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How AI will change the way sports is played

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By Anto Binish Kaspar, Founder & CEO, Roanuz Softwares Pvt Ltd

Artificial Intelligence has impacted our lives in more ways than we can imagine. Like most sectors in India, the sports sector has also been significantly influenced by Artificial Intelligence, especially when it comes to fantasy sports. Looking at the on going pace at which AI is transforming sectors, the fantasy sports technology sector will soon be dominated by AI. Five years ago AI in sports technology was a rarity, but today, AI and machine learning are making headway into the sector through chatbots.

The application of AI will not only help develop a more intuitive and interactive platform for sports lovers, but also open up new avenues for game developers and the sports technology start up sector in the country. AI will benefit the sports sector overall, and a few areas where AI will be deployed are listed below.

1. Scouting and recruitment
AI will help the scouting and recruitment team in selecting players for their respective teams. The data will help in analysing whether the player would be a fit for the team in that particular country and would he/she adapts to the climate, cope with the speed of play and blend with the current team players. Such detailed analysis would help the scouting and recruitment team to pick the best talent.

2. Training and Performance analysis
AI will help the team to instruct players to train in a particular way based on the need of the hour. Such training methods will help coaches to select appropriate players for a particular match. Further, AI will help the coaches to do a post-match performance analysis for the team as well as individual players. This analysis will make the team aware of their weaknesses and help them work towards delivering an effective performance.

3. Fitness and health safety
AI helps the organization to analyse the condition of the players before the match and ensure their fitness. It helps them to be cautious in terms of fitness and take necessary precautionary measures to prevent them from getting injured. This crucial role could make this feature one of most sought after areas of AI application in sports.

4. AI assistance coach
Picture a powerful AI application “informing” the coach in real-time during a game on the best matchups, measuring and predicting player contribution and dynamically altering game plans based on what is happening on the field. This is very different from analysing numerous data sets and then the coach (es) making a decision. Here a machine run on AI is making the decision and the coach (es) validate, communicate and enforce the decision.

5. Chatbots and Smart assistance
Most sports use virtual assistants to respond to fan inquiries across topics including live gaming, team statistics, parking ticket, seat allotment etc. This technology is improving steadily and in the near future the user experience would be seamless, interactive and informative.

6. Video highlights
Under this users would get video highlights, especially curated through AI technology by analysing game-specific data such as crowd noise, scoreboard, etc. There are a couple of international tech giants already working on the technology and betting big on it too.

7. AI wearable devices to analyse player’s condition during the game
AI wearable devices would help the coaches to analyse the player’s condition during play time itself, such as stamina and performance to help decide on player substitution. This technology would also help coaches to directly communicate with the players.

8. Virtual umpiring
VAR (Video Assistant Referees) and DRS (Decision Review System) applications are already available in the sports sector. Significant as they may be, they are also quite time-consuming. Gradually AI technology will lead to days when umpires would have a device to instantly assist them on whether they are making the right decision or not. This innovation would lead to a more fair play scenario and minimise controversies over wrong umpire judgements.

In the sports sector AI is still in its nascent stage, and will take a couple more years for the application of AI to become imperative in the sports industry. AI will offer clear advantages of its usage in terms of precision, decision-making, data tracking and the likes. It would become so essential that it would be widely used in game grounds and stadiums. With AI, there’s a sea of new inventions and innovations awaiting sports fans which will only deepen their love for sports and make them feel more connected to their favourite teams and players.

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]


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