The AI Set to Change Football

Welcome back to The Sports Road, everyone! Sport is evolving, and with that, things are changing. Luckily for us though, things do seem to be looking up… Want to know how? This is the place. Enjoy!

Here's what we got for ya today:

  • Liverpool’s Newest AI

  • Basketball: a BIG Change!

  • It’s Time…

  • He’s Back!

Most Valuable Sports Teams:

Let's get into it!

AI: Football is Evolving…

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken the world by storm recently… Being undoubtedly the most talked about technological innovation over the last couple months, it’s starting to feel like there is nothing the technology can’t do! Really. 

Just listen to this… 

But before we get into it, some context is needed… Elite level sport has never been so competitive. Gaining advantages that – in the past – we could not even imagine, in recent years teams have expertly leveraged technology to access intricate data points as a means to improve performances. 

Allowing players and coaches alike to identify strengths and weaknesses across their respective sports, the amount of detail that goes into every single phase of play is absurd and only increasing. 

I mean, just think about set pieces in Football. While once considered as an important, yet under-appreciated aspect of the game, recent years have seen an increase in its preparation, with teams even shelling out on dedicated set-piece coaches now… 

And, for the most part, it works! Being one of the first clubs to adopt the trend, Liverpool scored the most set-piece goals in the Premier League last season and the season before that. 

But, it doesn’t look like they’re stopping there… Now this is pretty crazy…

Signing a partnership with Google’s DeepMind this week, the two have managed to develop a new technology called TacticAI. This is what we know so far:

  • Acting as a robotic assistant, TacticAI has used data collected from more than 7,000 corners and analysed player coordinates to suggest improvements that can be made. 

  • Forecasting who is most likely to make contact with the ball first, the technology provides a deep understanding of what to expect from a corner in both attacking and defensive phases. 

  • Accounting for factors such as the height and weight of players, the technology can recognise the unique nature of set plays, and importantly, can aid in minimising confusion and rash decision-making in the box.

“In open play you can’t make a lot of useful on-the-spot changes, because there’s 22 players, and it’s very dynamic, and if you try to make changes in the heat of the moment you might end up confusing people… Top clubs are always searching for an edge, and I think our results indicate that techniques like these are likely going to become a part of modern football going forward.”

Petar Velickovic, Google DeepMind

Sport is changing forever and you do NOT want to miss out…

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The Future of Basketball 

If you got anything out of that first story, let it be that data is quickly becoming one of – if not – the most important aspects of sport.

Having the ability to dictate performances, results, training methods, and more, the opportunity to gain access to intricate details is one which most teams would NOT refuse. 

And, that is EXACTLY why this next story could be seriously groundbreaking…

Announcing a deal with Basketball league ‘Betsafe-LKL’  – Lithuania’s top division – Genius Sports have expanded on their FIBA partnership, and implemented their new AI-tech on a large scale for the first time.

Developing the technology in line with the firm’s pre-existing technological capabilities, Genius is looking to make the lives of both teams and fans just that bit better.

Specifically automating the capture of events, the AI-powered system is equipped with top-level tracking features and transformative qualities that can be used by teams to gain better perspective over the played game.

Importantly, under the terms of the deal, every single team will be given access to the cutting-edge capturing technology. 

Being the first major league wherein this has been done, the potential impacts from this – if utilised correctly – could take over European Basketball, and perhaps even affect the game beyond!

“Boldness and uniqueness perfectly characterise the Betsafe-LKL. We are delighted to be partnering with Genius Sports to bring unique Al-powered tracking technology to Betsafe-LKL competitions, which will enable us jointly to offer Betsafe-LKL clubs, their administration and basketball coaches state-of-the-art tools to enhance performance analysis, power immersive fan experiences and generate new sponsorship opportunities.”

Rasa Liuimiene, Chief Executive Officer of the Lithuanian Basketball League

Olympics: Getting Closer…

Want to hear something crazy? The Olympics is only a few months away!

We know. How on earth did that happen 😂😂😂😂 With that, expect things to start heating up…

Being the premier showcase of elite-level sport, everyone loves the Olympics. And with new technological innovations, it looks like we’ll be able to enjoy the games better than ever before!

Announcing their dedicated technological updates to accommodate for the event, Peacock – a broadcasting firm who are quickly rising up the ranks in the sports industry – are looking to ensure that fans are engaged into the action at the highest level possible. 

But before we get into what they are, we have a question… What’s the biggest problem with the Olympics?

While it may sound weird, sometimes there’s just too many things going on! 

With games being played constantly throughout the duration of the tournament, unfortunately, situations arise where two or more sports/games overlap with each other, leaving us fans with a tough decision to make. 

Well, not anymore! That’s right. Included in the new services provided by Peacock, fans will be able to take a multiview setting, allowing them to view up to four matches at the VERY SAME TIME!

In addition to this, the firm will provide a new live actions tool in which fans will have the ability to sift through hundreds of hours of Olympic footage, and easily navigate their way through the many sports. 

And guess what? It looks like these features will be here to stay!

“Following the Games, these new features will extend to other live events, joining the growing list of interactive elements and ad innovations that continue to set Peacock apart.”

Kelly Campbell, President of Peacock

We Need to Talk About: The UFC

Alright, alright. We know, we’ve said this so many times over the last couple years, BUT… 

THE MAC IS BACK! 

Well, we think and hope so… 😅😅😅 I mean, while he may not be in his fighting prime anymore, there really is nothing quite like a Conor McGregor fight…

Having not fought in nearly three years, this week McGregor claimed that he had received confirmation for a fight against Michael Chandler.

Why is this important, you ask? Well, up until very recently it was looking like we may not see the polarising, yet ever entertaining character, in the octagon again.

Claiming to have not heard anything from the UFC, the star cut a frustrated figure in recent interviews and seemed fairly unhappy with his position in the UFC.

Luckily though, this Summer, fans should be in for a treat. 

Aiming to prepare himself for UFC 303 in June, as we have come to expect, the buildup to this fight should be fireworks…

Not necessarily being in each other's good books, Chandler and McGregor have a decently long history with one another. 

Hosting The Ultimate Fighter against each other last year, this fight – as we alluded to earlier — has been ‘set’ to happen SO. MANY. TIMES.

It even got to the point recently that Chandler went on WWE to call the ‘Notorious’ out 😂😂 Well, not that it worked too well…

“Shut up, Michael, you f***ing imbecile.. The man doesn't shut up. I seen him on Raw. I like Mike - I'm going to bust him up. I'm going to bust Mike up.”

Conor McGregor on Michael Chandler’s recent appearance on WWE… 

Ah, it never gets old…

Quick Bites

Meme of the Week

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Quote of the Week

"It's nice to play for the country. But it's different to face Arsenal next weekend versus the Czech Republic at home. I won't lie. There is a big difference.”

Erling Haaland

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