Taka Grips: The high-performance grip socks making a difference

Taka Grips is a high-performance grip socks company based in Sydney, with the overall aim of improving player performance and comfort on the field.

Liam McConaghy, the founder of the business, explained to Soccerscene that his own personal experiences of discomfort on the pitch inspired him to find a viable solution to issues affecting his game.

“It was actually November last year, so not that long ago, we started back at preseason – I play in NPL NSW and I was signed for St George at the time,” he said.

“What happened was we were training on an artificial turf on a Sunday and it was really hot (it was coming into summer) and my feet were just getting torn to shreds.

“There were just the worst blisters and I could feel the friction inside my boot – so I thought to myself I need to find a fix and investigated what all this grip sock business was about.”

He personally never had owned a pair of grip socks, but was left dismayed by the prices he saw online for the item, which prompted him to try and start his own business.

“I got online to buy some and they were $70 a pair,” McConaghy said.

“So, I guess I just had a thought to myself (about creating the business), it just sort of started off as one of those ideas.”

A PE and Design and Technology teacher by trade, McConaghy used his expertise in these areas to devise his product at a much more affordable price of $30.

“I have got a bit of experience and training with graphic design and that sort of thing, so I had a bit of a play around and contacted some suppliers and manufacturers and eventually, one thing led to another.”

The sock itself is made with durable and lightweight material, however its custom grip placement and advanced technology is specifically beneficial for players looking to improve their change of direction, speed, agility and enhance their comfort.

“The socks have got these little grip pads that are basically pressed into the socks through a high-heat glue gun,” McConaghy said.

“I’ve strategically placed them all over the bottom of the sock in places where you would have the most pressure inside your boot. So for example, around the ball of the foot and the back of the heel – I made sure mine came up the back of the foot, so you wouldn’t get that slippage in the back of your boot where a lot of the blisters happen.

“Essentially what happens is you don’t slide around in your boot, so without any friction in your boot you don’t get blisters and it’s better for your movement.”

Taka Grip Socks – White

Although only recently launching the business, the socks have gathered an immediate following and appreciation from professional football players in the A-League and around the world, in leagues such as the J-League.

“I’ve pretty much been playing NPL1 since I was 14 years old, I used to play with the likes of Massimo Luongo and Aaron Mooy,” McConaghy said.

“So, I’ve got old contacts through playing and reached out to a few people and asked if they’d like to wear them, which they were more than happy to and from there more doors have opened.”

Other professional players from different codes including NRL and AFL have also been using the product, with the socks now entering more sports department stores around Australia.

Social media, particularly the company’s Instagram page, has increased the profile of the grip socks to a wider audience, but possible future partnerships with football clubs and state federations across Australia is a logical next step, according to McConaghy.

“While I have thought about expanding into different clothing down the line, firstly it would be good to be able to get some clubs onboard with Taka Grips through a sponsorship, supplying the whole club from juniors through to first grade,” he said.

In the present however, McConaghy is proud of the work he has done so far and how quickly the product has already grown.

“I am very proud, because it sort of just started out of nowhere,” he said.

“I literally just thought let’s give it a crack, apart from some help from my girlfriend I’ve pretty much done it all myself.

“It makes me proud, especially when I look at the calibre of people who are wearing them.”

For more information on Taka Grips visit their website here: https://www.takagrips.com.au/

 

 

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Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Premier League confirm multi-year deal with VR developer Rezzil

The Premier League confirmed a four-year partnership with virtual reality software developer Rezzil to create a new VR video game.

The Premier League and Rezzil will work together on the development of a VR game, which is expected to be launched later this year. The game will place users on the pitch and in the boots of their favourite Premier League players, offering fans a unique opportunity to recreate iconic Premier League goals and moments from within the perspective of virtual reality.

This will be done by using Rezzil’s software and integrating it directly with Premier League match data allowing clubs to adapt the software to re-create match scenarios and replay them through a VR headset. It also gives the Premier League a way to give broadcasters and the gaming market a chance to get closer to the action on the pitch in a fun and groundbreaking way.

Rezzil is a Manchester-based VR software firm that specialise in the production of sports gaming software for athlete training and game analysis within virtual reality.

Rezzil applications are already being used by many top professional football clubs in both the premier League and around Europe.

Will Brass, the Premier League’s Chief Commercial Officer explained the importance of this innovating partnership for all parties.

“We are excited about the ongoing development of VR technology within football. Rezzil are highly respected in the field and have developed an excellent reputation with training products that are being used by many Premier League clubs alongside leading sports teams and leagues around the world,” he said in a statement.

“The applications for this technology are expanding quickly and this partnership will see the Premier League working with Rezzil on products that can help redefine player, fan and viewer experiences.”

Andy Etches, Co-Founder of Rezzil shared his excitement about partnering with the biggest domestic league in world football

“We are thrilled to embark on this new partnership with the Premier League. By combining our expertise in VR technology with the unparalleled excitement of Premier League football, we are looking forward to supporting the Premier League’s fan and player engagement ambitions. Working hand in hand together, we’re poised to bring VR technology to football in ways never seen before,” he said in a statement.

Premier League will also take an equity stake in Rezzil following this announcement of the partnership. This investment will place Rezzil and the Premier League at the forefront of exciting new developments in VR and XR (Extended Reality) technology.

This is a fantastic partnership that gives fans and broadcasters a closer perspective of the action on the pitch as well as give more clubs a chance to use important technology for team strategy and performance purposes.

It also highlights that there is potential for more exciting and innovative technology in the works that would be of the benefit of all parties and change the way we view and interact with the sport forever.

Genius Sports extend UK betting data deal with FootballCo

Genius Sports has won the bidding war to extend its official betting data partnership with Football DataCo (FDC), which holds data rights to the English Premier League (EPL).

The deal – which is set to expire this year – is close to being extended by an additional five-year term from 2025 to 2029.

With this deal, Genius will continue to collect, license and distribute official live betting data from the English Premier League.

Genius Sports is a UK based sports data company that provides data management, video streaming and integrity services to sports leagues, bookmakers and media companies.

The company was founded in 2016 and very quickly rose to prominence with huge deals in multiple countries across many sports. These include NCAA Basketball, NASCAR and NFL in America on top of their deals with FIBA and Canadian Football League. The company specialise in Football, controlling multiple leagues in the UK as well as the Argentina Superliga and all three German Football divisions.

Genius Sports in collaboration with FDC will continue to take over data in all FDC-licenced leagues such as the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as all leagues overseen by the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), including the Scottish Premiership.

This new deal will see Genius Sports continue to distribute data from over 4,000 UK football fixtures per season in both the media and betting sectors.

Opta currently also have a partnership with Football DataCo, and they deal with distributing data to league media teams to use but they don’t delve in the betting market like Genius does.

In 2023, Genius Data saw a 31.1% rise in revenue in their Betting Technology, Content & Services segment which was responsible for over AU$418.8 mil in total revenue.

The sports data and technology business said the deal is still subject to approval from the leagues and their respective clubs.

Whilst the gambling data distribution has moral implications in itself, this deal isn’t all negative for viewers, with Genius also continuing to work hand in hand with Premier League Productions to enhance live broadcasts for fans with a range of interesting analytics that will heighten the overall viewing experience.

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