The Impact of AI on Sports Content

This post was written by: Abi Burnham

AI is nothing new now. We’ve all seen it taking over people’s posts on LinkedIn, generating blogs and featuring in a plethora of panel discussions. What’s new is the impact it’s having on the sports media industry. On Episode 21 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast we were joined by Meghna Krishna, the Chief Revenue Officer at VideoVerse, to discuss the changes that she’s seeing AI make in the sports space. 

How do you see AI changing content creation and OTT streaming moving forward?

A lot of the customers that we’re working with have created automated highlights using AI. Obviously there’s a human in the loop and there are constant feedback cycles being developed too, but there’s so much requirement in terms of content, data and analysis, and interactivity that it’s humanly impossible to meet those requirements as they grow. AI will become a big part of providing those services. I would say that anyone who’s not using AI for video analysis currently needs to catch up quickly, because it’s the only way you’ll be able to generate the volume and quality of content that your competitors are producing at the speed with which they’re doing it. 

Personalisation is another area that AI is helping us develop. I’m more interested in watching the content that appeals to me instantly – I don’t want to be scrolling through 500 pieces of content to find the one thing that I’m interested in. An individual understanding of your customers is going to be an essential part of meeting their content requirements – hence the need for AI. Advertising, merchandising, clickable ads and shoppable videos are all going to be serviced with technology and AI too. Football is not only watched in 50 countries, it’s watched across the word, and the commentary translation is being done by AI now too. AI is becoming all encompassing. It’s not just in one or two places, it’s everywhere you look.

How is AI improving the experience of sports fans across the globe?

Personalised videos and ads that I can connect with are changing how people interact with content. With personalisation comes interactivity. The NBA had this place in the Metaverse where you could actually go in and be a part of the game which was an immersive experience that you can have while sitting at home. That gives fans the opportunity to feel like they’re getting the same experience as being in a stadium. 

There have been a lot of other smaller changes, such as more people watching games on social media. 52% of the younger generation is saying they’re watching sports on social media rather than broadcasts. Because these games and highlights are being published in real time it’s easier for people to do that. If you put a layer of AI generated data and analysis over that stream it completes the experience for the user without the need for live TV. 

How does AI help with the monetization of content?

If you’re serving personalised ads, the customer is seeing what they want to see, and not something that’s irrelevant. If they’re more likely to see it, they’re more likely to interact with it and you’re more likely to get monetization out of it. With AI you can actually get the highlights to the sports fans earlier, so they’re more likely to watch it. The value of a game goes down every minute after it’s over, so if your recaps are happening in real time you can monetise it far more effectively. 

We are seeing that a lot of youth sports teams that were not anywhere online are now coming onto social media because there are viewers for them there. We’ve had a recent youth organisation that publishes their games on social media and their app, and their views go up from 25,000 to 300,000 within a matter of months, because they were able to publish highlights quickly. That is a huge monetisation opportunity right there.

Want to hear more from Meghna? Tune in to Episode 21 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

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