Big Data, Big Problems: Analysis of Professional Sports Leagues’ CBAs and Their Handling of Athlete Biometric Data
The use and integration of wearable technology (wearables) into professional sports is increasing rapidly. At a minimum, the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS have all integrated wearables into their training. Teams’ hope the biometric data obtained from the wearables will sharpen athletic performance, create competitive advantages, enhance fan experience, and generate new revenue streams. However, to obtain these desired outcomes leagues must adequately protect their athlete’s biometric data (ABD). The purpose of this paper is to examine and compare the CBAs of the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS management of wearables and ABD. Specifically, this paper will discuss the potential gaps in protection of ABD within the CBA and explore whether federal and state laws are applicable to protect the data. Findings from this analysis improve our understanding of professional sport leagues management of ABD and expose the limitations of protection at the league, state, and federal level.