Using Artificial Intelligence in Sport and Athletics

Sports have been a part of human culture for centuries. They’re more than just a way to stay fit and active for most people. The right sporting experience can also be a cultural event, a way to bond communities, and an opportunity to accomplish amazing things.
AI offers a way to enhance the athletic performance of some of the most talented people in the world, with customized training, improved insights into the game, and even better result tracking. For years now, sporting professionals have been spending more time and effort exploring the potential of AI in sports, for everything from scouting and recruitment to performance analysis.
As we move forward into an environment where AI is a commonplace part of our day-to-day lives, there’s no doubt we’ll continue to see more intelligence in our athletic games.

How AI Enhances the Sporting World

Reports suggest that the global market for artificial intelligence in sport will reach around $3.3 billion by the year 2026. This demonstrates a CAGR of around 33%, making sports one of the fastest-growing industries for AI investment.

AI in sports is quickly emerging as a tool not just for the betterment of our athletes and teams, but also as a solution for improving the media and fan experience surrounding sporting events. Many leading sports teams among the NBA and NHL area already using virtual assistants to respond to fan inquiries, while simultaneously collecting data about customer preference.
Some media producers are even using AI solutions as a method of automatically capturing the highlights of various games, so they can home in on some of the most incredible moments from any athletic performance.
Here are some more examples of how AI is changing the sporting space.

Intelligent recruiting
Finding the next sporting superstars isn’t easy. Although human professionals can watch games and examine the technical and professional skill of each player, it’s difficult to ensure absolute objectivity when deciding who should be approached by a team manager or leader. The AI world can overcome this issue. When designed to be as bias-free as possible, AI solutions can use historical data to compare the performance of a sports professional to previous markers of success.
An AI system could help managers and sports team leaders to identify the next potential star in their field, so they can reach out to that person and start training as quickly as possible.
While it will be crucial to take additional steps to ensure bias-free recruiting in this landscape, an AI system may make it easier for teams to sort through hundreds of recordings of different games and professionals, to decide who should be drafted next.

Improved training and performance analysis
Perhaps one of the most compelling areas for AI in the sports space, intelligence has the power to improve the way we train and support today’s teams. With insightful artificial intelligence, it’s possible to define minute changes which could make huge improvements to a person’s performance. For instance, a tracking sensor on a person’s wrist combined with AI can help to pinpoint the best possible heart rate for a person to achieve peak performance.
AI platforms and wearable sensors can measure all kinds of different metrics which might contribute to the outcomes of a game or event. At the same time, these tools can even examine the tactics and skills of competing teams, to provide insights into how professional athletes might be able to outshine their rivals. Although not all of the aspects of performance in sports are able to be quantified at present, the AI landscape does allow for deeper insights.
In some situations, AI solutions could even improve the safety of various sporting environments, by examining environments for any unnecessary risks before an athlete is allowed to compete. Many leading teams are already using wearables to track play movements, and ensure they remain safe when on the field.

Broadcasting and streaming
Sports accounts for a huge portion of the entertainment and media landscape. There are countless broadcasts running around the world at any moment, to millions of avid fans. Leveraging artificial intelligence could make it easier to deliver a better-quality broadcast to today’s viewers. Based on the events on the field or in a specific competition, AI systems can automatically choose the correct camera angle for displaying on viewer screens.
Broadcasting technology makes it quick and easy to provide subtitles for live events in different languages, based on the viewer’s language preference and location. Artificial intelligence system may even be a valuable method of identifying the right opportunities for presenting ads based on crowd excitement levels in arenas.
As entertainment opportunities continue to evolve, AI could even pave the way for entertainment opportunities in augmented and virtual reality environments. Already, virtual reality games are being enhanced with access to AI technology.

Sports Journalism
While AI may not be able to take over the creative elements of journalism yet, it can at least collect information about importing sporting events to keep people updated in real-time. Digital systems can automatically update scores, and even deliver helpful snippets of information about a competition in real-time, so people unable to watch the event can stay up to date.
Sports journalism enhanced by AI will also allow for the better management and use of data in the future of athletics. The more information we can collect and record at a rapid scale, the easier it will be to learn more about our sporting abilities as human beings. Already, companies are beginning to experiment with ideas like tools capable of predicting the outcome of certain matches.
Technology like this starts by being able to capture and record information at speed.
As sporting and athletic environments continue to evolve, AI will play an essential role in the future of how we enjoy competitions, train for events, and even understand our favorite athletes. From improving sports safety to boosting performance, there’s incredible potential for AI in sports.