Under Armour joins sports-community race with $150M MapMyFitness buy

Today’s news that sports apparel giant Under Armour has bought sports community concern MapMyFitness for $150 million is just more proof that the big brands will be driving the bus in the race between sports social networks.

MapMyFitness, one of the more popular activity stat-recording and sharing site businesses, better known through its MapMyRun and MapMyRide services, will now have a deep-pocketed parent to help it compete against players like Nike and its FuelBand, Jawbone and Fitbit, and newcomers like Adidas. Then there are software-only or web-only players like Strava.com who are all angling for a part of the new, popular field of athletic and everyday biometrics.

What will be really interesting is if the biometric information from pro athletes becomes more readily available to fans — the Tour de France does an interesting job recently with showing wattage and other exertion information while cyclists are out on the road. Why not have heart rate or calorie-burning levels for marathoners, or basketball players? Recorded stats so you can compare your workouts to LeBron James? It will be interesting to see where the biometrics and social data sharing ends up, now that the big marketing dollars are taking over.

Major League Soccer, Adidas bring Tracking Technology to Uniforms

MLS All Star Logo

I missed the MLS all start game a few days back that pitted the best that Major League Soccer had to offer against visiting Chelsea Football Club, winners of the UEFA Champions League, a game that the MLS won on a deflected goal.

While the win was a nice boost for MLS I just have a hard time getting all that excited about all star matches, in any sport, but in looking back at some of the news from the match one item caught my eye and this is something that will likely spread to other sports.

It seems that Adidas, one of MLS’ most important backers, used a data tracking technology that is embedded in the uniforms that all of the MLS players wore during the match. The league has said that next season the technology will be used by all of the teams in the league.

Apparently Adidas started developing the technology several years ago, and since it also supplies MLS with uniforms and shoes, it will be a pretty easy feat to incorporate the technology for the season. The technology monitors a variety of player metrics, according to a piece in the Portland Business Journal.

The technology, called the “micoach professional team tracking system” is designed to give coaches and trainers the ability to monitor player position, power output, speed, distance covered, intensity of play, acceleration and GPS heat mapping.


It uses a small data cell that is embedded in the back of a uniform and is designed to rest between a players shoulder blades. It has the ability to wirelessly transmit 200 pieces of data a second, enabling a coach to have a real time outlook on a players effort and performance.

The MLS is expected to make at least some of the data streams available for fans to follow live at a game. I wonder if rivals can hack into a team’s stream to track which layers are lagging and so focus a team’s efforts against said player?

The ability to track athletic performance has been growing, with runners, bikers and a host of others getting anything from Nike + to smartphone-based apps to help monitor and improve performance but this is the first I have seen at a pro level. I hope that the league shares its results at the end of the year to find out what if anything, the data helped improve.