The dramatic growth of artificial intelligence in sport

The dramatic growth of artificial intelligence in sport

The sports scene is an ever-changing landscape due to its nature of blending entertainment with tradition. There isn’t another industry that combines these two areas in a better way. However, due to this success, each respective sport must manage to strive for the strongest technology possible to serve its fans. One area seeing massive growth is Artifical Intelligence (AI).

Teams and leagues across the sporting world have started to use AI to serve their fans in many areas. One of the most simple ways to use AI in sport is through chatbots. They help fans with their experience on a team’s website and social media. These chatbots can be used to service fans for enquiries related to upcoming game information, statistics, and ticket sales. They are a convenient and efficient tool for not only the companies to use, but also for the fan. As a result of chatbots, communication between clubs and fans has significantly improved relations between the two. 

One of the leading teams that have pushed the chatbot service is the of the NBA. This shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise to many because of the Kings’ location relative to where the AI industry is booming. The Kings are located just under two hours away from the tech capital of the US, Silicon Valley.

According to techmergence, the Kings partnered with custom bot developer Sapien to introduce the chatbot KAI (Kings Artificial Intelligence). The service provides fans with a service through Facebook Messenger where they can find information on club history, current team stats, players on the team, the history of the franchise, and information about the Golden 1 Center, the Kings’ new arena.

In addition to chatbots, companies have introduced automated journalism services that allow them to release information immediately. This service has been used greatly by the Associated Press in its coverage of Minor League Baseball. The US news organisation has been using Wordsmith, an AI-driven platform that “translates hard data from MiLB into narratives, using the natural language”. This service allows the general fan of baseball to actually understand advanced statistics of players in Minor League Baseball. Wordsmith’s service has allowed the AP to increase its reporting coverage to 13 leagues and 142 MLB connected clubs. While this service has led to an increase in “reporting”, it reinforces one of the largest problems in modern journalism. There are plenty of qualified sports journalists across the world that are losing their jobs to these services and as a result, raises the question, is true reporting losing its meaning?