Sue Bird is busy these days trying to lead the Seattle Storm to its fifth WNBA championship and pursue its fifth Olympic gold medal as a member of Team USA. On the way there, the basketball great tosses their support behind another piece of tech and pitch for a smart home fitness trainer Tonal and invest in the startup.
A new 30-second ad from the brand (above) will air ahead of the Tokyo Olympics opening on Friday. Bird is shown training on Tonal’s digital weight system, and in a voice-over he says, “I’ve redefined my position and what a champion looks like. How can I change the game permanently? By raising the bar even higher. “
As a brand ambassador for San Francisco-based Tonal, Bird also supports the company, which raised $ 250 million in a funding round earlier this year and surpassed unicorn status of $ 1 billion in valuation. Other athlete supporters include New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald; Tennis professional Maria Sharapova; and boxer Mike Tyson.
TechCrunch reported that Tonal, like other home fitness equipment manufacturers, saw an explosion in demand and sales during the pandemic and is now spending a lot of money on marketing and brand awareness.
Bird, who is the oldest player in the WNBA at 40, previously told GeekWire that the revolution in sports technology that is helping athletes train and recover better is a major reason for their longevity. She played 17 seasons on The Storm.
“If it helps you, if it extends your career, you’re an idiot, if you don’t use it, why shouldn’t you use it?” Bird said about sports technology in 2017.
She called Tonal one of the best fitness machines she’s ever used.
“I was immediately impressed with the technology’s ability to challenge myself and take me to the next level with my strength training,” said Bird. “I’m excited to be a user, investor and partner of a brand that I believe is pushing the boundaries of what is possible in performance training.”
bird previously invested at Seattle-based startup Vermouth, the makers of a friend-based review app that was acquired by Valor Worldwide in February 2020. She also supported basketball training technology company Shoot 360 in a $ 2.25 million round in April and is an investor in an artificial intelligence company Diving plane.
Aside from unveiling the new ad, Bird was too called this week as the flag bearer for the opening ceremony of the Games in Tokyo.