoption. After launching for baseball and softball in spring 2021, GameChanger went from 6,000 monthly streamers to 120,000; in one month, GameChanger hosts more youth sports games than have been played in MLB history. In all, more than 5 million fans used GameChanger in some fashion in 2021, twice the usage since 2018. An on-demand option was also added to archive games with the same scoreboard and stats that GameChanger provides live.
Digital Seat Media
Digital Seat Media
Digital Seat Media stands out as a simple, straightforward tool to increase fan engagement of content and games and facilitate in-venue fan experience via in-seat merchandise and concession purchases. All of this is done through a QR code, just as consumers everywhere have grown accustomed to during the pandemic. It’s frictionless, too, with fans not required to download an app; instead, they are directed to a web-based portal. DSM’s tool also helps collect email addresses and build customer relationships. DSM quickly grew to 34 venue installations including high-profile sites and events like the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s arena, and college venues at Power Five schools including Oklahoma, TCU, UConn, Virginia Tech and Washington. Brand integration is easy for hosts to monetize their content.
Sony-owned Hawk-Eye Innovations has established itself as the leading tracking system for leagues that need a solution for officiating and/or tracking data. Best known as the in/out line judge provider in tennis, Hawk-Eye displaced all human line judges from two Grand Slams (the Australian Open and U.S. Open) for the first time in 2021. It continued powering MLB’s popular Statcast system and the goal-line technology for several major soccer leagues, including the Premier League. But Hawk-Eye also expanded itself with a new NFL deal to aid the replay review process with its Synchronized Multi-Angle Replay Technology (SMART) system. It began collaborating with the NBA on possible goaltending, shot clock and out-of-bounds decisions. It paired with Kinexon wearables to provide player tracking data in a WNBA game for the first time during the Commissioner’s Cup final.