SBD/August 13, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Biometric Data Tracking Of MLS Players Could Be Key Issue In CBA Renegotiations

The MLS Players Union is having "reservations about teams moving forward with collection of data" from players like heart rates and other health information, according to Lauren Hepler of the SILICON VALLEY BUSINESS JOURNAL. MLSPU Exec Dir Bob Foose said it should be considered “protected medical information," and he also is "very, very skeptical” of biometric data being used as a negotiating tool for player salaries. As Foose prepares to renegotiate the league's CBA at the end of the season, he "expects wearables to be a major source of debate." Most teams in the big five U.S. pro leagues "have only experimented with wearable technology for a year or two," but MLS is "at the forefront," having teamed with adidas in '12 to offer wearables to every team. Earthquakes assistant trainer Derek Lawrance "tracks how long players exercise with elevated heart rates as they run intense drills," and after practice or at the end of the season, coaches "may probe the data for trends." The "endgame is using data from wearable technology to improve weaknesses in a player's game." Foose said that the Earthquakes have "made it mandatory for players to wear the Adidas wearable devices, but other teams aren’t using them regularly." Meanwhile, Comcast SportsNey Bay Area Senior Exec Producer David Koppett said that broadcasters "aren't yet integrating data from wearable devices, in large part because leagues haven't granted them access." Data from wearable sensors may "provide broadcasters and other third parties, like fantasy sports companies, analytics that could be offered for free or sold to sports fans" (, 8/7).
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