AI is influencing the digital sports experience


IBM: Fan Engagement and Sports Consumption

June 27, 2024, 11:25 AM |


Jörg Schröper

The sports fans surveyed are optimistic about the impact of technologies such as AI on their digital sports experiences.

Sports fans around the world are gearing up for a variety of sporting events this summer. A study commissioned by IBM reveals that there is a growing generational shift and a growing acceptance of technology-driven experiences that will shape the future of sports consumption.

The international research, conducted by Morning Consult, gathered insights from over 18,000 sports fans in ten countries, including Germany, to better understand how they watch and engage with sport. This includes live coverage, highlights and summaries, as well as preferences for future engagement and consumption. The results confirm that fans prefer personalised and time-saving digital sports content, with the majority seeing the positive impact of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) on these experiences.


The data also confirms that younger sports fans are more likely to favor AI-powered features as they increasingly turn to digital platforms for sports content, IBM said. Fans aged 18 to 29 surveyed are more likely than older fans to use a mobile phone or tablet as their primary device to watch sporting events, with subscription streaming of live sporting events being the most popular among the younger age group. Forty-three percent of 18- to 29-year-old German fans believe AI will have a positive impact on sports – compared to 58 percent of global fans.


On the other hand, respondents from older age groups remain loyal to traditional consumption modes, with linear broadcasts being the most popular among fans aged 45 and over. 40 percent of fans surveyed globally over the age of 55 believe that AI will have a positive impact on the sport, which is significantly higher than the figure of just 29 percent among German fans surveyed.


“Fans around the world are embracing platforms and solutions that help them feel more connected and informed about their favorite sporting events and athletes. IBM’s new research confirms that includes using technologies like AI to power these experiences,” said Noah Syken, vice president of sports and entertainment partnerships at IBM, which is making the AI ​​and data platform Watsonx available to partners.


Fans are optimistic about the impact of technology on sports, according to the survey. 63 percent of global respondents (55 percent of German sports fans) see data analytics as having the greatest positive impact on sports, while 50 percent (39 percent of German fans) believe that AI will have a positive impact.


More than half of global respondents use social media for additional sports content. The streaming subscription for live broadcasts of sports events is the most popular among both international and German fans aged 18-29. Respondents from around the world cite multitasking as the main reason for using multiple devices when watching sports, followed by searching for more information about the sport while watching or listening to it.


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