Trends In SportsTech Sector: AI Integration Creating New Avenues

In the coming years, AI is expected to advance so much that it is completely going to restructure your gaming and fantasy sports intake. Gradually AI will become so efficient that it will be a part of our everyday lives

The sports tech sector in India is growing by leaps and bounds but when compared to the global scenario, it is still in its infancy stage. Though there’s a long road to be covered the rapid expansion and development that we have been witnessing along the way are impeccable. Much of this development can be attributed to the introduction of Artificial Intelligence and allied technology. There are multiple startups as well as well-established companies that are trying to popularise the e-sports segment and make profitable business out of it.

Impact of COVID-19

But with the pandemic breaking out, things got pretty slow and difficult, as experienced in all the sectors, globally. The key loss is the ability to grab the attention of the audience and enthusiasts owing to uncertain circumstances. With the gradual relief from the pandemic, scheduling of on-ground events started taking place but again the challenge of not having the desired footfall of audience hindered.

As per the reports, this year the sports industry would get to see a better influx of finances through multiple channels, such as college sports, and the adoption of the latest and emerging technologies. According to the annual sports industry outlook of Deloitte, there have been explorations made on how these trends could create new opportunities and challenges for sports organizations, leagues, owners, teams, players, and fans.

Trends to watch out

Keeping the challenges aside, there have been quite a lot to look forward to as well. Some of the trends that have become dominant and have kept the segment alive and kicking through this phase, includes -

• Artificial intelligence: Artificial Intelligence tops the list and this indeed has opened new avenues for the sports tech enthusiasts and fantasy sports segment as well. The application of AI has now become so basic and crucial that it can even be referred to as ‘smart technology’. AI does the unthinkable in garnering data, assessing it and delivering quality statistics.

• Big Data: This is again the process of processing the data that we collect through technology. The information that we get after processing the data becomes very critical and off late this has been positively impacting the sports tech sector in India, in ways more than one.

• Blockchain: This powerful and open-source digital transactional platform is being taken up by app developers and others to reward their users with tokens upon completing specific tasks, etc.

• OTT: IT is not just the broadcast of live matches on OTT platforms (like IPL of Disney+ Hotstar) that takes place. The OTT platform also provides highlights of the matches after the game is over, collecting data from the match, assessing them and presenting it in charts and statistics for games and players. Moreover, in the pandemic, viewers have been completely dependent on OTT platforms for live and past matches.

• 5G in sports: With all these live streaming and broadcasting of matches and even participating in fantasy sports, high speed 5G internet data is critical. 5G would ensure an uninterrupted and smooth user/viewer experience and real-time updates on scores, data, etc.

Application of AI

The humongous fan base and high level of interest have boosted India in becoming one of the largest fantasy markets, globally. All that to technologies like AI, ML, etc has led to tremendous developments. Besides showcasing live scores and all the related stats, Artificial Intelligence has played a crucial role in innovation and technology in this space. On the other hand, there has been a steady growth in Ambient Intelligence with AI. This supports the lives of disabled people, anomaly detection in media, machine learning and natural language processing capabilities which are flourishing enough to be unthinkable.

This genius combination of AI with fantasy sports has led to newer avenues to make opportunities for app developers, sports enthusiast techies and innovators. In India, the application of AI in sports tech is pretty new but it is already starting to show tremendous development and has a very promising future. The fantasy game sector is lined with fantasy leagues and apps. As compared to the global scenario the sports data market in India is still catching up, and the main reason behind this has been that the Indian audience till now has been mostly obssessing over cricket but gradually others sports have also started to come in the limelight like Kabaddi, Football, etc.

The Indian market is vast with abundant opportunities every day. The whole industry has always been curious for something new to shape up the needs in tech development firms with the right solutions. There is now not one but many with niche support for anything and everything, thus there is also a lot of demand for sports tech solutions as well.

What’s next?

In the coming years, AI is expected to advance so much that it is completely going to restructure your gaming and fantasy sports intake. Gradually AI will become so efficient that it will be a part of our everyday lives and it will suggest the best playing 11 for the match, identifying the possible injuries in sports much in advance by assessing the various factors including the general fitness of the player and ground conditions. Further advances would include, smart policing, analysing players' potential, analyzing many factors through the general fitness and number of minutes played, smart policing, etc. In a nutshell, we can say it will enhance everything from post-game analysis to in-game activity.

Anto Binish Kaspar, Founder and CEO, Roanuz Softwares

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