Wearables Offer New Type of Athlete-Fan Connection

    • WHOOP is creating new types of athlete-fan connections by publishing athlete biometrics, including during a PGA Tour broadcast.
    • The company is part of the increasingly competitive wearables market.

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Most fans will never have a heart-to-heart conversation with NFL star Patrick Mahomes, but at least they can now compare heart rates.

Mahomes wears a WHOOP bracelet that tracks heart rate, movement, respiratory rate, and other metrics. The company also calculates metrics on sleep quality, recovery, and more. 

On Tuesday, WHOOP released biometric data for the 2020-2021 season on the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, showing that Mahomes spends most games at a heart rate of 150-190 beats per minute — around twice that of the average adult.

WHOOP, which has raised around $200 million to date at a $1.2 billion valuation, is just one of many brands setting a pace in the wearables market.

  • Oura, which sells a ring that tracks health metrics, raised $100 million from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Elysian Park, among others, earlier this month.
  • The Apple Watch is a key part of the tech giant’s push into fitness. 
  • WearOS by Google, working with Samsung, announced upcoming fitness and wellness features with FitBit, which Google bought in January. 

WHOOP includes its bracelet in its app subscriptions, which cost $30 per month, or $288 for an entire year.

In early May, the company partnered with the PGA Tour and NBC’s Golf Channel to show the live heart rates of Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas during the Wells Fargo Championship broadcast. 

“Understanding how these athletes not just train, but sleep and recover and really deal with stress is going to be very intriguing to fans,” WHOOP CEO Will Ahmed told Front Office Sports.