It was not long ago when AI in sports was not something that was talked, not like it was a taboo or something. It was just uncommon for AI to be linked to sports in the past, and by past I mean like a decade or so ago. Sports are a big industry, a different world some might say. The industry is generating billions of dollars in revenue. It has its own crowd, who are passionate for it, maybe a bit too much; it is art, entertainment, hobby, picnic for the spectators. Sports have turned to technology and science to improve it in any way possible, be it players recovery, spectators experience, coaching, strategies and others. Now is making its way into a number of sports industries. There are various application of Artificial Intelligence in professional sports.
AI and its application in sports
1. Chatbots Sports teams are using virtual assistants to respond to fan inquiries across a wide range of topics including live game information, team stats and arena logistics.
2. Computer Vision Researchers are training deep learning neural networks to achieve accuracy beyond humans in the ability to identify specific cars at high speeds which typically produce photographic images with reduced clarity.
3. Automated journalism Media outlets are leveraging AI-driven automation to expand their sports coverage capabilities and increase revenue.
4. Wearable tech Companies are using AI in conjunction with IoT devices to gather data to attempt to optimize training and performance.
The main focus of sports industries and sports media to increase the experience of its spectators, and AI is something everyone is turning to improve the shape and feel of the sport for the people, after all gate revenue has remained the segment gives the most revenue.
Sports using AI applications in sports
When it comes to sports, different sports are using AI in different ways.
1. Boxing and AI wearable tech- PIQ, a French sports robotics start-up and Everlast joined forces to develop what is described as the "first AI-powered wearable for combat sports." Crafted using GAIA Intelligence, (machine learning platform for sports analytics) the start-up claims that the platform is capable of tracking and analyzing "microscopic variations in boxing movements" to help maximize the efficiency of workouts and training. The data that are recorded can also be accessed through a phone app which allows users to track their activity and see how they compare to other users based on a leaderboard.
2. Use of chatbots in NBA/NFL/Cricket-
2.1. Cricket: - Chennai-based AI startup Roanuz Softwares, has just launched a chatbot AI assistant that is programmed to give answers to all your cricket-related queries, in text and voice. It has launched a Cricket Bot API or Application Programme Interface that developers can harness. The virtual assistant has historic data on all major tournaments since 2012.
2.2. NBA: - The chatbots called KAI (Kings Artificial Intelligence) operates through the Facebook Messenger platform for the purpose of answering fan inquiries including info about franchise history, current team stats, the team roster, franchise history and details about the Golden 1Center.
2.3. NFL: - The NHL is also incorporating AI into its customer engagement framework. Thunder Bot" can respond to fans questions regarding various topics including specifics about Amalie arena (Tampa Bay Lightnings home arena), tickets to games and general parking information for game day. Thunder Bot is designed for functionality across multiple Tampa Bay Lightning platforms including the teams official website, the Tampa Bay Lightning text club (text alerts) and NHL and Amalie Arena apps.
3. Computer vision applications: - Argo AI/Ford Motor Company has used deep learning to develop self-driving cars and is now expanding its application of deep learning to help improve safety measures in the world of auto racing. Ford has made a $1 billion investment in Pittsburgh-based Argo AI over the next five years as the company aims toward bringing its first autonomous vehicle to market in 2021. The International Speedway Corporation (ISC), NASCARs parent corporation, reported $661 million in revenue in 2016.
4. Automated sports journalism: - Automated Insights, a North Carolina-based start-up to expand the media outlets coverage of games in Minor League Baseball. Wordsmith is n AI driven platform that translates data from MiLB into narratives, using Natural Language.
AI in sports in its starting stages, it's not so common and advntageous for now, it will take another half a decade for it to help companies stay ahead of the competition.