Artificial Intelligence And The Future of Sports: PART 1
Two-Part Series on AI in Sports
According to Forbes, the sports industry in North America is expected to reach $73.5 billion in net worth by 2019. Television coverage and streaming rights have set records each time league deals are up for renewal, creating bidding wars between networks for the last programming to assure live viewers.
And now Silicon Valley’s tech giants have peaked their interest in sports — not only in media coverage but for finding ways to incorporate their technology. Over two articles, we’ll cover ways artificial intelligence tech, in particular, is impacting sports now and in the future.
Performance Coaching and Wearable Technology
Wearable technology — like FitBit, Apple Watch, and others — is so pervasive that almost anyone can access data on their activity levels, heart rate, nutrition, and other health statistics. Just image how helpful this data can be for athlete performance.
Wearable tech is used by most teams as they practice, to track biometrics, sleep patterns, diet, workout levels, and overall fitness. Some wearables are even used during games, for use in post-game performance analysis.
Smart sensors and software can track body movement in real-time, allowing AI and human coaches to improve performance. In sports like baseball and golf, this means athletes can find imperfections in their swings. For runners, their stride can be analyzed for inefficient movement.
Improving the Fan Experience
The NFL’s New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers are using AI technology to enhance game experiences for their most loyal fans. Leveraging the same technology as TSA Pre✓ to streamline security checks, fans can use expedited lanes to enter the stadium.
They also plan to use the tech’s biological identifiers, like retina or fingerprint scans, to supplement their fan rewards programs. Season ticket holders or super fans can earn points for certain game day activities and potentially allow cashless or contactless payments for food and souvenirs.
By partnering AI with virtual reality and augmented reality, fans could become the producer of their own game experience. While at the stadium, fans will be able to select a view from multiple camera angles, immersing themselves in the action. Other AI tech from Intel could make it possible for fans to create 3D highlights while at an event and share them with others.
In tennis, one legendary event applies AI more simply. At England’s Wimbledon, an interactive app called “Ask Fred” allows fans to get answers on event logistics and history.
What the Future Holds
And these solutions are just the beginning. With the investments made in sports and the public’s desire for more technologically-enriched experiences, we’re sure to see more applications of artificial intelligence in the future.