Portugal’s Benfica teams using Genius Sports for AI data tracking

NWSL’s new CBA gives gamers ownership of their biometrics tracked by wearables


Andrew Cohen

The NWSL’s collective bargaining agreement gives players ownership of their biometric data captured by GPS wearables, NWSLPA executive director Meghann Burke said in a recent interview with NBC Sports. Players also have the option to choose whether or not to wear the tracking devices.

“In the CBA, we fought for the right of players to choose whether or not to wear the GPS tracking devices that monitor heart rate, distance traveled and things like that.” Burke told NBC. “So players can choose to wear that and they own that data. This is their data.”

The NWSL started its 10th season on April 29 and it is the first since the league and union signed it first-ever CBA in January. In 2018, US soccer and wearables company STATSports signed a deal worth more than $1.5 billion to distribute its apex GPS tracking devices to NWSL clubs.

“We see the broadcast value of aggregated, non-individually identifiable data being shared as a way to increase fan engagement,” Burke said. “That’s not really the problem. The bigger concern is when [the data] is individually identifiable and who owns that information. So we would say that this data belongs to the players and it should not be shared without their consent.”

Burke also spoke about the need to do more research on women’s health in professional sports. FIFA started a study last year with blood analysis company Orreco to study how different phases of the menstrual cycle affect the performance of female soccer players on the field. The topic was also discussed by Whoop’s VP of Performance Science Kristen Holmes at SportTechie’s State Of The Industry.

“Despite the fact that women have always given birth to children, we still don’t fully understand how a female athlete is supposed to return to professional sports after giving birth,” Burke said. “What’s the plan and how do you make it safe? So you see some references to that in the CBA.”

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