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AWS partners with sports leagues to change how we watch games – TechCrunch

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Since the inception of professional sports, fans have sought statistics about how their favorite teams and players are performing. Until recently, these stats were generated from basic counting, like batting averages, home runs or touchdowns.

Today, sports leagues are looking to learn more about players and find a competitive edge through more advanced stats. Beyond that, they want to engage fans more with tools like AWS NFL’s Next Gen Stats and MLB’s Statcast, software that uses compelling visuals to illustrate statistics like the probability of receiving a catch in the end zone or a runner’s speed between home and first base.

AWS counts Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the German Bundesliga soccer league, NASCAR, Formula 1 racing and Six Countries Rugby among its customers. How, exactly, are advanced cloud technology and machine learning helping change how we watch live sports?

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Rugby in New Zealand Is Back. So Are 35,000 Fans.

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This weekend, rugby union in New Zealand will make its return. And there will be one crucial difference from many of the other leagues that have been resuming play around the world: The stands will be packed with fans.

Some 20,000 fans are expected to be on hand in Dunedin when the Highlanders host the Chiefs, the first Super League game since mid-March. Then, on Sunday, in Auckland, the Blues are expecting 35,000 for their game against the Highlanders.

Covid-19 is almost entirely under control in the New Zealand, thanks in part to an early and strict lockdown. There are currently no active cases in New Zealand, and, in total, there were 1,500 cases in the country and 22 deaths. The country largely opened up its society on Monday, including stores, restaurants and public transportation.

The Blues are doing nothing to discourage fans, and are making every effort to have the biggest crowd possible. Tickets are discounted, children will be admitted free and fans will be allowed on the field after the game.

Should they reach 35,000 fans, as they hope, it would be the biggest crowd at a Blues home game since 2011. That would be “an amazing result and will make for a fantastic atmosphere and a lift for the players,” the Blues’ chief executive, Andrew Hore, told The New Zealand Herald.

The country does continue to have travel restrictions, meaning its five Super Rugby teams, which normally also play against teams from Australia, South Africa, Japan and Argentina, will stick to domestic games for now.

Australian rules football also gets underway this weekend, though Australia is not quite ready for full stadiums yet. But some 2,000 fans will be allowed into the stands for a game between the Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows. Other games will have no fans, including the opener between the Richmond Tigers and the Collingwood Magpies, which under normal conditions would have drawn 80,000 to Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Australia, with a population five times that of New Zealand, has had 7,000 cases and 100 deaths. But its rate of new infections is down to about 20 a day.

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the sports landscape drastically this year. But its effects are also rippling forward, altering events in 2021 and beyond.

Brazil, the spiritual home of soccer, was a candidate to host the women’s World Cup in 2023 for the first time. But citing the economic effects of the virus, Brazil pulled out of the bidding on Monday.

The Brazilian government decided that “due to the scenario of economic and fiscal austerity, fueled by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, it would not be advisable, at this moment” to proceed with a bid, the national federation said in a statement.

Brazil has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, with more than 700,000 cases and 30,000 deaths reported.

The federation also said that because the country had hosted many major events in the recent past, including the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, it might be at a disadvantage in the voting in any case.

Brazil says it now plans to support the bid of Colombia. Japan and a joint bid by Australia and New Zealand are also still in the mix for the event. All the candidates would be first-time hosts.

Unlike other forms of auto racing, which mostly have restarted or are gearing up to do so, the World Rally Championship continues to cancel its events deep into the fall. The latest event to be scrapped is the Wales Rally GB, scheduled to start Oct. 29.

After the first three rallies of the year, the season was halted. For now, just three events remain on the schedule.

One reason rallying is different is that races are frequently run over public roads, making crowd limitation difficult or impossible. Fans are known to cluster in groups right by the action; in the past, that has sometimes led to serious danger to spectators from the speeding cars. Now that danger could possibly include transmission of the coronavirus.

“This isn’t the appropriate time for us to be planning for and promoting an event that brings tens of thousands of visitors, many from outside the country, into rural Welsh communities,” said David Richards, chairman of Motorsport U.K.

The Wales Rally had previously been canceled because of World War II, the Suez Crisis (which led to gas rationing) and foot-and-mouth disease.

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Sports TV listings for Saturday July 4 | Sports

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AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL

11 p.m.: Fox Sports 1, Adelaide at Fremantle (live)

4 a.m. (Sunday): ESPN2, Hawthorn at GWS (live)

8:55 a.m.: ESPN, Formula One, Austrian Grand Prix, qualifying (live)

Noon: WSLS, IndyCar, GMR Grand Prix, at Indianapolis (live)

3 p.m.: WSLS, NASCAR Xfinity Series, Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard,, at Indianapolis (live; prerace show at 2 p.m.)

