Wearables Connecting Athletes to Fans

    • Wearable makers like WHOOP, STATSports, Oura, and Catapult are appealing to both athletes and fans, and sometimes connecting them.
    • Facebook, Apple, and Google have also gotten in on fitness-focused wearables.

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Facebook is working on a watch with a heart-rate monitor, making it just the latest company seeking a piece of the flourishing wearables market.

Wearables, which have become popular with the world’s top athletes, produce a wellspring of data that companies can leverage in any number of ways.

STATSports, which uses GPS technology to track the movement of its wearers, is now being used by Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, and the Miami Dolphins, providing player data to coaches through tablet and watch apps. 

  • In 2018, STATSports signed a $1.42 billion, five-year deal with the U.S. Soccer Federation that will provide the company’s devices to players at every level.
  • STATSports and Catapult, which works with teams in the Bundesliga and MLS, let users compare their biometrics to those of top athletes.

Oura has raised around $100 million with rings that have attracted attention from athletes in the NBA, WNBA, NASCAR, and UFC. Patrick Mahomes is an investor in WHOOP, which has raised around $200 million.

WHOOP has also worked its data into broadcasts. Viewers of the PGA Tour were able to see the live heart rates of Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas.

The startups will have to compete with the likes of Facebook, Google (which bought Fitbit in January) and Apple (which is preparing a rugged alternative to its watch).

The sports analytics market, which includes on-field health assessments, is projected to grow to $4.6 billion by 2025.