Category Archives: Minnesota Vikings

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Vikings Owners Launch WISE Ventures Investment Company

Minnesota Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf have formally launched WISE Ventures, a Manhattan-based investment firm. The firm seeks early investment opportunities within sports, entertainment, real estate, and technology.
Wilf Innovative Sports and Entertainment Ventures will pursue tech-related investment opportunities that include streaming media, data analytics, fitness and health technologies, gaming, and communications platforms, the firm said in a news release on Tuesday. Zygi Wilf is the principal owner of the Vikings, while younger brother Mark serves as the team’s president and co-owner.

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“We have a passion for investing in, and collaborating with, next-gen companies who are on the leading edge of ideas that can ultimately enhance people’s lives,” said Mark Wilf in a statement. “With our deep industry networks and management experience, we are able to assess, champion and add value to accelerate growth in rapidly evolving industries.”
The firm has already invested in sports technology companies such as fantasy sports content provider SportsHub Games Network and automated video highlights platform WSC Sports. A full list of WISE Ventures’ current portfolio is available on the company’s website.
SportTechie Takeaway
The Wilf family net worth stands at $5 billion according to a 2015 report of the 50 wealthiest people in New Jersey. Before purchasing the Vikings in 2005, the Wilfs originally achieved wealth through real estate company Garden Homes, which was founded by Mark and Zygi’s father in 1954. The Wilf family’s existing investment portfolio also includes stadium-tech company VenueNext. Their newly minted venture capital firm figures to establish them as prominent investors in the sports-tech space.


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NBC to Debut Field Goal Tracer in Saints-Vikings Sunday Night Football Matchup

When the New Orleans Saints visit the Minnesota Vikings this weekend, NBC Sports will debut a new “SNF Kicks Tracer.” The tracer graphic will map the flight of the football on all field goal attempts during the Sunday Night Football game, giving fans at home a clearer view than ever of the ball once it leaves a kicker’s foot.
The tracer is the latest installment in the network’s SNF Kicks technology, which NBC began rolling out a couple weeks ago when the Patriots played the Chiefs. SNF Kicks measures the trajectory and speed of the football when kicked, and includes a “good from” feature that indicates the furthest distance from which a made field goal attempt would have been successful.

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“As we continue to use the most cutting-edge technology to enhance our Sunday Night Football broadcast, we are excited to add the tracer to our coverage,” said Fred Gaudelli, executive producer of SNF, in a press release. “With many games coming down to field goals, this new element will illustrate the flight of the football, while also providing many statistics pertinent to the kicking game.”
TrackMan‘s radar system is used to detect ball movement from when the football is kicked through to when it touches the net behind the uprights. To determine the greatest distance of where a kick would be good from, TrackMan measures not only the full trajectory, but also whether the ball is hooking or slicing during flight. The good from statistic is currently available only on made field goals kicked from at least 45 yards. However, NBC has plans to expand on its Sunday Night Football usage of TrackMan technology.
“By the end of the season, we hope to be showcasing the technology on kickoffs and punts, and eventually make our way to the passing game,” Gaudelli said in the press release.
SportTechie Takeaway
TrackMan is also used to provide metrics for NBC’s Golf Channel coverage as well as MLB’s Statcast system. NBC’s latest announcement does not specify whether the TrackMan tracer will be used during live field goals or on replays, but fans will likely want live kicks to be augmented. As more kicks are recorded and sample size grows, NBC will be also able offer metrics on what makes an optimal kick—whether a certain speed is more successful in a certain wind direction or temperature, say.  


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