6 p.m.: NBC Sports Network, IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship, Weathertech 240, at Daytona Beach, Fla. (live)

9 p.m.: CBS Sports Network, World of Outlaws, at New Richmond, Wis. (live)

3 p.m.: ESPN, The Basketball Tournament, Jackson vs. Big X, at Columbus, Ohio (live)

5 p.m.: ESPN, The Basketball Tournament, Stillwater Stars vs. Brotherly Love, at Columbus, Ohio (live)

8 p.m.: ESPN, The Basketball Tournament, War Tampa vs. House of ‘Paign, at Columbus, Ohio (live)

10 p.m.: ESPN, The Basketball Tournament, PrimeTime Players vs. Team CP3, at Columbus, Ohio (live)

1 p.m.: ESPN, ACL Pro Invitational, at Oaks, Penn. (live)

1 p.m.: Golf Channel, PGA Tour, Rocket Mortgage Classic, Third Round, at Detroit (live)

2 p.m.: WDBJ, “Faldo Formula”

2:30 p.m.: WDBJ, “Course Record with Michael Breed” (new)

3 p.m.: WDBJ, PGA Tour, Rocket Mortgage Classic, Third Round, at Detroit (live)

3 p.m.: WSET, “30 for 30: Of Miracles and Men”

9 p.m.: ESPN2, “Miracle on Ice at 40”

10 a.m.: Fox Sports 1, English Oaks and English Derby (live)

1 p.m.: Fox Sports 1, live races

5 p.m.: WSLS, NBC Sports Network, Metropolitan Handicap and Poker Stakes, at Belmont Park (live)

3:55 a.m. (Sunday): ESPN, LG at Samsung (live)

10:30 a.m.: MASN, 1988 Texas-Baltimore game

2 p.m.: MASN, 2011 Washington-Chicago Cubs game

7 p.m.: Fox Sports 1, 1983 Boston-N.Y. Yankees game

7 p.m.: MASN, 2006 Florida-Washington game

10:30 p.m.: MASN, 2013 Chicago White Sox-Baltimore game

Noon: ACC Network, “Unbelievable: Virginia’s Improbable Path to a Title”

1 p.m.: ACC Network, “Serving the Stripes”

1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.: ACC Network, retrospectives of the 2015-19 ACC Tournaments

7 a.m.: SEC Network, “Marty & McGee” (live)

Noon: ESPN, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, at New York (live)

2 p.m.: “CBS Sports Connected,” new special on Black Lives Matter movement

11:30 p.m.: ACC Network, “Three-Day Weekend: Virginia Tech”

9 a.m. to midnight: NBC Sports Washington, six 2017 Eastern Conference quarterfinal games, Washington-Atlanta

4 p.m.: WSET, “Backstory: The Decision”

11:30 p.m.: ESPN2, Super Rugby, Hamilton at Wellington (live)

2 a.m. (Sunday): Fox Sports 1, National Rugby League, Manly-Warringah at Newcastle (live)

4:30 a.m. (Sunday): Fox Sports 1, National Rugby League, Canterbury-Bankstown at South Sydney (live)

7:25 a.m.: NBC Sports Network, Premier League, Brighton & Hove at Norwich City (live)

9:55 a.m.: NBC Sports Network, Premier League, Bournemouth at Manchester United (live)

12:25 p.m.: NBC Sports Network, Premier League, Arsenal at Wolverhampton (live)

1:45 p.m.: ESPN2 German Cup final, Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen, at Berlin (live)

2:55 p.m.: NBC Sports Network, Premier League, Watford at Chelsea (live)

5 p.m.: CBS Sports Network, National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup, Utah vs. Sky Blue, at Herriman, Utah (same-day tape)

5 p.m.: ESPN2, 2020 SheBelieves Cup, Japan-USA

7 p.m.: ESPN2, “Nine for IX: The ’99ers”

Noon: Tennis Channel, Draft Kings All American Team Cup (live)

3 p.m.: Tennis Channel, Ultimate Tennis Showdown (live)

6 p.m.: Tennis Channel, Draft Kings All American Team Cup (live)

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Former Iowa City West prep Mason Koch excited to become rugby pro

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) – Mason Koch was known for playing football when he was at Iowa City West. He also wrestled and played baseball. Then in his sophomore year, he gave up wrestling, but wanted to fill the void. He decided to give rugby a try.

“I knew it was a lot of fun to watch and I knew it was something I’d be pretty decent at,” Koch said. “I definitely fell in love with it right away.”

Koch played rugby his final three years of high school. For college, his original plan was to play football and rugby at Dartmouth. When he arrived on campus, he was recovering from an ACL injury and it was easier making the transition over to rugby. He quickly made the decision to focus solely on rugby.

“I’m happy I did, for sure,” Koch said.

Koch led Dartmouth to four Ivy League championships and was a two-time captain.

His playing career will continue beyond the college level. In early June, Koch was drafted in the first ever professional draft by Major League Rugby. He was one of just 24 players selected in the draft out of 400 applicants. He was selected by the Austin Gilgronis with the 16th overall pick. He was asked if he ever saw himself playing rugby professionally.

“If you had asked me a couple of years ago, I probably would’ve said no,” Koch said. “But thanks to the way it’s growing in the states, it’s a possibility and I’m really happy about it.”

Major League Rugby canceled its 2020 season due to COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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