NTT research indicates ‘digital savvy’ fans would welcome AI-driven analytics and predictions

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Sports organisations should do more to create engaging data-rich sports viewing experiences, according to a study of around 3,700 sports fans from around the world.

NTT’s research revealed fewer than half those surveyed (46%) believe the current use of data for analytics at sporting events made them more enjoyable. The tech company says “AI and machine learning will be the answer” to maximise the potential of the data.

More than half (54%) of those aged 18-34 taking part in the survey believe AI is capable of successfully predicting the results of a sporting event. And a similar amount said accurate predictions make a sporting event more engaging.

NTT points to the Tour de France as a recent example of where AI has enriched the viewing experience, in particular with a machine learning model called Le Buzz that analysed the movements in the peloton to predict the increased likelihood of a crash, a split in the peloton or a change in race dynamics.

Over half of all respondents said they regularly opt to use a second-screen (mobile or tablet) to access data and stats from a sporting event, with 56% of 18-34 year olds planning to increase their use of second-screen devices during live sporting events over the next three years.

Ruth Rowan, global chief marketing officer at NTT, said: “There’s a real hunger in the sports industry for a more futuristic viewing experience for fans. Whether that’s through live analytics and data enhancements, AI-powered experiences, or connected stadiums – it’s clear ICT infrastructure, the cloud, and mobile services have a critical role to play as the sports industry evolves to meet the growing demands of digitally savvy supporters.”