Weekly Column: How AI can impact sports

In his capacity as a Columnist for California Sports Lawyer®, Founder and Managing Attorney Jeremy Evans has written a column about the potential for growth of artificial intelligence in sports.  

You can read the full column below.


Artificial intelligence (“AI”) is going to impact our lives, the question is how we manage the impact. Similarly, AI is going to impact sports. The way it is played, distributed, analyzed, and consumed.

College sports are in the midst of monumental changes and it is unlikely that the people involved are fully aware or ready for the changes. As AI enters into our daily lives, there are already signs that its impact is directly correlated to the regulatory scheme. In other words, the level of adoption and acceptance of AI is essential to the success of the technology and its ability to help humans.

It is no wonder that Reddit wants to license data from third-party parties for user-generated content to build AI generative thinking systems. The sports business landscape is changing and one of the tools that can be used to help make better decisions and predict outcomes from the those decisions is through AI. Imagine, for example, Sports Illustrated using AI to help better understand its readers, prospective readers, and to advise on a marketing plan to return the brand to its height of success.

AI in Analytics and Statistics

The use of AI, licensing data, and the analysis of that data will help drive the future of sports analytics and statistics. Meaning, if AI can be harnessed by its users to make more well-informed business decisions could lead to more success. However, AI or not, decision paralysis will not help. AI is more useful when it used as a tool, not a crutch or creator.

AI in Competition

AI is going to be adopted by certain people and businesses. The question is not whether it will be used, but the difference between those who use AI and those who do not. This is why the adoption of AI or not, understanding AI, and knowing the limitations of AI are equally important. The competition is going to use AI—there should at least be a company plan in place to its use or non-use and protections.

AI in Compliance

Hiring a chief compliance officer or chief legal officer to manage AI in the workplace will be essential. If a sports team, network, or athlete uses AI, there should be a strategy in place that considers compliance with the law, copyright limitations, union rules, and an approval process. AI is not the answer to your prayers, but is a tool that can be used. If you like cooking, relying too much on AI is like adding to much salt to a dish. AI has limitations because it can be too literal, is biased based on its inputs, and will always be secondary to human thought and innovation because of the creator—created dynamic.

AI in Dealmaking

Imagine using AI not only in research for past deals to make comparisons, but also in reviewing negotiation points and processes. AI can help bridge the gap with a party with more skills or leverage by learning information and employing that same information into action. For better or worse, AI can take the inputs of millions of people and situations to find a solution to make more well-informed deals. AI could serve as a database of contracts that could be analyzed and put to use.

AI in Sports Betting

Sports betting is a multi-billion industry that will only grow with AI. However, the power of AI cuts both ways if both the house and the patron utilize the technology. The casino or sportsbook might use AI to understand its patrons or to watch for cheating and collect data on that. Similarly, a bet being placed could be preceded by significant research on outcomes. However, the beauty of sports has always been in its ability to write transformative scripts in real time. This is why the house and the patron are willing to take risks with money because there is a chance to win. AI could be used to help mitigate the risk by making more well-informed decisions.

The funny thing about sports and life is that even when armed with the best information, whether through AI or other research, implementation and action is essential. A person has to be willing to make the decision based on the information collected. The action and result is never guaranteed and neither is the inputted information.

AI will have its impact in sports, dependent on its human impact.


About Jeremy M. Evans:

Jeremy M. Evans is the Chief Entrepreneur Officer, Founder & Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing entertainment, media, and sports clients in contractual, intellectual property, and dealmaking matters. Evans is an award-winning attorney and industry leader based in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California. He can be reached at Jeremy@CSLlegal.com. www.CSLlegal.com.  

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Jeremy M. Evans is the CEO, Founder & Managing Attorney of California Sports Lawyer® representing entertainment, media, and sports clients and is licensed to practice law in California.