How Technology Has Changed Sports Forever


'12 seconds left... Mats Sundin comes flying across the blueline. 

'8 seconds left... he winds up....'

'He shoots.. He scores! Leafs win in overtime!'

I still remember watching the Toronto Maple Leafs play every Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada when I was a teenager.

This was still before HD channels, smartphones and apps. If I wanted to get the stats from around the league, I would have to check the newspaper the next day or catch highlights on ESPN.

Today, that has all changed. We have access to all of that information at our fingertips. I not only have access to highlights and clips from any sport in any league from around the world, but I can choose to get alerts on anything I want. Individual player stat lines, injury reports, betting lines, how fast Tom Brady's last completion was, where the last pitch was thrown in the strike zone. All of this information is leading to a massive shift in the Sports & Entertainment industry. A shift that sports enthusiasts are ready to welcome with open arms.

It's all about the end consumer

The sports and entertainment verticals are massive industries who's main priority is customer experience and engagement. So, in today's ever-changing digital landscape, how do you provide a unique fan experience that is both personalized and scalable? How do you allow your fans to get everything they want and more while contextually understanding what content they prefer in real-time?

This is where the power of Chatbots & AI are changing the sports landscape

Challenging the status quo with Chatbots

Even in the digital age, when a team or brand posts a piece of content, they are relying on that person to see that post on one of their social media channels. No to mention, the only way of truly understanding if that content is relevant is by looking at the amount of engagement that it gets. Even if a piece of content gets much lower engagement, that team may still not know why and spend countless resources trying to understand further.

With a chatbot - you are able to put out content that is scalable, personalized, interactive and offers one-on-one engagement with fans. When a fan interacts with your chatbot you have access to instantaneous data about their behaviours and habits with the content that you create. Meaning, with access to real-time data and information, you can tailor content on the go to ensure that your fans are always getting the best experience. This leads to more engagement, sales, viral sharing and reduced 'live-person' interaction.

This is just the beginning...

Sports organizations and teams have already started adopting chatbots as a viable long-term strategy to build trustworthy relationships with their fans.

Here are some examples (Click the links to see more info):

FC Barcelona - Launched a chatbot on the messaging app, Viber. The goal was to engage with their 4 million followers. They did so by creating an interactive platform that encouraged their fans to continue to come back during every game and vote on their 'Man of the Match.'


Dream 11 - Is India’s largest fantasy league sports game. They used a support chatbot during the Indian Premier League tournaments where they usually see a major spike in users. The chatbot responded to over 80% of the 1million+ customer support queries that they received with a 32 second resolution time. 

Arsenal FC (Robert Pires) - Arsenal Football Club created a chatbot named and themed around one of its most revered legends, Robert Pires. The chatbot was created to push more personalized and unique content out to their fans across Facebook Messenger, Skype, Slack, Kik, and Telegram.


Golden State Warriors - The Golden State Warriors built out a chatbot on the Facebook Messenger platform in order to create and provide content to their fans with updates and information about the team. The chatbot was designed around a guided model, where the fans can swipe through information on players and the team, and purchase in the bot as well. During the games, there are live updates sent to the chatbot users. Their chatbot surpassed 1M subscribers after claiming another championship last year. 


Tennis Australia - Tennis Australia launched a Facebook Messenger chatbot to promote tickets sales across social media platforms to the 2018 Australian Open. In its first week, the bot delivered 170% more conversions than its traditional go-to-market model. More than 600 conversations took place within the bot, generating 141 conversions and 25 times the return on investment.


What's next?

The Sport & Entertainment industry is just getting started in adopting Chatbots & AI as the main customer experience and engagement channel. As more successful use cases continue to come to market, the more we will see wide-spread mass market adoption.

With more personalized experiences will come more data being collected about fans and users. That data will be used to enhance the fan experience and bring experiences to light that were not even comprehensible not too long ago.

A perfect example of this can be seen by the Los Angeles Clippers this season when they launched Clippers CourtVision. It's a brand new experience that uses computer vision, artificial intelligence and augmented reality to analyze the action on the court and translate it into on-screen annotations and animations, displayed on screen as the game unfolds.


For example, there are different 'modes' viewers can watch through.  

In “Coach Mode,” fans can watch plays drawn out on the screen as they develop. In “Player Mode,” they can see real-time advanced statistics, such as the probability of a player making a given shot. (See above) In “Mascot Mode,” the system generates fun animations when a big dunk or 3-pointer happens.

This my friends is the raw, data-driven future being brought to life in real-time on-screen display. We only used to see these types of stats or animations in replays or post-game stat lines.  

We haven't even scratched the surface of all the use cases that chabots and their subsequent data will bring to the world of sports. As long as the end consumer continues to be the foundation for future chat and AI applications the future in this industry is very exciting!

- Andrew Bilak


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