[CES 2021] Sentient Sports: AI powered player recruitment
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[CES 2021] Sentient Sports: AI powered player recruitment

Jan 12, 2021
Professional team sport is a game of winners and losers and globally the stakes have never been higher. In 2018, over 100 different sporting franchises were each valued at over $1bn individually. As any manager (or fan) knows, the right team selection is vital to success on the field, which in turn drives the financial success that underwrites the team in the future. The immediate financial reward for winning the Premier League is £150m before counting numerous other intangible benefits. Good purchasing decisions that work for both players and clubs are essential for success, whether it’s Davy Klassen signing with Everton for £23.6m under Ronald Koeman in 2017, only for Klassen to barely start and Koeman to be sacked, or Arsene Wenger signing Nicholas Anelka for just £500,000 in 1997 and him score 23 goals before being sold two years later to Real Madrid for £22.3m, where he then only scored two goals before being transferred at a loss. Sentient Sports, working with their partner AI Abacus, are working with decision makers at leading clubs across Europe to help aid with recruitment. They enable football clubs to build the best teams for the world’s top leagues by using unique AI technology. The ground breaking solution provides football managers a step change in their decision-making and scouting process for buying and selling players, which promises to drive up footballing and financial results. Sentient Sport has developed a number of cutting edge algorithms that feed the portal to enhance decision making. The algorithms assess ‘player chemistry’, predict a player’s goals and assists, evaluate the fit between the team and a prospective purchase’s playing style, and assess the overall cost benefit of players. Combined, Sentient Sports AI is delivering world leading data analytics to enable managers to make evidence based purchasing decisions that will ensure they recruit the best players for their specific team and secure the all-important performance edge over their opponents, where marginal gains can make the difference between winning and losing. Working with Professor Gopal Ramchurn, the Director of the Centre for Machine Intelligence, and former Southampton PhD student, Tim Matthews, Sentient Sport founder and PhD researcher, Ryan Beal, is taking the world leading AI research of the University of Southampton and putting it in the hands of football managers across the globe, providing them with the means to take their performance to a whole new level. Football, like other sports, has huge amounts of data associated with it, and some of this data is currently already used by clubs to analyse the performance of their players. Sentient Sports use their world leading expertise to get more value out of that data and turn their insights into match winning insights. “We obtain data from leading football data providers and enter it into our algorithms” Says Ryan “The algorithm looks at players passing to each other on the pitch, and how often they are involved in positive or negative passes of play – those that end up as goals or those that go out, for example. And looking at how each of those passes contributes to the overall outcome of the game. From there we can identify players not currently on the same team and predict how well they would play together, and so influence future transfers.” Looking ahead, the team is also clear that the algorithmic approach they are taking towards building better performing football teams could be employed by other sports such as baseball, basketball and American Football, where optimising selection could revolutionise the NFL Draft. They are also looking beyond sports to other industries such as defence where teamwork is a critical factor in success. Sentient Sports are keen to speak to sports organisations and companies who are interested in exploring how artificial intelligence can help them to make better decisions You can find out more about Sentient Sports at sentientsports.com