Are we just witnessing a revolution where AI replaces coaches, training centers, and sports analysts?
Although “replacement” may sound bold, AI has already become essential for the sports industry. Big organizations like NBA, FIFA, and MLS have been using intelligent technologies for years, and the AI market, which in 2021 was valued at $328.34 billion, is expected to grow fourfold to $1,394.30 billion by 2029.
At CrustLab, we keep a close eye on this trend. Operating in the sports industry, iGaming, and sports betting, we see machine learning and AI getting more recognition not just from big fish but also from tech startups and SMBs.
CEOs and investors see AI as a lever to distinguish their products among thousands of mobile apps. And, given the unlimited potential it brings to the table, Artificial Intelligence indeed is a promising tool to penetrate market niches and build a high-value company.
So let’s dive into the world of AI in sports and consider whether and how it can revolutionize the industry. Let’s check some real-life use cases of AI in sports too.
Who and how will benefit from Artificial Intelligence in sports apps?
The sports industry has many participants: professional athletes play on the field, led by coaches. Fans watch games at home or live, and some bet on them. Finally, sports analysts comment on the game.
And let’s not forget about the amateur athletes who exercise at the gym or at home and about their fitness coaches.
All the sports industry participants use mobile apps to track their progress, follow scores or analyze games. What if we boosted their apps with the use of Artificial Intelligence?
Benefits of AI used in sports
Both professionals and amateurs can make use of AI to help them exercise more effectively. Just record the session, and allow algorithms to do the magic for you. AI can detect bad techniques, suggest corrections, and save all the data, creating a private repository that helps you track your learning progress.
People who exercise at home want to do it healthily and safely, but they can only sometimes afford a personal trainer. Professional athletes also want to keep injuries to a minimum. In both cases, Artificial Intelligence can easily catch bad techniques in real time and suggest specific improvements, preventing injuries.
AI can, at the right moment, e.g., when it notices a mistake or omission of training, send a notification to facilitate a return to exercise, e.g., a new set of exercises or a bit of training advice.
Coaches and sports centers
More thorough training and faster progress
Artificial Intelligence can catch what the human eye can’t – with consistency. So AI is an excellent support for coaches in detecting things that are difficult to see for a human, which means not just mistakes and blunders but also exceptional skills and hidden talents of their students.
Better team tactics
AI can support the training of both individual players and entire teams. Coaches using AI-based apps can analyze the training and matches of their teams, as well as the results of opposing teams, and make better tactical decisions based on such analyses.
AI in sports training will allow coaches to observe the practice of many players simultaneously without leaving the house. Of course, at this stage, we’re not talking about a complete replacement of live training sessions but rather about additional remote support.
Sports organizations, clubs, and stadiums
What are the chances of the team winning the match? What are the chances of overtime? What is the probability of a football player hitting a penalty? Fans love all sorts of stats, and TV stations and reporters can access all this information at their fingertips thanks to AI.
Faster and safer ticketing
Security during sports events can significantly improve thanks to the introduction of AI and Face recognition. Any sports stadium can utilize a system that uses Machine Learning and AI to eliminate bad guys, detect weapons, or speed up the process of checking tickets at checkout.
Nail a business niche
For a sports (and any other) app to be commercially successful, it must be unique. Artificial Intelligence allows users to do amazing things that classic mobile apps simply can’t. Hence, if wisely used, an AI system can be a fantastic market differentiator and an advantage over the competition.
Precise Sports Betting and Forecasting
Sports betting is a game of numbers, and analyzing many data and drawing conclusions from it is an area where Artificial Intelligence excels. AI can help sports betting companies calculate odds better and, ultimately, earn more money.
Use cases of AI in sports apps
Some of the above benefits are available only to the most prominent sports organizations. We’re all familiar with the advanced statistics the NBA offers or intelligent systems tracking offsides in football games.
However, AI is also slowly pushing its way into the sports apps used by smaller organizations and regular end users, taking their sports effort to a whole new level.
Let’s take a look at some of them.
Improve player performance with Artificial Intelligence. CrustLab’s MVP
At Crustlab, we’re currently working on an AI sports Flutter mobile app that supports football coaches in the remote training of young players. The idea is that students record their practice, and the system, supported by Artificial Intelligence, automatically detects movement or ball-handling errors and suggests corrections.
The coach also has access to videos, performance analysis, and recommendations the app gives, so it’s not meant to replace but to support the coach. He can leave his comments in text or directly connect with the player during the practice.
The built-in AI analyzes one’s training session in real-time and collects all sorts of data. For example, it can now detect posture, movement, and basic training patterns. However, as the collected data grows, we’re planning to train the app (pun not intended) and expand the analysis with more training elements.
