Contributed by Davyeon Ross, DDSports/ShotTracker
We conducted a video interview with Davyeon, and asked ChatGPT to summarize his prediction, and this was the result:
TL;DR: The sports industry is witnessing a surge in AI adoption, with growing awareness of its impact. From enhancing efficiency in scheduling to commercialization challenges, AI’s integration is evolving, backed by startups democratizing its use. In sports betting, AI is set to influence predictions and prop bets, while its role in women’s sports is crucial for efficient operations and commercial growth. Embracing AI is deemed essential, and those resistant risk falling behind in an era focused on cost-cutting and growing revenue, with the key challenge being the monetization of AI in sports.
The widespread adoption of AI in sports is becoming increasingly evident. While not everyone may fully understand it, there is a growing awareness of its impact. For tech enthusiasts, AI has been a presence for over 50 years, but for those outside the tech realm, ChatGPT has played a crucial role in commercializing and bringing visibility to AI.
AI is poised to become deeply integrated into sports, optimizing efficiency and tackling complex issues like scheduling. We are witnessing the early stages of this integration through machine learning and computer vision solutions, such as ESPN’s Toy Story’s Funday Football. These innovations are expected to gain popularity.
Another significant development is the commercialization of AI in sports. Although it currently faces challenges, particularly in terms of monetization, models for utilizing AI will mature. While we may not see the full fruition of these efforts in 2024, the springboard for this development will happen this year. This commercialization is crucial for widespread adoption and attention.
The role of startups is crucial for driving AI innovation, democratizing its use beyond tech enthusiasts. AI’s applications extend to fan engagement, operational efficiency, scheduling, and health and performance, incorporating machine learning and pose estimation.
In the sports betting realm, AI is anticipated to play a substantial role in predictions, influencing the growth of prop bets and enhancing the overall experience without compromising the integrity of the game. Additionally, the utilization of AI in the realm of NIL (name, image, likeness) is expected to revolutionize merchandising and enhance graphic design capabilities.
Also, the current growth of women’s sports and its commercialization is pivotal. This progression is evident in instances such as the National Women’s Soccer League, where strides are being made in terms of equitable pay. Broadcast deals, such as those with the NCAA, further underscore the growing prominence of women’s sports. As it continues gaining momentum, AI is poised to contribute by enabling more efficient handling of tasks; this is particularly significant in addressing areas where men’s sports traditionally possess greater resources. AI is a complementary force that will aid in streamlining operations and enhancing overall efficiency.
It’s essential to embrace AI; those resistant to its adoption may be left behind in an era where cost-cutting and revenue increases are paramount. The existing challenge lies in overcoming hurdles related to the monetization of AI in the sports industry.
Q: Describe new ways sports will be monetized through AI.
A: As AI continues to advance, new and innovative ways to monetize sports are emerging. Here are some evolving trends and potential avenues for monetization through AI in the world of sports:
- AI-Generated Content Platforms:
- AI can be used to create automated and personalized content platforms that cater to individual fan preferences.
- Monetization can occur through subscription models for exclusive AI-generated content, such as personalized highlight reels, virtual meet-and-greets, and custom analysis.
- Blockchain and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens):
- AI and blockchain can be combined to authenticate and tokenize digital sports memorabilia, creating unique NFTs.
- Sports organizations can monetize NFT sales for exclusive digital assets, including game highlights, collectibles, and virtual merchandise.
- AI-Powered Virtual Events:
- Virtual events, including AI-driven simulations and experiences, can be monetized through ticket sales for virtual attendance.
- Exclusive access to AI-generated virtual experiences, such as simulated matches or behind-the-scenes content, can be offered through premium subscriptions.
- AI-Enhanced Betting and Predictive Gaming:
- AI algorithms can provide more accurate predictive analytics for sports betting and gaming platforms.
- Monetization opportunities arise through partnerships with betting platforms, where sports organizations can earn revenue through sponsorships, data licensing, and sharing insights with betting partners.
- AI-Driven In-Stadium Experiences:
- AI technologies, such as augmented reality (AR) and computer vision, can enhance in-stadium experiences for fans.
- Monetization can occur through the sale of augmented reality merchandise, AR-enhanced game programs, and interactive in-stadium games.
- AI-Generated Virtual Athletes:
- AI can be used to create virtual athletes with realistic movements and behaviors.
- Monetization opportunities include virtual athlete endorsements, partnerships with gaming companies for virtual sports competitions, and the sale of virtual athlete merchandise.
- AI-Enhanced Sports Education Platforms:
- AI-powered training and education platforms can provide personalized coaching and skill development programs for aspiring athletes.
- Monetization can come from subscription models for premium training content, virtual coaching sessions, and partnerships with educational institutions.
- AI-Driven Fan Tokenization:
- Sports organizations can leverage AI to tokenize fan engagement through fan tokens on blockchain platforms.
- Fans may purchase and trade tokens for exclusive benefits, such as voting rights on team decisions, access to premium content, and virtual meet-ups.
- AI-Enhanced Sponsorship Activation:
- AI can optimize sponsorships by analyzing fan engagement data and providing sponsors with targeted activation strategies.
- Monetization opportunities arise through increased sponsorship revenue as AI enhances the effectiveness of sponsorship activations.
These emerging trends showcase the potential for AI to revolutionize how sports are monetized, providing unique and engaging experiences for fans while creating new revenue streams for sports organizations.
Davyeon is co-founder and President of DDSports, a sensor-based technology company. ShotTracker, the company’s first product, automates basketball statistics and analytics by tracking the location of the player and ball. In 2021, DDS Sports landed a multi-year partnership with the Big 12 Conference and added ESPN as a strategic investor alongside Verizon and Evertz, a public Canadian broadcast technology company. Davyeon is the Entrepreneur in Residence for R/GA Ventures and the new Coalition Venture Studio, an ongoing initiative focusing on connecting underrepresented founders with education, funding, and strategic support. Formerly, Davyeon served as EVP at Digital Broadcasting Group following the acquisition of his company, Digital Sports Ventures. He serves on the board of directors of Benedictine College, Enterprise Center of Johnson County, ShotTracker, NBKC Bank, and The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. He is the former Innovation and Entrepreneurship Co-Chair of KC Rising and the Civic Council. Ingram’s Magazine named Davyeon as one of Kansas City’s “20 in their Twenties” in 2008 and “30 in their Thirties” in 2014. He is a Pipeline Entrepreneurs Fellow. A graduate of Benedictine College, Davyeon earned his BSc in Computer Science and Math in 2000 and was later the recipient of the Benedictine College Young Alumni Award. In 2006, he completed his MBA at Mid-America Nazarene University. Davyeon is a member of the 2022 Class of Henry Crown Fellows within the Aspen Global Leadership Network at the Aspen Institute.