AI is shaking up how sports like rugby, soccer and cricket are played—and it could soon mint big money for sports clubs

AI is shaking up how sports like rugby, soccer and cricket are played—and it could soon mint big money for sports clubs

Leicester Tigers, an English rugby team, finished at the bottom of the sport’s Premiership in 2src19, just about missing relegation. That’s when the club turned to AI to rate player performance and model how different actions would impact the club’s win probability.

There’s been no turning back since. The team won the 2src22 Premiership, topping the table among 13 other teams, thanks to AI tools crafted by London-based sports data company, Prospect and its subsidiary, Oval. 

Similar successes in cricket, soccer, and other sports point to the power of AI in shaking up sports as we know them.  

The tech has numerous applications, including helping clubs scout for players, analyze their performance, and plan tactics against opponents in ways that were previously considered too complex. It also opens up new opportunities for fans and teams to engage with one another, catering to the ever-growing interest in sports. 

“AI is providing new opportunities for sports properties to commodify its fan and athlete data, deepening its understanding of its customers and stakeholders, and making their brand more appealing to investors,” Motasem El Bawab, the chief information officer at the Barcelona-based consultancy N3XT Sports, told Fortune. 

The implication? AI’s influence on fan interest, team performance and overall competitiveness in sports could drive up how much sports clubs are worth.   

According to Deutsche Bank analysts, sports mergers, acquisitions, and investment deals have soared in value by eightfold to about $37 billion in just four years. Sports have attracted big money, as seen with Saudi Arabia’s interest in soccer when it paid Cristiano Ronaldo millions of dollars, making him the highest-paid athlete ever. Interestingly, the timing neatly overlaps with when interest rates skyrocketed in response to high inflation, which drove down deal-making across other industries.

AI is among the reasons sports clubs have emerged victorious, the bank said in a note last week. That also means the onus

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