How AI is changing the sports industry

Original article was published by Edurific on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

How AI is changing the sports industry

One of my all-time favorite movies is “Moneyball”. Why? Well, because it is a combination of two of my favorite things — Sports and Statistics. It is a story about an underdog team and their manager who beat the odds of the game with the help of data and statistical analytics. Even after being at a huge disadvantage because of a limited budget and inexperienced players, they managed to make their name in history. With the help of big data and sports analytics, this team managed to be on par with big-league teams by making data-driven strategies. Now, one decade after the release of this movie, the use of Artificial Intelligence and data is more relevant than ever in the sports industry.

The use of Artificial Intelligence in the sports industry has changed the way players play and fans experience the games. So, why is AI being used so predominantly in this field? Anything that is measurable, AI can make it better. The Sports Industry is full of measurable quantities like the run rate, number of goals, bowling speed, etc. Thus, AI has played a positive change in the sports industry by bringing out the best in these quantities. So, if your little Data Master is a lover of sports, this is a great career for them to explore. Let us look at some ways that AI applications are being used in the sports industry.

1) Finding Talent in the sports industry

Human qualities like compassion, empathy, team spirit, smartness, intelligence, etc. cannot be measured. But their performance, technical skills, and knowledge can be measured. Sports like baseball, football, cricket, etc. are using AI to evaluate their players’ capabilities and potential. In this way, people can rank the players and make intelligent choices to form teams based on their strengths and weaknesses. Apart from technical skills, AI can also analyze calmness on the field, behavior in stressful situations, coordination with other players, etc. from the huge historical data, with the help of coding and programming, to form teams that are compatible with each other. It also helps in recruiting new talent from across the globe by just matching a team’s requirements to the attributes of players from across the world.

2) Unbiased and authentic reports

Sports journalism is a very crucial part of the sports industry. It plays a huge role in influencing fans, promoting players, and increasing the excitement before a game. Sports journalism also includes making a detailed report of the events of a game. Oftentimes these reports may be biased due to the preferences of the person making it. They can also be full of errors as it is difficult for a person to observe every minute detail. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning powered automatic reports of games are achieved through computer vision and natural language processing to describe every goal, every home run, every wicket with a detailed description.

3) Chatbox

Many teams and sports industries have developed chat boxes for their fans. These AI-powered chat boxes provide information about the next games, how to book tickets, which teams would be playing, who are the players, etc. One of the advantages of AI is that it can keep working on this experience to be better by continuously looking for new data. Such chat boxes also answer any questions you may have about the game like — “Who won the football world cup last year?” or “Who holds the record for most wickets?” etc. Teams and associations want to develop a better relationship with their fans throughout the year, and thus chat boxes are the new craze.

4) Safety and security

Dangerous sports activities like racing face a lot of criticism for the lack of safety in their game. For them, the safety of their players has been a growing concern. That is where AI has helped them. AI-powered self-driven cars are now being deployed to test the quality of their safety methods, the power of their engines, players’ attire and to get an idea of the racecourses. With hardly any cost or resources, testing can be conducted thoroughly and that too multiple times. Computer vision has also helped to develop enhanced images of sports cars that are often blurry due to the speed of these cars. How does this help? It gives team members the ability to identify and access cars on the racecourses so that they can take immediate action if they find any malfunctions, fire, etc. This can save countless lives and prevent damages.

5) Health and fitness

Often sports associations and team managers have to look after several hundreds of players. They not only have to look after the performance of the team but also have to look after their health and fitness. They have to assess players’ mental and physical health continuously to assure that they are in their best forms. Often dangerous symptoms can slip away from physicians. But AI-powered systems can detect sore muscles, fatigue, mental stress, etc. on a daily basis. This helps players to maintain their health and form, and players to make decisions while forming teams.

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