Will NFL Players Begin Wearing Tech on Uniforms?

The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) stated that its newly unveiled business accelerator has entered into an agreement with Whoop Inc., which will provide players with fitness tracking devices that they can wear. Notably, the deals allows players to retain ownership of the data they collect.

As background, OneTeam Collective, a business incubator launched by the players union in December to help emerging sports-related companies grow by leveraging the licensing rights and advice of pro athletes. According to the NFLPA, the deal ensures that all NFL players, whether current or incoming, will receive a device to track their strain, recovery and sleep. Subsequently, the data will then be transmitted to Whoop’s web-based apps.

Under the agreement, NFL players are presented with the opportunity to design custom licensed bands for the Whoop devices, which can be used for both personal use and commercial sale. Also, according to the NFLPA, the players will be able to commercialize and control all the data collected by the sensors. President of union marketing arm NFL Players Inc., Ahmad Nassar, stated that the partnership will assist athletes to cash in on wearable technology.

According to Nassar, “[e]very day, NFL players produce data that can translate into physiological and financial opportunities. We see partnering with Whoop as the first step in harnessing this exciting technology.” He continued, “[t]ogether, we’re paving the way towards a new frontier where athletes are empowered by data.”

Not only will this agreement provide opportunities for players to commercialize and profit off this technology, but also, the agreement provides for uses of the devices to study the effects of travel, sleep, scheduling and injuries on athletes’ recovery time. Thus, this attempts to improve player safety and performance. Pursuant to the agreement, the teams may access their own dashboard for collected data, encompassing over two dozen levels of privacy.

Will Ahmed, Whoop’s founder and CEO, stated that the company seeks to empower athletes, which will be more obtainable now with its partnership with the union. As Ahmed stated, “[t]his partnership with the NFLPA is truly the first of its kind in that athletes will finally become both healthier and wealthier by collecting, controlling, and ultimately having the ability to sell their own health and performance data. . . We applaud the NFLPA’s vision and share its commitment to work with athletes to better monitor their recovery and enable longer careers.”

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