Data Monetization Trend to Bring Revenue in 2021, Deloitte Says

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Leagues and athletes across sports will agree to new data collection and distribution deals in 2021, according to analysts at Deloitte. The information is just too valuable to go uncaptured or unused.

“One of the biggest sources of alternative revenue for U.S. sports organizations in 2021 could be data monetization,” Deloitte’s Technology, Media, and Telecommunications group wrote in its report on “The Hyperquantified Athlete.”

Thus far, data has often been most useful to teams, who have used new metrics for performance tracking, workout customization and injury prevention. However, the boundaries on what teams and leagues ought to have access to, including data collected during off-hours and predictive health elements, remain largely undefined. “I think athletes are going to become more concerned that they are being tracked in ways that maybe don’t have anything to do with their performance and aren’t anybody’s business,” said Jeff Loucks, executive director of Deloitte’s TMT center.

The growing legal betting sector will also be interested in data that can both inform gamblers and create new types of prop bets. Media partners are already using metrics such as player speed as well as positional data to augment their broadcasts.

“I think there’s a desire to start to share the data more broadly,” said Deloitte’s U.S. sports sector lead Pete Giorgio. “It’s complicated, but I do think it’ll benefit all parties.”

COVID-19 has only increased interest in health data, bringing factors like blood oxygen levels into the public consciousness. Leagues have turned to wearables including Kinexon’s SafeZone tags, Whoop’s armband, and Oura’s ring product in an effort to maintain safety protocols amidst the pandemic.

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