The Los Angeles Kings Embraced the Metaverse, and the NHL Is Ready to Follow

Steve Huff
Steve Huff is an Editor and Reporter at dot.LA. Steve was previously managing editor for The Metaverse Post and before that deputy digital editor for Maxim magazine. He has written for Inside Hook, Observer and New York Mag. Steve is the author of two official tie-ins books for AMC’s hit “Breaking Bad” prequel, “Better Call Saul.” He’s also a classically-trained tenor and has performed with opera companies and orchestras all over the Eastern U.S. He lives in the greater Boston metro area with his wife, educator Dr. Dana Huff.
An screenshot from Tetavi's metaverse
Courtesy of Youtube

Fans attending the Stanley Cup playoff at Arena in May 2022 might have noticed that the Los Angeles Kings went the extra mile with in-arena videos. Vibrant, 3D images of players plus Kings mascot Bailey the Lion flashed across the massive screens, impressive products of the team’s collaboration with Israeli “deep tech” startup, Tetavi. However, the excitement of the games might have obscured the significance of those videos—they marked the first time an NHL team used volumetric technology to record player footage.

Volumetric technology, according to Tetavi’s website, “brings real humans into the digital world” by creating “the next generation of photorealistic digital content and immersive experiences for the Metaverse and Web3.” This means that even though the Kings ultimately lost the playoffs to the Edmonton Oilers, the team still forged a path for the National Hockey League (NHL) to enter the metaverse. According to an in-depth report by ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, the Kings’ innovative videos are just the beginning of the NHL “just dipping its collective toes in the Metaverse.”

The Kings went with immersive, VR-friendly video, but ESPN reports that around the same time, the St. Louis Blues introduced metaverse shopping. The Blues metaverse experience featured a realistic look inside the team locker room, where fans could browse through team merchandise. In addition, ESPN reports that the NHL is now actively working on new and novel game-watching experiences accessible via an Oculus headset and “believes that's a gateway to further involvement in the Metaverse.”

According to ESPN, the NHL is targeting its younger fans with new metaverse and VR technology. League Executive Vice President of Business Development and Innovation Dave Lehanski told the sports network that the question was, "How do we create an additive experience for kids at the game?"

He added that what the NHL wants to do “is take this experience and add stuff that people never contemplated before.”

Los Angeles Kings President Luc Robitaille agreed but added that for the Kings and perhaps pro hockey in general, “what's important is to try something new and take risks.”

Curiosity about the metaverse—and Web3 in general—isn’t limited to the NHL or the Kings. The Los Angeles Rams opened a “virtual fan house” after winning Super Bowl LVI. In June 2022, Los Angeles Lakers legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson announced that he’d purchased football and basketball franchises in SimWin Sports, the world's most popular digital sports league.

In a press release about his purchase, Johnson said this “multi-billion-dollar business is about to take off.” It’s beginning to look like many decision-makers in pro sports agree with him.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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Rivian Q2 Earnings Are a Much-Needed Nothing Burger

David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

Rivian R1S at a charging station in the desert.
Rivian's Q2 numbers are delightfully boring.

Rivian, the fledgling electric vehicle startup in Irvine, CA, released its Q2 earnings yesterday. I’m happy to report they’re pretty boring! There were no big surprises from RJ Scaringe’s EV hopeful, but here are the report highlights:

  • ~$15 billion of cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash as of June 30 2022.
  • 98,000 net R1 preorders
  • Amazon has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans
  • Rivian has produced 8k vehicles so far
  • The company is still on pace to deliver 25,000 vehicles in 2022
  • -Actual revenue was $364 million.
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