The NFLPA, the players’ association of American football’s premier NFL, has bought a stake in Sports Data Labs, a human data collection, analysis, and distribution company.

The deal was first reported by Sportico before being confirmed by Sports Data Labs, which lists the NFLPA as a strategic partner on its website, and the Aser Ventures global investment company that has an interest in it.

Aser describes it as a “landmark” and “first-of-its-kind” partnership aimed at revolutionizing monetization opportunities for NFL players.

Sports Data Labs will collect data via on-body sensors and other sensing systems to then license or distribute for a variety of purposes.

These will include explicitly commercial uses like fantasy sports, gaming, non-fungible tokens, and fan engagement products and services but also uses that will benefit players, such as new insights for improving their health and safety and supporting medical research.

This sort of agreement was made possible by the collective bargaining agreement that was agreed by the NFLPA and the NFL in 2020, which paved the way for more monetization opportunities for players.

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As part of the deal, Sean Sansiveri, general counsel and head of business affairs for NFL Players Inc., will join SD Labs as a board observer.

While the full details of the agreement have not been released, whether or not players participate is reportedly optional and payments will apparently be made via a royalty structure.

Said to be non-exclusive, it allows for other deals in related areas to also be struck, with Sportico reporting that NFL Players Inc. is also in talks with analytics company BreakAway Data and wearable tech company Whoop and Zebra Technologies.

Sports Data Labs describes itself as “uniquely positioned to tackle the technical, operational, and monetization challenges related to the capture, analysis, and distribution of real-time human data.”

The company was founded in 2015 and is based in San Francisco. It is said to have raised a total of $4 million in funding, according to the business information platform Crunchbase.

Mark Gorski, co-founder and chief executive of Sports Data Labs, said: “We are honored to become a long-term partner of the NFLPA to help create entirely new value for NFL players.

"The NFLPA is the preeminent players association that has pioneered the protection and monetization of athlete-based intellectual property. We are excited to support the NFLPA’s mission to promote and advance the economic opportunities for NFL players through the use and commercialization of their performance data.”

Sansiveri added: “Our partnership with Sports Data Labs is a big step we’re taking to empower NFL players to monetize their own performance data.

“Sports Data Labs is a pioneer in creating new commercial opportunities for player performance data, with industry-leading expertise in collecting and distributing data on behalf of other global sports properties. We are thrilled to partner with them and unlock new value for our players.”