AI To Give Sports Teams Essential Competitive Edge By Boosting Team Efficiency On The Field: GlobalData


By Emmanuel Oluebube, Correspondent UK

AI is the key to getting the most out of the sport industry’s vast stores of data and will allow teams to produce tangible insights, according to GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that data science assisted by machine learning and AI-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) devices are the future of maximizing performance and minimizing risk factors during matches and training

Thematic Analyst at GlobalData, Charlotte Newton comments: “There is now a twelfth player on the team: the data scientist. More elite teams will look to make more calculated hiring decisions off the pitch before making expensive purchases during transfer windows. For example, UK Premier League football team Liverpool FC hired data scientists and began using AI platforms to review team performance in 2019. In 2020, they went on to win the Premier League. Manchester City’s own signing of data scientist Laurie Shaw is another example of a team turning to stats to identify strengths and weaknesses.”

According to the latest report by GlobalData, Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Sport, the pandemic has vastly accelerated the relationship between technology and sport. AI has personalized and improved online content distribution and helped keep track of athletes’ health through wearable tech.

Newton adds: “The pandemic has helped to kickstart an AI revolution in the sport industry. Previously tech-shy leagues and teams are now beginning to see great opportunities in using AI to gain better insights from data.

“Some sports are old hats in data analytics – the famous example being baseball. These sports, also including American football and basketball, lend themselves easily to identifying patterns and churning out stats. Other sports have needed a smarter approach. We are seeing more and more sports across the board beginning to look to AI – machine learning and computer vision in particular – to develop predictive models and sort through the organized chaos that happens on the field.”

While soccer has previously been slow on the AI uptake, it is now topping the leader board in terms of innovation.

Newton continues: “Innovative thinking, plus vast amounts of capital, have afforded elite soccer teams the ability to invest in AI as a means of gaining a competitive edge.”

UK Premier league champions such as Manchester City and Liverpool are ahead of the game. Meanwhile, Burnley FC – another Premier League club – has begun using a mobile app from AiScout that assists in the scouting and training process.

Newton concludes: “AI will not be the silver bullet to fix all issues, nor to guarantee wins. The game will always be determined by skill and chance.  However, what AI will do is give teams that essential competitive edge, maximising performance and minimizing risks. Newfound expertise, coupled with access to this technology, will ensure that AI becomes the newest weapon in a team’s arsenal.”

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