Wearable tech being allowed in NBA games is inching closer to becoming a reality. According to league sources, the NBA players union will be meeting on Tuesday with Whoop, a wearable tech company that recently made headlines after Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Matthew Dellavedova illegally wore its biotracker wristband in games during almost all of March. On March 31, the league office was made aware of Dellavedova’s wristband and informed the Cavs that Dellavedova could not wear the banned device in games. The team, nor Dellavedova, received a fine or suspension; Dellavedova has since stopped wearing it.
On Monday, Whoop’s co-founder and CEO Will Ahmed would not confirm the upcoming meeting with the union, but issued a statement to ESPN regarding the legality of its device in American professional sports leagues. “We respect the privacy of all our clients and won’t speak to our relationships with them. I think continuous monitoring is a new category that the leagues are right to carefully explore. At Whoop, we strive to empower athletes continuously. Monitoring strain during games is one piece of that equation and we look forward to working with all the professional leagues to empower athletes to better understand their bodies. To be clear, Whoop is a valuable asset independent of in game wear because of our activity, sleep and recovery analysis. But let’s not deprive athletes of in game analysis. It’s their careers at stake and data is not steroids.”
ESPN today announced it will debut ‘ESPN Virtual 3’ – an innovative technology which illuminates the 3-point line for every 3-point shot attempt – on Saturday, Jan. 30, for the second edition of NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC. The Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James will host the San Antonio Spurs and LaMarcus Aldridge at 8:30 p.m. ET. The technology will be utilized for all NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC broadcasts this season.
Tim Corrigan, senior coordinating producer, NBA on ESPN: “ESPN Virtual 3’ will provide a subtle, yet impactful new way to enjoy an element of an NBA game. It will give viewers instant clarity on whether a three-point shot has been attempted, which hasn’t been consistently evident during a live telecast.”
During this year’s NBA Finals, the league says it saw 336 million video views on NBA.com and the NBA mobile app, as well as 98 million views on Facebook. Those numbers are growing, and the league sees a massive opportunity in creating more content for fans looking for highlights from not just superstars like Curry, but from any player in any game. To accomplish that, the league is collaborating with Israeli company WSC Sports to do what human curation can’t. The tech is called AVGEN, and starting today it’ll allow NBA teams and media outlets to automatically create highlights in near-real time.