How can this app change sports? What business value does it bring to the market? We see an AI football app of this kind…
- Improves coaches’ efficiency, as they’re able to coach more players remotely,
- Increases the quality of coaching by identifying errors invisible to the naked eye and aggregating them in one place,
- Gives sports clubs and scout talents a chance to relatively easily and cheaply discover gifted players and potentially obtain or sell them at great prices,
- Because of all of the above, it saves sports clubs a lot of money, and the larger the scale of the club’s operation, the greater the savings,
- It makes professional training much more accessible to young people with little money,
- Playing for a club that supports the training process with AI is attractive to players.
The recipient of this application can be sports clubs and training centers for young football players. You can find more information about the app’s technical details and future possibilities here.
Exercise at home with an AI-based app instead of a personal trainer
Artifit is an AI sports app that allows people to exercise healthily and safely at home without the presence of a personal trainer. The tool recognizes the movements of the 20 most crucial human body joints through the smartphone camera and catches mistakes people make during exercise.
Then, it gives up to 5 tips for each exercise in real-time and saves all the training information, such as time, number of reps, and common mistakes made during training.
Unlike the example above, Artifit aims at amateurs, so the promise is to replace a personal trainer with AI-boosted software. However, the company recommends that any suggestions sent from the application be consulted with a specialist first. So, at this stage, it’s also an app that supports fitness coaches rather than replacing them.
What AI-based home workout apps can change in the world of sports?
- Easier workout access for people who don’t have the knowledge and experience and cannot afford a personal trainer,
- More personalized exercise; Artificial Intelligence, by analyzing the activity and data such as age, weight, or height of the trainee, can better adjust the plan to the person,
- Safer training at home, fewer injuries, and better quality of the workout,
- An app of this kind is an excellent business differentiator for sports centers and personal trainers who can attract more customers with the latest technology.
Gyms, fitness centers, and personal trainers can use applications of this type. Also, people that exercise at home, with or without a personal trainer.
You can find more information about Artifit on the company’s website here.
Stockfish, the artificial intelligence chess supercomputer
Stockfish was founded in 2008 (!), and its task was to improve human players’ skills through computer training. Today we know that it’s the strongest chess engine supported by Artificial Intelligence and that it revolutionized the game of chess.
Stockfish analyzes the situation on the chess board and detects the best possible moves available to both players. So it works identically to the two previous applications, examining the existing situation and suggesting the best solutions.
Stockfish (and other AI-based chess engines) changed the sport by eliminating many suboptimal strategies that the old-school players used in the past. In the chess community, it’s called the era of “romantic chess”, meaning openings and positional strategies that arose before the engines and got brutally verified by them.
Interestingly, Stockfish is an entirely free and open-source system. It’s available in mobile versions both for Android and iOS.
Who can benefit from Stockfish and similar apps?
- Chess coaches using AI solutions to analyze their students’ practice sessions and actual games,
- Chess amateurs and professionals who want to improve their skills on their own,
- Chess organizations using Stockfish for game analysis and game commentary (which is already happening; all commentators are checking players’ moves on Stockfish during the game)
So what’s the future of AI apps in the sports industry?
In the near future, the world of sports and business will go hand in hand with AI, and there’s no doubt about it. So the only question is, what’s next?
First, suppose we produce more accurate sensors and collect more data. In that case, AI will have even more material to learn from. This will mean that, according to the “what you get in, is what you get out” principle, it will deliver more accurate conclusions from an ever-widening spectrum.
If this scenario proves true, AI will develop in two dimensions. First, in breadth, as more and more sports will reach for the help of Artificial Intelligence. And also in depth because the intelligent solutions we already know today from popular sports will be more precise.
I can see that AI-based apps will track home yogis, cyclists, and even cooks. I can imagine that soccer clubs will use Artificial Intelligence to discover the unique qualities of all players, from the youngest apprentices to seniors.
With the development of intelligent tools, the pool of their recipients will undoubtedly increase, giving tech startups an open field to fill business niches. The introduction of Artificial Intelligence to new markets is just a matter of time.
AI in sports betting and sports forecasting
As a sports betting apps company, at CrustLab we keep a close eye on Artificial Intelligence use in online betting. As I mentioned, it’s a numbers game. It’s mostly about concluding the historical results of entire teams and individual players.
How will AI in sports betting develop then? I see at least 3 AI benefits for sports betting companies using AI:
- Calculating odds more accurately (hence better margins and profits),
- Increasing the involvement of users by providing them with AI-boosted features like tipsters,
- Understanding user behavior better, e.g., what sports they follow, how often they bet, when they have the money, time, or mood to play,
- Based on the above data: more customized products, messages, and notifications.
To be continued?
Of course, some of the above hypotheses are just wild guesses, and we can only predict the future of AI, big data and data science in sports.So, until then, why not discuss your idea of using AI in the sports industry? Let’s talk!