Category Archives: Media

How to turn off autoplay videos on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and more

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Turn off this annoying and potentially harmful feature

By Cameron Faulkner, Writer, The Verge  @camfaulkner  Mar 15, 2019  3:39pm EDT

 

You’ve probably been caught off guard by videos that play automatically on Facebook, Twitter, and other services; in fact, just across the internet in general. They begin playing as soon as you load a page or (if they’re more deviously implemented) when you start scrolling through a page to catch your attention.

Automatic video play is a feature that, while nice to have when it’s surfacing content that’s related to your interests, can be pretty annoying. Autoplay videos can be harmful, too, exposing you to violent, offensive, or otherwise unwanted content that you shouldn’t have to see by default. Several browsers, like Google Chrome and Firefox, now have built-in measures to curb autoplay videos, but for the most part, turning them off is still a very manual process.

Whether you just want to put an end to autoplay videos on social media platforms, or are looking for a more comprehensive fix, we’ve got some tips. Keep in mind that you’ll need to adjust these settings for every device that you use, since your preferences on, say, your phone do not automatically push to your PC.

 

Illustration by James Bareham / The Verge

How to turn off autoplay videos on Facebook

If you’re using Facebook on your browser, you can turn off autoplay videos by navigating to the Settings menu found within the drop-down menu at the top right of the page. Look for the Videos listing on the left-hand menu. Inside of that option is a toggle where you can turn off autoplaying videos.

Facebook has similar options available for its iOS and Android apps, but it’s much harder to find than on a browser.

If you use an iPhone or iPad

  • Click the menu button on the bottom of your screen.
  • Once you’re there, tap “Settings & Privacy,” then “Settings.”
  • From there, scroll down until you find “Media and Contacts,” then tap “Videos and Photos.”
  • Finally, once you find “Autoplay,” you can turn off the feature.

If you use an Android phone or tablet

  • Click the menu button at the top right of your screen.
  • Once you’re there, scroll down and tap “Settings & Privacy,” then “Settings.”
  • From there, scroll down until you find “Media and Contacts.”
  • Finally, once you find “Autoplay,” you can set it to “Never Autoplay Videos.”

 

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

How to turn off autoplay videos on Twitter

The steps to turn off autoplay videos on your browser differ if you’ve opted in for the newer design.

If you opted in for the new design

  • Click on your profile name, and “Settings and privacy” will be nested within the menu.
  • Once you’ve been taken to the settings menu, look for “Data usage” on the side panel.
  • Click on the “Video autoplay” setting. You can then switch off the autoplaying of videos on your feed.

If you haven’t opted in for the updated look

  • Click on your profile name, and “Settings and privacy” will be nested within the menu.
  • Once you’ve been taken to the settings menu, look for “Account” on the side panel.
  • Under the “Content” heading, you’ll be able to unclick “Video Autoplay.”

iOS and Android apps

The process involves a similar amount of steps on the iOS and Android apps.

  • Click the profile picture at the top of your phone screen.
  • Select “Settings and privacy” in the menu.
  • Navigate to “Data usage.” Under the “Video” section, set the “Video autoplay” option to “never.”

How to turn off autoplay videos on Instagram

The Instagram app doesn’t allow for autoplay videos to be turned off, so you’ll have to tread carefully here. Videos don’t autoplay if you use Instagram on your browser, but since almost all of the service’s users are using it on mobile devices, there’s currently no way around it.

 

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

How to turn off autoplay videos on Reddit

Reddit, like most sites that host video, autoplays videos by default. However it’s pretty easy to turn it off.

If you use the newer design

  • Click your username in the upper-right corner and select “User settings” in the menu.
  • Select “Feed settings.” Within the list that is presented, toggle off the “Autoplay media” switch.

If you’re still using the legacy version of Reddit

  • Click “Preferences” next to your username in the top right of the window.
  • Under “Media,” look for “Autoplay Reddit videos on the desktop comments page.” Uncheck the box.
  • You’ll need to hit “save options” at the bottom of the screen to put the changes through.

On the mobile app, tap the icon next to the search bar, then hit “Settings.” Once you’re here, you’ll see “Autoplay” near the top of the page, and you can easily choose to turn it off.

 

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

How to turn off autoplay videos on Chrome or Firefox

If you use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, recent updates have allowed (or will soon allow) you to disable videos from playing automatically, though there are some caveats.

