As first announced by ESPN this morning, WHOOP and the National Football League Players Association have come to terms on a partnership to make WHOOP the Officially Licensed Recovery Wearable of the NFLPA.
The WHOOP Strap 2.0 will be distributed to all incoming and current NFL players beginning at the NFL draft this week. Per the official press release, “This is the first time a players association in professional sports has partnered with a wearable technology company, providing NFL players easy access to, ownership of, and the option to commercialize their health data.”
Last summer, WHOOP and Major League Baseball conducted the largest performance study in professional sports history, leading to WHOOP being approved by MLB for in-game use during the 2017 season. Many NBA players have also started wearing WHOOP in the past year, prompting the league to take a closer look at it’s wearable policy this offseason. Now, WHOOP will have its biggest presence to date in the NFL.
WHOOP is the first partner brought on by the OneTeam Collective, a technology group created to validate companies in the sports industry and help form a mutually beneficial relationship with the NFLPA.
At a sports technology forum hosted in February by the OneTeam Collective at the Harvard University Innovation Lab, former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Matt Hasselbeck said: “Imagine how cool it would be [for the fans watching at home on TV] to see Adam Vinatieri’s heart rate as he lined up for a game-winning kick?”
WHOOP and the NFLPA are creating that future together. This deal lays the foundation for media companies to publicize WHOOP data to fans and in the process empower NFL players to generate revenue for the value of their data.
NFL players will maintain ownership and control of their individual data, while additionally having the opportunity to market it through the NFLPA’s group licensing program. Also as part of the deal, players will have the chance to design their own customized WHOOP bands, both for personal use and for commercial sale.
The NFLPA and WHOOP will use the data in an effort to not only optimize player performance, but also increase their overall level of safety on the field. This will include research on the effects of travel, scheduling, sleep efficiency, injury occurrences and concussions.
In January, Pro-Bowl offensive tackle Russell Okung (then on the Denver Broncos), one of six members of the OneTeam Collective’s Athlete Advisory Board, spoke with Mark J. Burns of SportTechie.com and Sports Illustrated about WHOOP:
“I would overtrain and not necessarily know what my various readiness levels were. It’s a great product. I’m excited to get on the ground floor of that. … They’re going to kill it. WHOOP has really found a way to differentiate itself in the wearable market. … In order to play at an optimal level against another player at their optimal [level], I need every edge I can get. I need to have enough sleep, be well-rested, recovered. … Once you have that important information, you don’t want to go back.”
Last month, Okung signed a four-year, $53-million contract with the Los Angeles Chargers–while charging his WHOOP in the process:
Today was a good day ✍🏾 pic.twitter.com/D3fea6BBYm
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) March 10, 2017
Who knows, maybe at some point in the near future we’ll get to compare his heart-rate data from inking a multi-million-dollar deal to lining up for a fourth-and-goal in the final seconds of a playoff game.
This partnership has the potential to revolutionize the NFL landscape, and may forever change the sports-fan experience. We’ll take a more in-depth look at the possibilities that lie ahead soon on The Locker.