AI in Sports: How is AI Reshaping the Sports Industry?

artificial intelligence (ai) in sports

Modern artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have the potential to provide immense value for virtually every industry, and AI in sports is no exception, where spending is expected to reach $19.2 billion by 2030.

Today, discussions surrounding AI in sports app development can include a number of technologies from modern generative AI (GenAI) services like large language models (LLMs) such as the popular ChatGPT, among many other, more subtle technologies.

A broad swathe of existing and established technologies will help providers bring new conveniences, insights, and raw capabilities to the industry. Here, we will cover some of the most valuable uses of AI in sports we’re expecting to see over the next decade.

Artificial Intelligence in Sports: Technologies That Will Reshape the Industry

There are several ways AI can help enhance existing practices and unlock new capabilities for those in the sports world. Let’s look at a few of the most exciting ways to apply AI in sports.

LLMs Will Lend Themselves to Improving Multiple Technologies

ChatGPT, BARD, Claude, and others provide much more utility than simply allowing users to create content quickly from curated prompts. While we’re already seeing these technologies in use by reporters and analysts to assist with content creation, the impact of this type of artificial intelligence in the sports industry will extend beyond just news and media.

The Chinese National Diving uses the ERNIE Bot from Baidu to tackle several tasks using data from a handful of sources to analyze and ultimately enhance training effectiveness.

LLMs can ingest vast volumes of sports data to generate human-readable commentary, including player stats, injury reports, medical information, raw training data, and more. This can supply coaches and trainers with unprecedented insights that help uncover blind spots and easily work applicable insights into training and live performance reports.

Imagine an LLM analyzing an athlete's performance data, medical history, and information extracted from training footage to generate a highly individualized training plan, constantly adapting to progress and adjusting for injury risk. Such an application of AI in sports can further lend itself to creating or altering game strategies, identifying weaknesses in opponents, and suggesting optimal actions based on assessed data.

Other uses will be realized in areas like sportscasting, assisting with media creation, and even augmenting the deceptively challenging process of transcribing dialogue in real-time. Coaching sessions and lectures can further be transcribed, allowing the conversation data to be folded into training material or used by recruiters to understand the capabilities and risks of talent better.

AI in sports will transform not just the professional leagues but also the everyday consumer with help from current and upcoming innovators on the market – just as emerging products will assist professional athletes, widely available fitness apps will see dramatic benefits from integrating well-designed AI services.

VR Will Lend Itself to Improving Everything from Training Data to Athlete Muscle Memory

Picture stepping into a virtual basketball court, working through fadeaway jump shots and free throws, or onto a virtual soccer field where you can practice your first-touch techniques from every kind of passing or pick situation imaginable.

One nearly ubiquitous truth in athletics is that good technique is the foundation for everything else and VR can play a role in both helping develop technique and learning from performance data.

By simulating competitive scenarios with hyper-realistic detail with VR content that’s powered by AI, athletes can hone their skills in a safe, controlled environment, developing muscle memory and decision-making abilities that translate to the real world.

With the proper equipment, athletes can hone skills in the virtual environment. This allows the foundation for muscle memory to develop and results in a quicker mastery of techniques and skills in the real world. Combined with adequate sensors, athletes and trainers can access real-time feedback on their performance to better understand the steps needed to approach perfection with any number of motor skills.

Other similar solutions are set to emerge that leverage augmented reality (AR) to train in the real world while interacting with both tangible and virtual elements.

By using VR or AR-based solutions in conjunction with AI in sport environments, organizations that support athletes can create accurate predictive models that help lead to better decision-making for training. And, they can lend themselves to other connected activities like sports betting, fantasy football, and beyond.

Computer Vision Will Allow for Better Analysis of Both Real-world & Virtual Performance

A quintessential element in many emerging AI sport solutions is computer vision. This is the backbone of new text-to-image GenAI like DALL-E or Midjourney and will play a significant role in helping the sports industry learn more than ever before from recordings – or even live footage – of sporting events.

Solutions like those from Visio, whose products are widely used for portions of digital product development, are being adapted to provide in-depth analysis using computer vision to extract data from recorded and live feeds. Image from Visio

Aside from using surface-level details of video data to, for example, identify a player on the field, advanced libraries and algorithms baked into platforms like Visio, OpenCV, and others provide digital product developers the tools they need to build custom solutions for athletics motion tracking and related features.

In conjunction with other sensor data, apps and features using computer vision can pinpoint, track, and analyze joint and limb movement, as seen in the solution we built for Mustard. These visualization techniques can lend themselves to various processes, including risk management, injury detection, tailorable performance analysis for any sport, rule violation detection, and much more.

While these solutions for leveraging artificial intelligence in sports can’t replace human intuition and conventional wisdom in sports, they will enhance the experiences of those willing to adopt and learn from fascinating technologies now available to the industry.

We’re Here to Transform the Sports Industry With Artificial Intelligence Solutions

What’s just around the corner for the sports industry is nothing short of amazing – looking at the projected spending on AI in sports, it’s clear many are eager to invest in technologies to bring radical innovation to the market. Before you know it, we will all need to find better excuses for our sloppy golf swings and terrible putting!

Get in touch to learn more about how Studio can help you strategize and build products for your customers that embody the future of sports.

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