For Chrome users, ensure that you have at least version 66 (version 73 is the latest stable release at the time of publication). There’s no toggle to make sure that videos don’t play automatically, but instead Google should remember your preferences based on your activity, as well as that of other visitors to the site. It’s by no means a perfect solution to the problem, but here’s how it currently works, according to this article from Tom Warren:

If you’ve just started using Chrome and have no browsing history, the browser will autoplay videos on more than 1,000 popular sites where visitors typically play sound on videos. “As you browse the web, that list changes as Chrome learns and enables autoplay on sites where you play media with sound during most of your visits, and disables it on sites where you don’t,” explains Google product manager John Pallett. “As you teach Chrome, you may find that you need to click ‘play’ every now and then, but overall the new policy blocks about half of unwanted autoplays, so you will have fewer surprises and less unwanted noise when you first arrive at a website.”

Chrome may not have a switch that turns off all autoplay videos, but you can manually turn off sound, images, and other settings on a per-site basis to achieve something that’s close enough.

  • Click the lock next to the web address bar, then hit “Site Settings” in the drop-down menu.
  • Once you’re here, you can adjust each setting to “Block.” If you’re specifically targeting autoplaying videos, turning off Javascript is the way to do it, but beware, it will probably break a lot of other site functionality in the process.

As of March 19th, 2019, Mozilla Firefox will have publicly rolled out its update (version 66) that mutes autoplaying videos. Compared to Chrome’s approach, Firefox is taking a harder stance on autoplay videos by muting them all, unless, as Chaim Gartenberg wrote, “explicitly allowed by a user. Users will also be able to manually allow sites to autoplay, allowing sites like YouTube (where most people tend to want the video they’ve selected to automatically play upon loading) to continue to work as normal.”

Unfortunately, this means that you still may see something that you wish you hadn’t seen on Firefox, but it’s a step in the right direction toward eliminating autoplay videos altogether.

When Digital Transformation Does Not Happen: Big Box Retailers That Closed Their Doors In 2018


DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images Getty

Jan 22, 2019  02:42pm

By Blake Morgan, Contributor – CMO Network (Forbes), Customer Experience Futurist, Author, Keynote Speaker

 

When it comes to retail, the only constant is change. Today news broke that Starbucks will be trying delivery to customers, as the in-store experience has lost some traffic. As you will find out below, not everything that Starbucks touches turns to gold, such as Teavana. Those who compete on customer experience today are doing so by competing on logistics. A digital transformation that includes logistics and supply chain prove to be the power of companies that remain relevant to customers. Target is an example of a company that struggled to get a hold on the digital aspect of its business, and outsourced its digital side and website to Amazon from 2003 – 2011. They saw digital as ancillary but eventually woke up. They focused on supply chain combining digital and in-store inventories enabling them to get customer’s their orders faster. Target became a company that used technology to improve its supply chain and offer curbside pick-up for customers. Not to mention the success of its many Target-only brands. Target has triumphed seeing a twenty nine percent growth in online sales in 2018 and a growth in retail sales as well (almost six percent). But for those who refuse to go through a digital transformation fast enough, the risk is real.

In 2018 when some iconic retailers shuttered their doors by either completely going out of business or closing a portion of their stores. Retail is incredibly competitive, and specialty stores or brands that can’t innovate and compete often fall by the wayside. Thanks to Amazon and an explosion of direct to consumer companies like Casper, Dollar Shave Club and Away, more big box retailers are closing their doors.

Here are the top 9 biggest retail closures of 2018:

1. Toys R Us

Iconic toy store Toys R Us closed the doors of all of its 735 stores in June after months of liquidation sales. It marked the end of an era for brick-and-mortar shopping in standalone toy stores. Even with a loyal customer base and strong rewards program, Toys R Us had problems keeping up with online toy retailers and big box stores.

2. Sears Holdings

Sears has been battling to survive since it filed for bankruptcy in October. As a result, the company is restructuring and focusing on a smaller core of profitable stores. Sears Holdings announced in late 2018 that it will close more than 140 Sears and Kmart stores. Sears used to be a prominent retail store, but both Sears and Kmart have faced difficulties in recent years with increased competition and the growth of e-commerce. When given the choice to shop more modern brands online or go to an older Kmart store, customers are choosing the former.

3. Lowe’s

Home improvement store Lowe’s closed 51 stores across the U.S. and Canada. Nearly half of the under-performing stores are within 10 miles of another Lowe’s store, which has allowed employees to transfer to new locations. Closing less profitable stores will allow the company to focus on stores with big earnings.

