Millennials ‘demand’ AI to enhance sport viewing experience | Media Analysis | Business
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Research from technology and managed services firm NTT has revealed that sporting organisations need to do more to create the types of experiences that digitally savvy fans, especially those in the younger demographics, demand.

NTT letour 26July2019The research of 3,700 sports fans from across the globe investigated the viewing habits and preferences of sports fans from across the globe, revealing future digital and live sports experience. Central to this were the shifting habits of millennial fans.

Among the findings of the research was that just over half (56%) of 18- to 34-year-olds said they would increase their use of second screens during live sporting events over the next three years. A further, 51% of respondents across all age groups electing to track live updates from a sporting event via their second screen (mobile or tablet), at a rate of once a week or more.

The primary motivation for using a second screen during a sporting event was access to data and stats (34%), with two-fifths wanting even more statistics to enhance their digital experience while 46% of people said their current data experience makes a sporting event more enjoyable. Over half (55%) of 18- to 34-year-olds said more in-stadium experiences – such as improved connectivity and tech-enhanced facilities – would encourage them to attend live sporting events.

All of this said NTT meant that the demand for a digital and connected experience was clearly on the rise. It added that as the competition for fan engagement increases across major global sporting events, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning offer new ways to deliver more sophisticated and connected data experiences.

Yet even though half (54%) of people aged 18-34 believe artificial intelligence is capable of successfully predicting the results of a sporting event, and around the same amount (52%) said accurate predictions make a sporting event more engaging, only a quarter (26%) of people across all age groups are aware of AI and machine learning actually being used at sporting events, exposing a huge opportunity to create greater engagement.

“There’s a real hunger in the sports industry for a more futuristic viewing experience for fans. And, like any organisation looking to thrive, sports providers need transformation to remain relevant and competitive in a rapidly digitising world,” commented NTT global chief marketing officer Ruth Rowan. “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.”


Looking at use case for AI in sport, NTT pointed to this year’s Tour de France which it said was the most data-rich in viewing history. The company has produced #NTTPredictor with AI and machine learning features to enhance Le Tour’s viewing experience. This includes Le Buzz, a new machine learning model being trialled for the first time at the 2019 Tour de France which analyses the movements within the peloton to predict potential key moments, such as the increased likelihood of a crash, a split in the peloton or a change in race dynamics.