Professional sport is a Big Business worldwide that generates billions of dollars in annual revenues. It should not be surprising that leagues and teams and players are investing in Big Data analytics in an effort to find a competitive edge. Wearable Health Tech devices are playing an increasing role in major sports, not just to increase player fitness but also to identify and even prevent injuries that can be costly to both individual players and their teams.
It is within this context that WHOOP and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) made a landmark announcement last month. The WHOOP Strap 2.0 is a band that measures an athlete’s strain, recover, and sleep data. It can be worn on the wrist, forearm, or upper arm. One important aspect of the system platform is that it is built with 27 layers of privacy, which gives great control over who gets to access the potentially sensitive (and valuable) data. The news is that the Strap 2.0 has been named the “Officially Licensed Recovery Wearable of the NFLPA.” This agreement will affect player wealth in addition to their health. The terms stipulate that the individual players will own their own data, and they can control who gets access to it. The deal also sets up a licensing program to help players commercialize their personal data.
This development goes beyond typical fitness and training issues, and addresses the potentially thorny topic of who owns — and can benefit from — the Big Data information generated by wearable devices. It’s a topic of conversation that we’ll see coming to the fore in the future for all manner of wearable devices.