Sevilla FC banks on IBM AI

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly moving beyond chatbots and creative writing tools like ChatGPT and Bard and is entering the mainstream. This industry redefining technology is now stepping onto the playing field to assist with critical decisions in the world of football. In one of the latest collaborations between sports and technology, IBM and La Liga side Sevilla FC have jointly developed a new AI-powered player recruitment platform.

Dubbed “Scout Advisor”, the new solution utilises IBM’s Watson AI capabilities to unlock insights from Sevilla’s extensive database of over 200,000 player scouting reports. Using natural language processing and machine learning algorithms, Scout Advisor can analyse both structured statistics and unstructured text data to identify and evaluate potential player recruits.

The system allows Sevilla’s scouts to search for prospects using plain English queries that specify desired attributes like speed, height and playing style. Scout Advisor then combs through the club’s vast data trove to serve up a shortlist of candidates that best match the specified criteria, along with summarised scouting reports on each player.

“We are excited to work with IBM as this project can be a game-changer for Sevilla FC and the whole Sports Industry” José María del Nido Carrasco, Sevilla FC’s President. “Our team of scouters and analysts is committed to finding the best players to support our team’s success and have worked tirelessly to build an impressive database of player reports, and now, with the support of IBM, we can utilise this asset to its full potential. This gives us a significant advantage in the player recruitment process and enable us to find the best players for our team and continue to improve our performance on the pitch. We believe that this collaboration will have a positive impact not only for Sevilla FC but for the sports industry as a whole. With this tool, Sevilla FC also demonstrates that technology is not just a goal but an intimate companion on the journey towards the future of our entity; it is part of its DNA”.

By combining human expertise with AI-enabled analytics, the club aims to significantly enhance the accuracy and efficiency of their talent identification process. In the fast-paced world of football transfers where multi-million dollar investments are at stake, maximising recruitment success can provide a vital competitive edge.

The collaboration demonstrates how generative AI can move beyond consumer novelty uses and deliver real-world business value – even in non-tech sectors like sports. With the right data foundation and governance guardrails, AI is becoming a critical new ’12th man’ that can analyse volumes of information at superhuman speeds.

“We are proud to collaborate with Sevilla FC to use the power of IBM watsonx generative AI to help enhance the accuracy and effectiveness of their player recruitment process” said Ana Paula Assis, Chair and General Manager at IBM EMEA. “With the appropriate guardrails and governance in place, AI continues to be a game-changer for businesses across many industries looking to modernise operations. In this instance, by producing trusted and explainable insights that advance the goals of a competitive football club while transforming the work of a football scout.”

For trailblazing clubs like Sevilla FC who are already leaders in using technology for data-driven decisions, AI offers another way to get an edge over rivals. As the technology continues to advance, we can expect more player-coach partnerships between AI and human scouts across the sports world.



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