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OZ Sports uses Augmented Reality to put football fans at the heart of closed-door broadcasts

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OZ Sports partners with RVX to launch OZ ARENA, using innovative AR technologies that are set to bring fans from home into live broadcasts when football resumes in the wake of COVID-19.

Virtual fans can personalise their experience with their own avatars, club shirts, genuine cheers from home via an app – and even appear in their preferred seat.

OZ ARENA while standalone, also forms part of the OZ Connected Stadium, the one-stop-solution for leagues and federations to augment their sports by capturing, enhancing and distributing content.

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Throughout history, there have been pivotal moments of disruption that have completely redefined the norm. Coronavirus is accelerating change, almost subconsciously, that will completely change the face of business, industry, our entire daily life, including sport.

When football returns post-lockdown, it will be in unprecedented circumstances. For the millions of match-starved fans around the world, there won’t be a quick fix to live match withdrawal symptoms once Coronavirus restrictions are lifted. Yet, there are opportunities for federations, leagues and broadcasters to transform and revolutionise the home viewing experience.

Venues might be physically deserted, but through cutting edge augmented reality and visual effects – the likes of which have been embraced in the world of esports and streaming – fans will still be able to be at the heart of the action. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Introducing the new game: welcome to OZ ARENA.

OZ Sports and RVX, whose most recent work has been seen in various Hollywood blockbuster movies and TV series, are rolling out new technology and services for rights-holders of leagues to make the experience more engaging for the fans.

With the new solution, which also integrates into the wider OZ Connected Stadium, spectators can be dynamically added to live broadcasts with the use of advanced augmented reality technology. Fans can pick their avatar, club’s shirt, have their face painted, and even appear in the stadium in their favourite seat. Fans can also get their voice heard, by participating as either audio-only or with immersive visual participation in the live broadcast.

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OZ ARENA tech can either completely replace the stadium entirely or augment spectators into existing empty stadiums. The process is added to each camera feed in the workflow opening up support for multi-camera processing.

OZ ARENA has advanced audio support, where fans can use an app to add live audio to the broadcast. The servers aggregate all fan audio, using low-latency time synchronisation and AI algorithms, to manage volume levels, enabling fans to yell as loudly as they like remotely, without overpowering the audio stream. These solutions enable broadcasts to maintain full integrity and sound effects during fan-free games.

“Due to Coronavirus, we will see more games to be played behind closed doors with bans on large-scale public events. It is our job to keep the experience still as exciting as during the non-pandemic world. We do that by learning from esports, bringing new exciting elements into the real-world broadcasts. Our augmentation filters can be customised based on the branding strategy and the creative plan of the league,” said Gudjon Gudjonsson, CEO of OZ Sports.

“The idea is to protect the integrity and experience of the game, by turning the attention away from the empty stadium, and instead replacing it with appealing surroundings to make the game more interesting, and as close to reality as possible. These are times to explore and experiment, to make sports even more appealing and to bring it closer to the latest developments in esports” continued Gudjonsson.

“We have brought together world-class 3D visual artists, developers and technologists, with a range of honours and awards – including numerous Emmys, VES and D&AD Awards,” said Dadi Einarsson, CEO of RVX. He continues: “The team for this solution has previously delivered visual effects for blockbusters films, TV, video games and VR projects including Everest, Gravity, The OA, 2 Guns and Sherlock Holmes. Our experience with AAA quality visuals coupled with cutting edge AI and AR solutions put us in the perfect spot.”

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The AI and machine learning team include PhDs and specialists on both player and ball tracking that have developed a low-latency perception framework for a detailed semantic understanding of sports games. This framework is a combination of state-of-the-art object detectors, trackers and classifiers which are trained to perform in sports environments. OZ Sports technology can uncover the true state-space of the sport and infer meaningful sport-specific abstractions from the game from velocity vectors in a 3-dimensional space.

The OZ ARENA solution can be applied to live production as a per-match service. It supports both audio-only and the full immersive audio-visual solution. The OZ ARENA system is an integrated part of the OZ Connected Stadium, and can also be installed at broadcaster’s facility, OB truck, or at the stadium.

Rights-holders and broadcasters can contact OZ Sports for quotes on deployments by visiting www.oz.com.

 

About OZ Sports:

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OZ Sports mission is to give every sports league affordable technologies to create immersive and spectacular video experiences with no sacrifice in quality.

Centred around our global roll-out of the OZ Connected Stadium system at sports venues worldwide. A simple, one-time setup, offering sports leagues an outstanding fan experience with exceptional production, VAR, visual augmentations, player tracking, and global distribution via branded apps.

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Navajo Gaming Appoints John James as Chief Executive Officer

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Navajo Gaming has appointed John James as its Chief Executive Officer.

John James brings more than two decades of professional gaming and hospitality experience to Navajo Gaming. He previously served as CEO of River Rock Entertainment Authority in Geyserville California. There he exemplified his strong leadership skills by identifying and implementing innovative operational improvements to grow revenue while improving morale through thoughtful strategic direction and mentoring.

