The ownership and commercialization of biometric data collected by player tracking devices remains a critical topic in collective bargaining taking place across all sports. Carsten Koerl, CEO of sports data giant Sportradar, is following these discussions as his company eventually hopes to distribute player data from wearable devices to sportsbooks for fans to consume before placing bets.
“The problem is the rights of the players and how to share the revenue,” Koerl told SportTechie. “Wearables are a valid source of data points. But he is unfortunately for the moment, a little distracted by these discussions. I say, ‘Hey, it’s a huge market, let’s work together.’ I’m sure two years from now we’ll be laughing at this discussion.
Sportradar has data distribution partnerships with leagues and federations such as the NBANHL, MLB, NASCAR, UEFA, FIFA and ICC. Koerl spoke with a commissioner from a Sportradar partner league who has pledged to share data ownership with his players.
“Players use it in training, it’s something they use to hone their skills – to recognize when they’re exhausted. But there are still privacy issues, so we need to look at what it will mean at the future,” NBPA chief Tamika Tremaglio said of player tracking data in April.
“You can see exactly – was this player in the club the night before or not?” Koerl adds. “I understand that players are afraid of this kind of information. We can always limit that and say that there are things that are entertainment products and things that we only want to give to teams and coaches. because they contain sensitive and personalized information. It’s a balance that we have to find.
Koerl also specifically mentioned the “brilliant” performance data tracked in football by wedge-mounted sensors of players. The ABC for the National Women’s Soccer League has quite a “Physiological Data” and states that the data is “player likeness”, giving players ownership of their data.
“Performance data is data related to the movement of the player, including distance, speed, acceleration, deceleration, change of direction and any derived information”, reads the NWSL CBA. “Biometric data is data or information collected regarding the player’s biological data, including but not limited to heart rate, heart rate variability, skin temperature, blood oxygen, hydration, lactate, glucose, willingness to play, or any information derived therefrom. Individually identifiable biometric data, performance and test results are not to be publicly released or shared with any third party unless the player agrees.”