4. Mattress Firm

Also on the list of retailers that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy is Mattress Firm. As a result, the company closed 700 of its more than 3,300 stores. Stores closed quickly after the announcement, some within a few days and others within a few weeks. Most of the stores that closed were in markets that already had numerous other Mattress Firm locations. In recent years, many customers have moved to ordering mattresses online.

5. Brookstone

Mall and airport staple Brookstone filed for bankruptcy in August after a long period of slumping sales. Brookstone closed or is in the process of closing all 102 of its mall stores. However, it is adding 35 new stores in airports to help meet revenue goals. Airport stores tend to be smaller but gain lots of traffic from tired travelers wanting to test the famous massage chairs. Brookstone’s mall locations simply couldn’t compete with online retailers, and most consumers found it easier and more enjoyable to find their quirky gadgets online.

6. GNC

Vitamin store GNC closed 200 stores across the U.S. and Canada after slumping sales. The company said it was trying to renegotiate leases to lower the number of stores it closed, but that didn’t turn out. There are still more than 9,000 GNC stores around the world, but more locations could close if the company can’t turn things around. With its specialty products, GNC is in competition with other vitamin retailers and online stores.

7. Foot Locker

A fixture of many malls, Foot Locker closed 110 stores in 2018, mostly in malls that the company said were “starting to deteriorate.” As it closed underperforming stores, Foot Locker starting putting a bigger emphasis online. However, brick and mortar isn’t completely dead for Foot Locker: it also opened 40 new stores in 2018, including a Champs Sports flagship store in Times Square.

8. Teavana

Starbucks shut the door on its retail tea chain, Teavana. Most of the stores hadn’t been performing well, and Starbucks wanted to move the company in a different direction. In recent years Starbucks tried to spice things up with improved store designs and creative packaging, but it wasn’t enough. All 379 Teavana stores closed in 2018.

9. Claire’s

Home to tween girl accessories, Claire’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2018 and announced it was closing more than 90 stores. It’s the perfect storm for Claire’s: aging customers, dying malls with slowing foot traffic and a move to online shopping. The store has also faced more competition from big box chains like Target and Walmart.

Nothing in retail is ever certain, especially as e-commerce continues to boom. Stores need to find ways to adapt or they might follow in the doomed footsteps of these retail stores.

Blake Morgan is a keynote speaker, futurist and author of “More Is More.” Sign up for her weekly customer experience newsletter here

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Note: The following link is not part of this article from Blake Morgan, but provides further details on additional bankruptcies experienced from 2015 through early 2019. It is quite extensive, but a very good review (Infographic with commentary) of the “Retail Apocalypse” and the impact of big-box retailers falling behind the technology curve and not shifting to e-commerce and establishing an online presence early enough:  Here’s A List Of 68 Bankruptcies In The Retail Apocalypse And Why They Failed from CBInsights (March 12, 2019).

Gartner Indicates Seven Future CMO Spending Trends in Their Latest Survey

Viraj T

Gartner Surveys 600 Marketing Champions Across the US and the UK to Uncover Industry Trends for Enterprises to Prioritize Their Budgets and Allocate Funding

Innovation emerges as the loudest thought in a CMO’s cognizance! About 16 percent of Chief Marketing Officers have confirmed that they spent the maximum on innovation in 2018 — two-thirds confirmed that spending on innovation will grow next year. The irony here is that marketing leaders admitted they are not very confident about how to innovate or exactly where to spend — although beaming of huge ambition about being innovative.

MarTech Series runs down Gartner’s findings and talks about eight trends for 2019 and beyond where marketing leaders are most likely to spend.

1.    Digital Marketing

The winds of change have begun to flow! Businesses are going digital by the hordes and the pursuit to make businesses successful on digital mediums has now gotten the eyeballs of the entire C-suite. 57 percent of marketing leaders are confirming now that they would be inclined to spend on digital marketing endeavors.

We interacted with Derek Slayton, CMO Terminus, and asked him his views on 2019 CMO spend:

Derek Slayton
Derek Slayton

“I actually think marketers are going to have to spend on technology to help with the first two bullets (better targeting and better measuring progress). Most activity-oriented systems today don’t help with where we point the resources and how we measure success.

As far as my team goes — tech aside from Terminus tech (which we are using for segment identification and measurement) — we are excited about Vidyard because it helps us focus on creating great connections with key accounts and stakeholders.”

However, CMOs need to work in conjunction with CFOs. Convincing financial officers to invest for methodologies not yet in the limelight can be extremely hard for the CMO. More so, even if they agree, the CMO is accountable for ROMI.

