Infinite Athlete VP of product, Felicia Yue, on what the fast-developing technology could mean for the industry

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Sports fans used to plan their entire day or night around when and where they were going to watch their favorite team on television. If you missed a live broadcast, you had to rely on secondhand accounts.

Not anymore.

Technology has made it more accessible and convenient to watch sports, whether streaming games live on your phone or watching games on-demand with the ability to pause, rewind, and fast forward.

That sea change, however, is only the beginning of how technology will change the industry. AI will soon revolutionize the way fans engage with teams, games, and stats, allowing for personalization on an unprecedented scale.

Accessibility isn’t necessarily convenient. Broadcasters pay billions for the rights to air competitions, and that competitiveness leads to fragmentation as individual leagues within a given sport pick the best offer rather than consolidating.

Within the Premier League, for instance, matches are broadcast on Sky Sports and TNT, with some packages on Prime Video and highlights on the BBC. Then, the FA Cup is broadcast on ITV and the BBC, with TNT taking the main rights from 2024 onwards. Add in the UEFA Champions League on TNT, and fans are forced to use five different channels and subscriptions just to watch one team play.

It looks as though compartmentalization is here to stay, but AI will soon be able to create personalized “TV guides’’ for each of us. Consider an AI-driven guide that would include all your favorite shows and sports with their corresponding times, dates and channels.

Despite the technological advances in how fans watch games, however, the broadcasts themselves have yet to catch up. You might be able to watch a game anywhere on your schedule, but the game you see is the same game everyone else sees. Every fan is beholden to the editorial decisions made by the director and his team.

AI has the potential to change that landscape by marshaling a wide range of data so fans can customize how they watch.

A casual fan, a diehard, and a gambler all need different things from their gamecasts. The diehard might want more crowd shots, or a wider angle of the field that allows them to appreciate tactics. The gambler might want live on-screen stats for a particular player.

All that information exists - just not where fans can access it.

Broadcasts also lack a one-stop shop that holistically incorporates the full viewing experience. Even while glued to a game, many fans use other devices to trash talk with their friends, monitor their fantasy team, make bets, and keep up with chatter on social media.

In a future powered by AI, it should become far simpler to unify those activities under one technological roof.

Infinite Athlete is working on something we call Deconstructed Broadcast, which allows customisation of every element – including audio, video, and graphics.

The MVX product we launched for Chelsea Football Club’s official app lets viewers personalize onscreen statistics and key plays while watching full match replays; in the future, fans will even be able to choose which player the camera follows via an AI tool called FusionCam.

This ability is useful to fans and broadcasters alike. Fans benefit from being able to always watch their favorite players, while broadcasters get more camera angles without needing to hire additional staff or purchase additional hardware.

AI also has huge implications for commentary. If you speak a less-common language and follow a foreign team, it can be hard to find commentary you understand. Thanks to AI, we will soon be able to live-translate commentary within a broadcast, obviating the need to employ different production teams for each language or territory.

There’s one more interested party in this equation besides broadcasters and fans: advertisers. AI opens up a world of possibilities for advertisers’ constant quest to engage viewers with relevant sponsored content. The more personalised the gamecast, the more personalised ads can be, and the happier the fan.

After all, if you love Chelsea, do you really want to see ads featuring Liverpool players?

Sports have never been more global or more exciting, but we’ve only scratched the surface. With AI, every fan can be their own director, their own statistician, and their own scout, all in the language of their choice.

No two fans are alike. Soon, no two broadcasts will be either.

Felicia Yue Infinite Athlete

Felicia Yue is vice president of product at Infinite Athlete