From the goal-line technology used in football to the Hawk-Eye and the Direct Review System (DRS) in India’s favourite game – cricket, technology is being used every moment to make decisions on-ground, and to enhance viewer experiences off-ground. Right from marketing, ticketing, merchandise sales, sponsorship activations, athlete training, visual analysis and more, capturing and analysing data has become the life and blood of sporting events worldwide.
USA’s National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), for instance, uses technology and cameras to identify racing infractions; fitness enthusiasts have AI-supported workouts that not only provide them with biometric details but also pep-talk; AI supported golf platform Arccos Caddie allows players to virtually walk the course with guidance on which club to use, which direction to hit, and other information based on weather, course, and player ability.
Role of AI in the FIFA mania
With technology itself undergoing several transformations, new and disruptive ones are emerging more frequently than ever, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is gaining popularity as it covers several areas within the sports domain. Examples on the rise of this trend are rife, such as Goldman Sachs’ analysis on the likely winner of the FIFA World Cup, 2018. They did this after running over 2,00,000 scenarios, based on team data and individual player attributes to project-specific match scores and simulate over 1 million variations of the tournament draw to calculate the probable winner. Using Machine Learning (ML) to predict the outcome of the NBA, and leveraging AI to predict the winners in soccer, are other good examples of the trend.
Then, there’s what we see right now. From mid-June to mid-July this year, enthusiasts were glued to the greatest in football clash – the FIFA World Cup 2018. Fox Sports took advantage of AI and ML to deliver the innovative FIFA World Cup Highlight Machine, making video analysis possible from the FIFA World Cup archive, as well as the 2018 footage; it also extracted data, allowing users to search for goals, red cards, and players by name.