Also Read: Gartner Predicts Digital Optimization Will Disrupt CRM Sales Technology

2.    MarTech

Marketing Technology is on the radar of CMOs for investment. MarTech spend has increased when compared to the percentage spend last year (29% in 2018 as against 22% in 2017). Evidently then, MarTech is the crux of CMO spend because it serves as the paramount source of marketing resources and initiatives.

As per Gartner’s survey, CMOs will be spending the most on the below mentioned ‘big three’ technologies:

  1. Email Marketing platforms
  2. Web Content Management
  3. Digital Marketing Analytics platforms

Although, Ewan McIntyre, who is the lead author of the report, asks CMOs to practice caution. MarTech is extremely effective but can be costly. Marketing leaders need to think this through in order to avoid financial disasters.

3.    Advertising

The survey reflects the CMO’s annual spend for 2018 was capped at 21 percent for advertising. This is for both offline and online (digital) models of advertising. However, as per the first trend of this report, CMOs now prefer to spend a lot more (two-thirds out of the 21 percent budget) on digital advertising. Paid advertising on digital channels such as search engines, social mediums, et al. are the focus areas of digital advertisement spending.

Also Read: Can Google’s Flutter Truly Solve the Developer Nightmare of Cross-Platform Application Programming?

We spoke to Jenn Steele, CMO, Madison Logic, to understand if she agrees with the trends:

Jenn Steele
Jenn Steele

“Well, ABM is still super-hot, so I see people continuing to spend on various ABM tactics. At our recent client summit, everyone was buzzing around how to use data in the best ways, so data sources and solutions should be in most marketers’ budgets.

Personally, I’m looking at AI tools such as Drift and Conversica so that I can do more with less (because we all have to do more with less, right?). These tools help us drive contacts to a more “ready” state before we have to get a more expensive human being involved.”

GDPR and the current atmosphere of user privacy and data security is the worst nightmare for owners of digital mediums. Even when red flags are being raised for brands as huge as Facebook, marketing leaders choose to continue ingesting a substantial chunk of dollars for paid advertising. Main reasons? Increasing revenues and proving to stakeholders that marketing is a critical cog to aid the enterprise’s engine to run smoothly. Other reasons are bolstering brand value gaining new business.

4.    Workhorses

Tech watchers are going gaga over emerging technologies such as ABM, AI, ML, Programmatic and Native among many others. Even then, CMOs spend a whopping 25% on workhorse technologies such as email, organic search, paid search, etc. So why do marketing leaders continue to invest in these technologies that belong to a prior phase of MarTech evolution? Here are the reasons:

  • These channels are easy to measure for ROI
  • Easier to groom in-house talent to operate workhorse technologies
  • Easier to prove the effectiveness of these channels to stakeholders compared to newer, impactful but complex technologies

Workhorse technologies still work, and really well!

5.    Innovation

Innovation is a major focus area for the CMO. According to 9 percent of the CMOs surveyed, innovation will be vital in enterprise growth over the coming 18 months. And they are right — the business eco-system overall is flux. Disruptions, changing consumer behaviors, M&As, and so many other factors are ensuring that it is difficult for enterprises to run their business. Hence, innovation automatically becomes the fallback element of every enterprise.

Also Read: Interview with Peter Isaacson, CMO, Demandbase

To confirm the growing importance of innovation, now, 63% of CMOs confirm that their spend on innovation will only grow in 2019.

Speaking about innovation, Jeff Nolan, CMO, Kahuna, said,

Jeff Nolan
Jeff Nolan

“Modern marketing is increasingly centered on data science, and if we accept that premise, CMOs will spend big on AI. The underlying neural networks are services now. It is the training model and ability to ingest massive amounts of data, which is generated by your systems but increasingly purchased from other vendors, that is the critical element in these initiatives. I am in a B2B market, so what I’m looking at are technologies that give me deep perspective on funnel and pipeline. I want to be able to look at my demand gen activities holistically but then down to increasing granular cohorts that I can gauge for the probability to close, or not.

This is important for me because this will give me insight into where I should be focused, which then guides strategy and tactics. Where existing analytics solutions come up short is that they start with a premise of “this is good, do more of it,” which leads to unnatural bias that gets increasingly narrow in scope, and then misses the opportunities that emerge that are outside of the static scoring models. Basically, I need a really intelligent system that is capable of generating human insights on data across a portfolio of groupings and metrics.”