Prior to that, he led numerous tribal casinos including serving as CEO of Muckleshoot Casino Resort in Washington, CEO of Soboba Casino Resort in California, COO of Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in California, and CEO of Gila River Gaming Enterprises in Arizona. Additionally, he has served in leadership positions for Seminole Gaming Inc., Pechanga Resort and Casino, and various successful Station Casino properties.

As CEO of Navajo Gaming, John James will oversee and manage Navajo Gaming properties in New Mexico and Arizona, as well as ensure that Navajo Gaming policies and objectives are met. His three main objectives are to strengthen Navajo Gaming and the hospitality economy, return revenue to the Navajo Nation, and provide additional jobs to members of the Navajo Nation.

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“Navajo Gaming has grown to a multi-million-dollar enterprise over the past 15 years. John James brings extensive gaming and management experience and leadership qualities to lead Navajo Gaming. James has been widely recognized as the industry’s ‘best of the best’ for his exceptional strategic and positive impact. He will stimulate continued growth and success for Navajo Gaming as we remain focused on job creation and enhancing the Navajo economy,” Quincy Natay, Chairman of the Navajo Gaming Board of Directors, said.

“I am honored to serve Navajo Gaming’s team and guests under the stewardship of the board and alongside such a strong management team. Our industry is transforming rapidly and there is tremendous opportunity for Navajo Gaming to capitalize on opportunities, elevate guest experiences and solidify our reputation as exceptional destinations where memories are made,” John James said.

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Dominique Dawes

Ocean Casino Resort to Open Olympics-themed Medal Bar

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Ocean Casino Resort announced the opening of Medal Bar: The Summer Games Pop Up Experience, located at 1927 Lounge on the casino floor across from The Gallery. Medal Bar’s opening ceremony will take place on Friday, June 28 hosted by Gold Medal Winning Gymnast, and member of Team USA’s Magnificent Seven, Dominique Dawes.

“We are so excited to embrace this celebratory global event as only Ocean can. From specialty themed cocktails and décor to iconic athletes and gaming activations; Medal Bar will be a must-see destination for our guests this summer,” Kelly Burke, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer for Ocean Casino Resort, said.

Located at 1927 Lounge, Medal Bar will offer an international flair with Americana spirit and a nod to the host country (Paris). Social moments and nostalgia will abound throughout the venue where guests can go for the gold in a myriad of ways including sipping worldly drinks and flights, playing games, cheering on their favorite athlete, and more. The festivities kick off on Friday, June 28 with an appearance by Olympic Gold Medal Winning Gymnast Dominique Dawes and will extend through Labor Day Weekend. Normal operating hours will be Thursday and Friday, 5 pm to 12 am, Saturday, 3 pm to 1 am and Sunday, 5 pm to 12 am. Medal Bar will be open daily from Friday, July 26 through Sunday, August 11 showcasing all of the thrilling events and competitions.

Guests can also celebrate the start of summer with the 3rd annual North Beach Fireworks Spectacular on Friday, June 28 at 9:30 pm. The demonstration, in partnership with Fireworks by Grucci, will showcase a dazzling ocean-front fireworks display presented by North Beach Atlantic City with several viewing locations including The Park and the world-famous Atlantic City Boardwalk. The event will be open to the public.

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idPair Inc

National Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program (NVSEP) to Begin Free Self-Exclusion Assistance in Four US Jurisdictions

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idPair Inc., an award-winning provider of safer gambling technology, announced the upcoming launch of free self-exclusion assistance in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, and Tennessee this August, as part of the first phase of the National Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program (NVSEP). Where states require a notarized form, a free remote online notary will be provided through the NVSEP platform to remove any cost for individuals. Importantly, there will be no changes to the respective state programs or how operators receive and process the self-exclusion information as part of this initiative.

Depending on the state, self-exclusion options will be available for casinos, online sports betting, online casino, online poker, fantasy sports, and/or horseracing. Each jurisdiction has its own unique gambling landscape, and individuals seeking to self-exclude are encouraged to visit www.NVSEP.com/jurisdictions to learn more, including which products and properties have a supported option.

Jonathan Aiwazian, CEO of idPair, said: “For the first time ever, individuals seeking a wider level of protection can self-exclude from multiple states in a streamlined fashion. While today we announce our ability to provide free assistance with self-exclusion in each of these 4 states, more jurisdictions are on the way, as we accelerate toward our goal of removing barriers for people seeking protection across all gambling jurisdictions and products.”

With future phases of NVSEP planning a deeper level of integration and potential to directly connect with the Player Account Management (PAM) systems of gambling operators, gambling regulators can one day ensure that voluntary self-exclusions are instantaneously processed, providing immediate protection for those who opt-in to the program, a major leap in efficiency to the current processing times in some existing programs.

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NVSEP’s announcement of assisting consumers with Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, and Tennessee self-exclusions is the first step in a broader effort to expand responsible gambling measures nationwide.

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