EuroLeague Expands Partnership With Tech Firm HEED
Technology company HEED first partnered with the EuroLeague in '18, as its cameras and microphones measured the energy and movement of players throughout last year's EuroLeague playoffs. The scope of the partnership recently expanded significantly after the EuroLeague Players Association voted to support EuroLeague players wearing sensor-equipped smart shirts for HEED during live games. Under a multi-year agreement, the majority of EuroLeague players across all teams are expected to wear the sensors, which are imbedded into athletic compression shirts that will be worn beneath the players' jerseys.
"Most of the players are familiar with HEED and the way its technology helps to engage fans," EuroLeague Players Association Managing Dir Bostjan Nachbar said. "When HEED’s partnership with the league continued and evolved this season, the ELPA wanted to formally endorse this unique way to reach fans with innovative content and experiences. The players understand the role that technology plays in young fans’ lives and the value in engaging with them on that level."
Nachbar, a first-round pick of the NBA Houston Rockets in '02, retired in '18 after a long career with several NBA and European clubs. He said that there was not much resistance from the players when they were asked about using HEED technology on a more regular basis.
"It helps that the HEED technology is used exclusively for fan engagement," he said. "HEED uses the data to interpret exciting moments happening on the court, not to evaluate performance, conditioning, or other more sensitive data. The point is to deepen the connection that fans have to the live games, from wherever they are in the world, right on their mobile phones. The players understand the benefit of that and they fully support it."
He added that the smart shirts "are not bulky or invasive, but are still constantly being improved based on players’ inputs."
'A BIG STATEMENT': HEED CEO Danna Rabin expressed optimism about what the deal will mean for the tech company's future.
"This is a big statement not only for HEED, but also for the mission of the EuroLeague and where the industry is heading," she said.
She added that HEED is hoping to sign similar deals with other leagues that share EuroLeague's desire to make advances in fan engagement.
"We are not stopping there," Rabin said. "We are looking to partner with more leagues and clubs that want to innovate, reach new audiences and create new engagement."