Marketers nowadays employ a hybrid marketing strategy for their campaigns. Here the hybrid model will mean sticking to the core marketing tactics and methods while embracing and applying newer technologies. But as discussed before, Chief Marketing Officers’ abilities do not really match up to their ability to innovate. The survey is indicative though marketers want to change and be more matured and absorb innovation.

6.    Customer Experience

The start-up culture is going full throttle. Newer companies that offer innovative, cutting-edge and problem-solving technical capabilities are being founded in multitudes. This has given rise to stringent competition and made it harder for businesses to better serve their existing customers and gain newer ones. From a customer standpoint, their expectation from a brand about how they want to be treated has skyrocketed.

Spending on Customer Experience (CX) has been picking up speed from the past several years. According to the survey concluded, it will see a good amount of CMO spend over the coming one and a half years. CMOs that were a part of the survey have declared that they will be spending 18% of their budget on Customer Experience.

7.    Personalization

Personalization is an extension of existing enterprise efforts towards providing a maximum positive customer experience. CMOs are spending an average of 14.2 % of their budgets on personalization efforts. The interesting element here is that double-digit spends are common across industries. The spending is critically invested in gaining deeper insights into the accumulated customer data.

Richard Black, CMO at Aki Technologies, said,

Richard Black
Richard Black

“I think brand CMOs will continue to increase their spend on the media that actually works. These days, mobile is no longer a place to test; it’s where a brand has to be because consumers have their devices with them all day long. Eyeballs are always on mobile.

So, smart CMOs will look for tech that helps them optimize and maximize the impact of mobile dollars so they reach people when they are most receptive to marketing messages. AI developments will help there. And, of course, video can make mobile creative even more impactful. OTT is another area that I see spend increasing with better and better content coming through and more eyeballs heading that way.”

Considering GDPR, marketers need to be careful about not pushing too much in their efforts to obtain data. This might just completely drive away consumers. Marketers may have dollars and data but there is an atmosphere of uncertainty pertaining, where marketers must tread cautiously. Marketing leaders need to develop fool-proof strategies taking into account the current market and consumer complexities.

Clearly, 2019 seems to be the year for innovation and customer experience with statistics pointing at a maximum spending in these spheres. The survey also speaks of changing patterns of marketers towards their perspective on the whole marketing operations stream. Typically, to gauge marketing performance, businesses have a fixed set of KPIs that are crafted around ROI and customer satisfaction. However, marketers are adamant that they would want to design their campaigning around brand awareness.

Andrea Lechner-Becker
Andrea Lechner-Becker

Here is Andrea Lechner-Becker, CMO, LeadMD, with the parting note:

“I think they’ll spend on technology. But I wish they’d spend on headcount and training. Marketing teams, regardless of size, are missing core and important skill sets. We have not educated marketers well at the collegiate level in a decade. The pace of change in marketing is too fast to go to a conference or webinar here or there and maintain the ability to be “good” at your job.

Technologies I’m looking at… I’m obsessed with B2B data right now, or the lack of great data. I want someone to fix the buyer insights data problem for me.”

Recommended Read: TechBytes with Josh Martin, Sr. Director, Product Marketing, Brightspot CMS

Five Predictions for How Technology Will Change Sports in 2019

Might the NFL launch an esports league in 2019? (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

By , Senior Writer – SportTechie /December 28, 2018

If 2018 were the year that sports betting was legalized, major deals were reached across mobile ticketing and biometric verification, and sports streaming services launched at an unprecedented pace, threatening to dethrone cable TV, 2019 will be the year they all hit a stride.

In 2019, niche sports will continue to grow in popularity as streaming services gain steam, sports betting will become accessible at venues, biometric IDs will be used to buy beer at games, esports will create further inroads in traditional sports, and athletes will further embrace wearable technology, digital video, and virtual reality to enhance their skills and marketability.

Sports Betting at Venues

States across the U.S. are working to adopt sports betting following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in May that opened up the legalization of gambling. One thing is for certain as we head into 2019: sports betting will be more commonplace and more widely accepted.

More states will move to embrace betting while regulators start to pass laws that protect athletes, leagues, and gamblers. But another thing fans might come to expect in 2019 is access to sports betting terminals at the venues themselves. In November, MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren hinted at this possibility at a conference. Murren said that MGM, which owns the Vegas Golden Knights’ T-Mobile Arena alongside AEG, was eyeing plans to test sports betting kiosks at the venue during Knights games. Murren shortly thereafter hedged that statement, saying that it wasn’t in the cards just yet. But his intention has been set.

