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Four Ways AI Technology Will Enhance Fan Engagement

By tom@isportconnect.com | February 26, 2021

In this week’s Meet The Team piece, Tom Riley, iSPORTCONNECT’s Marketing Associate, takes a look at some of the artificial intelligence technology that is growing ever-important in today’s world of sport and why it is benefitting sport.

The emergence of digital technologies is offering new, exciting ways for fans to consume and engage with their favourite sport. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology completely transforms fan experiences both in the stadium and outside of it, as most of us remain today.

“The technology and fan expectation has changed to such an extent that they would be unrecognisable to those early pioneers of sports broadcast.”

Technology is now an integral part of sport and according to Capgemini Research ‘nearly 70% of respondents say emerging technologies have enhanced their overall viewing experience’. Here are the key reasons why AI is positively impacting fan engagement.

Immersive vs Spectatorship: 

Over the course of a couple of generations the technology, and fan expectations, has changed to such an extent that they would be unrecognisable to those early pioneers of sports broadcast. The future of fan engagement will consist of an all-immersive experience, accessing all kinds of technology and data to bring the fan closer to the action and more deeply involved.

These can include things such as picking up individual players stats in game, and second screens both in-stadium and at home will become the new normal. Who doesn’t love talking about their favourite player’s performance stats?

A good example of an upcoming AI platform is Edisn.ai, they use real time player recognition technology to deliver interactive content to fans while they watch live sports. Edisn.ai are able to deliver content on demand using player statistics, personalised advertising, include ticketing, include merchandise & even in-game betting and fantasy sports. 

AI & Data collection:

AI technology will recognise specific fan profiles, historic preferences and behaviours, purchase history and what events they have attended, and more. Fans are seeing the value exchange when giving consent for their data for personalised experiences. Stadiums will also be instrumental as they will become major content and data providers to deliver the ultimate customer journey inside a stadium or even virtually.

They will increasingly become ‘data temples’, equipped with tailor made marketing campaigns, games and sales recommendations to add to their overall fan experience. For example, IBM has been a long term sponsor of global tennis tournaments where it uses it’s AI engine called ‘Watson’ to serve up predictive content and game experiences, leveraging large amounts of data.

Knowing what I want, before I want it: 

Communication with fans will become more important than ever to help brand differentiation and maintain sport franchise loyalty. It will be essential to create personal and tailored relationships with fans. AI chatbots will be more effective than ever, the more it is used over time, the smarter it becomes. Good chatbots will be able to answer questions quickly and guide the fan through website content effectively, cutting the wasted online user time to create a more valuable overall journey experience.

“AI technology can reach these younger audiences by connecting them to their favourite players in-game and off the field. Fans will be able to be in control of their own content and viewing experiences.”

AI technology will be able to recognise fan behaviour patterns and compute specific consumer needs that will predict ahead of searches. It will increasingly know what I want before I’ve asked for it. A good example of this is Toni.ai, this software provides messenger marketing in football and provides fans with the specific content they want. 

Relationship with inspirational players:

While AI can enhance the overall fan experience, it can also be used to impact the specific relationship with players and heroes. This is of particular important to younger fans where the intensity and potential of these relationships are renowned.

AI technology can reach these younger audiences by connecting them to their favourite players in-game and off the field. Fans will be able to be in control of their own content and viewing experiences and live their lives through their favourite players’ eyes. Jointly experiencing the training, the wins, the losses and whole emotional rollercoaster ride awaits the next generation. A good example of this is the partnership between AWS and F1, bringing fans closer and providing them insights into the fast decision-making scenarios made by racing teams and drivers mid-race. 

It is clear that fans are demanding more access to their favourite teams and players and technology is enabling this at speed. AI is providing customised frameworks for fans to feel closer to the players and the games they love. More personalised experiences and more helpful automated interactions will only increase fan loyalty and engagement in the near future. Companies such as Edisn.ai have realised the opportunity to go beyond just tracking data to converting it to meaningful insights and experiences for fans.

References

  1. https://www.capgemini.com/2020/01/the-fan-experience-in-sports/
  2. https://uk.nttdata.com/Insights/Blog/How-video-AI-is-winning-fan-engagement-for-sports-broadcasters
  3. https://sporttomorrow.com/8-ways-how-ai-will-greatly-impact-fan-engagement/

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