With a new season kicking off, Major League Baseball (MLB) has finally approved its first professional wearables that they’ll allow on the field this season.
The league has been opposed to wearables for several years. But this year, two products made the roster: The MotusBaseball, which measures arm exertion and stress levels and the Zephyr Bioharness, a suit capable of reading the physiological data of a player.
Teams will not be allowed to analyse this information in real time, according to Sports Techie, instead having to download all the information after the game. The MLB has cited issues with privacy, saying that every player must be allowed to accept or decline checking their information.
It is a small step for the MLB and might lead to even more wearable approvals during the 2016 season. Blast Motion and Diamond Kinetics have already had their swing sensors approved for use in practice games and training, so full approval for use in games could come later.
MLB still ejecting consumer wearables during games
MLB will not allow consumer wearables to be worn during games, so Fitbit, Nike Fuelband, and Jawbone are all still in the dark. We do not know if any of these companies have filed for approval with the MLB.
Compared to other American sports, the MLB is quite far behind when it comes to technology. The NBA has seen a rush in technology, funded primarily by teams like the LA Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, and Sacramento Kings. The NFL partnered with Microsoft in 2012 to make Surface’s the official tablet of the game, and has also started testing new Internet of Things systems on the pitch for better analysis.
While the wearables certainly shows a change in character for the MLB, we expect it to be a slow process from the good old game to using wearables and big data analysis to beat the opponent.