Elsewhere in the sports world teams and leagues will continue to work sports betting capability into new and existing apps. Interactive mobile game maker Xperiel is currently working with MGM Resorts and the New York Jets to build sports betting into the Jets’ existing in-app prediction game, “I Called It.”

“Sports gambling becomes less of a gamble,” said Xperiel cofounder and CEO Alex Hertel in a note on 2019 tech predictions. “We will see a rift between the desires of the gambler and the regulating bodies that could end up driving some sports betters away. Immersive technology that engages fans will help make them stay.”

Mobile Ticketing and Biometrics

In 2019, mobile ticketing might not just become commonplace to pass through many venue gates, but it may become required. Meanwhile fans will be increasingly incentivized to use their biometrics for verification.

In 2018, major ticketing companies, from Ticketmaster to Seatgeek, moved to couple together the primary and secondary ticketing markets to help teams maintain control over prices and attendance data. After the NFL expanded its partnership with Ticketmaster in 2017 in an attempt to control more secondary-market sales, in 2018 a number of teams started to embrace a mobile-first ticketing strategy. This will continue into the new year, but with the added integration of biometrics.

In the MLB, biometric verification company Clear (which has a presence alongside TSA Pre✓ at airports) entered into a multi-year deal this past year with the league and its ticketing partner Tickets.com to do just that. As part of the deal, Clear agreed to leverage Tickets.com’s API to enable members to link their Clear profile with their MLB.com account to gain entry into games with a fingerprint scan. In the near future, facial recognition is expected to be added as well. The partnership was piloted at select MLB ballparks this past season, with a broader roll-out planned for 2019.

Also next year, biometric verification will expand beyond the gates and into venues. Clear was approved in the state of Washington this year to use its services to verify identities of people looking to purchase beer at Seattle Seahawks, Mariners and Sounders games. The company has since been in talks with regulators in other states to expand this elsewhere in the U.S.

Streaming and Consolidation

A number of streaming services offering extensive live sports programming launched in the U.S. this year, from ESPN+ to DAZN. This has created a fragmented market for sports streaming, while enabling fans to reduce their dependence on traditional cable. In 2019, streaming brands will scoop up new digital rights at a rapid pace, spanning not only major sports but niche ones as well.

We’ve already started to see this, with NBC adding a number of niche sports (from skiing to motocross) on its paid streaming service NBC Sports Gold. ESPN+ has similarly emphasized lesser-known sporting events, while DAZN has entered the U.S. market with a focus on combat sports.

In the new year, digital rights will continue to find their way into the hands of these major players, which will help to tighten their hold on the market. This might also give some of these streaming companies the fuel to begin trouncing (and potentially even scooping up) some rivals, igniting a more mature wave of consolidation within the industry.

Wearables and Privacy

In 2018, Whoop, the wearable company that partnered with the NFL Players Association last year to track player strain and recovery, secured a $25 million Series C funding round led by UAE71 Capital with participation from the NFLPA, Kevin Durant, and former NBA Commissioner David Stern.

In 2019, wearables and RFID trackers will continue to be pushed onto athletes to meet the insatiable appetite of fans and coaches for data. But with this proliferation of wearable devices in professional sports, innovation will continue to push against privacy.

The NFL’s CBA is set to expire in 2020. The next wave of negotiations between the league and NFLPA will likely begin in 2019, bringing many of these issues to the forefront. Under the terms of the NFLPA’s deal with Whoop, NFL players maintain ownership of their health data, and are also able to commercialize that data through the NFLPA’s licensing program.

According to Sean Sansiveri, the NFLPA’s vice president of business and legal affairs, if a market for athletes’ biometric data should ever arise, the union will have an established mechanism in place to ensure that professional football players are not only protected but also well-positioned to profit off their private data if they choose to do so. The Supreme Court’s ruling on sports betting in May, and the expanding state-by-state legalization of sports betting, might well create exactly that market.

NFL Launches an Esports League

While esports and traditional sports merged at an unprecedented rate this year with the launch of the NBA 2K and investments in esports teams by sports franchises, this trend will accelerate in 2019. NASCAR has already announced that it is hopping on the esports league bandwagon heading into the new year. The NFL has been slower to adopt esports, however the league earlier this year posted a job looking for a “head of gaming and esports” that would be based in its New York headquarters and lead the “strategic planning, partner management and execution of the League’s gaming efforts.” Perhaps 2019 is the year that Madden NFL gamers can go pro.