AI in Sports: Are you ready for Artificial intelligence in Games?

Artificial Intelligence is making ripples in sports.

From football/soccer to Formula 1, Artificial intelligence is being used in Sports to strategize, train, advertise and do much more. In short, AI is significantly impacting the way one view and consumes sports content. 

AI is making a smarter world for sportsmen, advertisers, broadcasters, with real-time statistics. Roland Garros 2019, had IT giant Infosys create a worldwide C-suite audience giving real-time statistics with the impact of increasing engagement by 16%. 

AI is going to change the ways of doing business, and while its influence has been prominent in several industries already, the Sports sector is a new member and a very welcoming one as well.

How is AI impacting sports?

The sporting industry has been using statistics and data analytics since time immemorial. Everything that can be quantified is already measured in sports, making it a fertile ground for the application of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is impacting us everyday and its impact on sports is rather steadfast.  Here are a few places AI is influencing the Sports industry: 

  • AI in improving practice and performance: 

A combination of sensor technology and AI can help improve the techniques of players.
AI in sports training is being used to provide real-time feedback and build personalized training programs for players, hence, improving the effectiveness of each exercise for each individual. 

Predictive analysis by AI can be applied in sports to improve health and fitness. Wearable apps can also provide information about the tear and strain experienced by players, hence, preventing injury to athletes. AI can be used to identify patterns in tactics, strategies, and weaknesses during games. NBA has debuted the Connexion kiosk, which uses AI to analyze a player’s health data to keep the teams informed of injuries and other setbacks. Arccos Caddie, the artificial intelligence-powered platform is literally, the virtual caddie of a player, giving inputs on wind direction, which club to choose? The direction to hit and other important information such as location and etc. 

  • AI is helping the coaches: 

Artificial intelligence is having a huge impact on strategies
before a game and during the game. Decisions about the line up before and during the game is now being influenced by computer analysis. Artificial intelligence can further be used to improve sports performance by understanding different metrics such as spin, speed, and placement of serves, even the position and motion of players.In this respect, AI is assisting managers/coaches in improved decision making for different matches and for key competitions. 

  • AI can deliver enriching experiences: AI can deliver real-time analytics for sports, eg. finding clips of the winning tactics or visual analysis of every player. This helps players and coaches develop counter strategies and have a more immersive experience. For the Roland Garros tournament, Infosys partnered to develop Stats+ which re-orders the statistics in a live match. This live feature is based on the principles of AI/ML to enrich fan and player experience.
  • AI used for better advertising: Artificial intelligence can also be used to identify opportunities to present the most relevant ads according to the demographics of the audience. Brands can get better advertising opportunities based on top moments of the game as identified by AI. Automated learning algorithms monitor players’ actions, spectators’ emotions, and expressions to identify the most exciting moments of the game.  
  • AI used for streaming and broadcasting: With the help of AI platforms, the cameras that are recording the match, broadcasters can pick out highlights which they wish to distribute, completely disrupting monetization of sporting events. It can also provide subtitles for live events according to the language of the location. Artificial intelligence in sports marketing will be used to identify the best camera angles during the match as well as during highlights/replays. AI can also provide information about the statistics to commentators helping commentators run a better live commentary. Grabyo and Opta sports have entered into a partnership agreement for the creation, management, and publishing of real-time video clips to fans at specific events using AI.  
  • Scouting and Recruitment: AI in the sports industry can even be used for understanding the performance of potential recruits. Sports companies can use AI to keep track of performances of different players and these records can be analyzed by the company before deciding to invest in a recruit’s potential. The performance data could be using more complex metrics than open stats (runs, passes made, goals scored, etc.). Big Data and AI in sports management will make the process of recording and measuring the indicators of future success much easier.  
  • AI in refereeing: Refereeing is one of the earliest examples of uses of AI in sports. In cricket, the hawk-eye technology has been used to indicate whether the batsman is out or not in cases of LBW. Technology makes the game fair and law-abiding. NASCAR has adopted AI to streamline the officiating process using cameras to identify racing infractions.
  • AI in sports journalism: Leveraging the power of NLP, AI is able to change the face of journalism altogether. Automated journalism is about to enter the market and sports journalism is already heavily influenced by it. Sports information is being used by AI to write readable information on sports events. Softwares like Wordsmith, are capable of processing sporting events to produce summaries of the major events of the day. 

Future of AI in the Sports industry: Predictions on what to expect in 2020 and beyond 

AI is going to increase the competitiveness in sports by a huge margin. With better sensors, algorithms, it will make better predictions of outcomes of competitions. AI is going to affect advertisers, sports companies, franchise owners, coaches as well as game strategists. With such a wide scope of implementation, it is likely the entire sports industry will be looking to adopt AI to gain a competitive edge over their rivals. 


January 17, 2020 6 months ago

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