Just a week ago, the young sports company Replay Technologies announced it reeled in $13.5 million for what seems like the ultimate tech for the obsessive sports fan: Matrix-like instant replays from any angle. What no one could have expected was the round would be so successful that they would actually be exiting stage just seven days later as Intel has announced they are acquiring the company for $170 million.
Replay’s service relies on stationing 20 high resolution 5K cameras in a given arena or stadium, from which viewers can do their own analysis of events during the game. It’s a referee’s worst nightmare, but a fan’s 7th heaven. FreeD, the company’s flagship product, relies on 20 cameras being strategically placed around a sports venue to capture every instant of a game which then ‘stitches’ all those images together to let viewers or producers replay or broadcast events during the game. The company uses special 3D pixels known as “voxels.”
“We are very excited about the deal and believe it will contribute to both companies. The strategic pairing between our two companies makes for a powerful combination,” Replay CEO Oren Yogev said in a statement. The company had raised $27 million up until now from the likes of the Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, Samsung Ventures and Guggenheim Partners. They had been valued at $100 million, making this a win for the company. Intel’s been smitten by the company’s tech for a few months now. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich chose to feature them in his address to CES in Las Vegas back in January. That gave Intel the chance to brag about Replay’s use of Intel’s high performance computer (HPC) that was capable of processing the startup’s voxel-heavy data.
Some referees might not be so worried about having all their decisions questioned in viral criticism by fans. The tech is also being pushed to update existing instant replay policies during professional sports play. American network TNT is already using it and it was employed during the Super Bowl last month. Fast Company named Replay one of the innovative sports technology companies in the world back in 2014.
Geektime thinks the technology has an even brighter future were it to be integrated in new immersive technologies like Oculus, which might add literal depth and a more integrated experience to sports-viewing audiences.
Replay Technologies was founded in 2011 by Oren Yogev, CTO Matteo Shapira and COO Aviv Shapira.