Slinger, the maker of tennis ball launcher Slinger Bag, has announced today that it is acquiring PlaySight in a $82 million deal. This follows on from its earlier acquisitions of GAMEFACE.AI and Foundation Tennis.
At first glance the buying spree may seem a bit strange. Particularly this latest transaction. A tennis ball launcher company purchases PlaySight – an outfit into AI video technology.
But Slinger has very lofty ambitions. These go far beyond a simple device that spits balls in your direction on the tennis court.
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We wrote back in June that the outfit is currently developing an app. The software is in development and Slinger has recently asked interested users to register as Beta testers. The app analyzes your technique, offers drills and more. When you take that into consideration, the recent acquisitions make much more sense.
We’ve tested lots of tennis gear over the years and Slinger Bag is right up there with the best of them. It takes the shape of an oversized tennis bag. As far as ball launchers go, you’ll struggle to find a smaller one with the same type of functionality – at that price. The only real competition is the Proton Ball Launcher. That one has recently become available but it is much more expensive.
In our review last year, we found that Slinger Bag delivers what it promises. An opponent that slings balls in your direction with consistency and decent pace. You can control the speed, angle and more. There’s clearly a lot to like.
The upcoming app should bring an entirely new element to Slinger Bag. The software will provide drills and there will be functionality that analyzes your technique. Basically, you will be able to capture a video on the court and the AI will identify elements that should be improved. You’ll even be able to benchmark yourself against other players.
No doubt, PlaySight’s knowhow in the areas of video technology, data capture, high performance analytics and automated video production will help to make the app truly useful. Something that has the ability to up your tennis game. PlaySight has lots of experience in this area. Its SmartCourt tennis platform has been used for years by athletes, coaches across different sports. Which is complimentary to Slinger’s ambition to move beyond tennis.
Slinger says its ultimate aim is to develop a “full suite of ‘Watch, Play and Learn’ solutions”. Which is all great news. Unless, of course, you are a tennis coach! Those of us who own the Slinger Bag are anxiously anticipating the new smartphone capabilities.
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