SBD/February 14, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NBA D-League To Use Sensors Embedded In Jerseys During Games In '14 Season

The NBA D-League will be using biometric sensors embedded in uniforms for the duration of this season, extending a keen interest the NBA already has in player analytics. The sensors, weighing about 1oz each, will be worn by players on their chest or back, and provide a wide range of physical data such as heart rate, distance and speed run, player jumps, fatigue and cardiovascular exertion. About 20 NBA teams already use such monitors in practices, but the D-League effort extends that to a game setting, something no other major U.S. pro league does. It also builds meaningfully upon leaguewide player tracking the NBA implemented earlier this season with Stats LLC’s SportVU product. D-League President Dan Reed said, “We’ve naturally been the research-and-development department of the NBA, and this is another important example of that. This is a perfect complement to player tracking, and give us a wide range of measures on the players’ health and fitness.” Of particular interest with the biometric sensors is providing hard data on injury recovery compared to prior baselines. The use of the sensors will be voluntary, but the Bakersfield Jam and Ft. Wayne Mad Ants are among the earliest adopters, with other teams expected to begin implementation soon. The D-League has a list of pre-approved vendors for the sensors, including Australia-based Catapult, but teams can also submit their own preferred providers for league approval. Biometric measurement opens up a wide range of potential implications for labor relations and individual health privacy rights, and the D-League effort is designed as a test initiative before a potential broader rollout within the NBA, one that would need to be collectively bargained with the NBPA.
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