Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Pro Sports Front Office: Will AI Replace Them?

Will AI Replace Them

The new season of the National Football League started on March 15, 2023. It also meant the start of free agency, when teams can make deals with players who are no longer under contract with their old teams. Each new deal can cost a team millions of dollars.

So it’s very important to hire the right people. As with any business, NFL executives and the leaders of other professional sports teams have to decide how to spend their limited budgets in the best way. They do this by making educated bets on the return on investment (ROI) they will get from their assets (players), taking into account expected performance (on and off the field), injuries, and other factors.

But what if AI could tell us this year how many games a player has left in their career, how many points they will score next season, or if they will get hurt badly soon?

Even though free agency and other ways to get players have been around for decades, the way players are chosen is changing quickly. In particular, the use of AI-based technologies on huge amounts of sports data is making it easier for the front office to decide which players to sign, grow, bench, or trade. And it will change the way all professional sports are run, for good.

But will AI soon take the place of sports teams’ front offices?

Even though this new technology is making it easier for people to make decisions, we don’t think it will replace general management teams in sports or other businesses any time soon.

Game-Changing Predictive Power

There are a lot of AI-based sports services, and the number is growing. Some of them are designed to help team leaders make decisions by making guesses about injuries and how long athletes will live. Knowing how likely it is that a player will get hurt in a certain amount of time has a big effect on recruitment, as teams will naturally try to find players who are less likely to get hurt. Executives in the business world have always had a sense, based on experience, of what causes injuries, such as time and “mileage” on the field. These statements sometimes come true, but most of the time they don’t.

The difference now is that AI can back up some common knowledge. For example, in the NFL, wide receivers over 30 are more likely to get hurt or have other problems. AI can also give much more specific estimates of the likelihood of injury or decreased performance, what that means for a given player’s availability, and how much that might cost the team. Probility AI says it can predict with 96% accuracy which players will miss time next season. Executives can use these results to go from “I think this is probably an important factor” to “I know this is an important factor and can estimate its impact and cost with an unprecedented level of confidence.”

AI-generated ideas are much better than those that are already known or that are based on intuition. For example, Probility AI trained its injury-prediction models with data from specific NFL teams and other public and private data sources to figure out how important things like where a player went to college, which head coaches and assistant coaches they played for, and how much practice and work they had to do because of that were. Even though these early ideas need more study, they show how far AI can go in its predictions.

So, instead of trying to get the best wide receiver overall, general managers can find the best receiver for their team based on AI predictions of injuries and success in the future. Since players usually have different predictions for how long their careers will last and how well they will do with different coaches, field conditions, or teammates, this creates an arbitrage situation in which the market value of a player changes based on which team he or she plays for.

Multiple NFL teams are using AI technology from Probility AI and other places, and for good reason: if they didn’t, they’d be at a loss against teams that already had AI. Of course, these kinds of models are also used to make money in other sports, like soccer and basketball, and in business to improve things like making choices, increasing productivity, and serving customers better.

Augmentation, Not Replacement

Will the front office be replaced as AI develops predictive ability across crucial aspects of sports, such as injuries, trade timing, and others?

Simply put, no. Consider AI as an addition to human decision-making for the time being. Although technology won’t replace CEOs, it will enable them to make wiser choices, particularly in situations where prejudice and human error are more likely to occur, for as when recruiting and when following “what worked before.” Deeper learning in AI enables it to create even more accurate performance forecasts, in contrast to the Moneyball movement of the previous 20 years, which focused on using player statistics in a much more rigorous, systematic manner.

Decision-making in three areas is greatly enhanced by accurate player-availability estimates for all active players:

Risk management: If a good wide receiver is likely to get hurt, for example, a team might spend more on skilled backups to keep the team’s performance from dropping too much while the player is out.

Training and targeted interventions: If AI says that a player is likely to get hurt, the team can customize the person’s training, nutrition, or other routines to make injuries less likely. A team could also choose to cut a player’s workload, which would also lower risk.

Personnel decisions: Teams can pick, trade for, or get players in other ways who they think are more likely to be available the whole season by figuring out what makes players hurt or unavailable. Teams may also decide to trade players who are likely to get hurt.

Smart leaders will also think about injuries when making financial decisions. That is, AI not only makes predictions about the availability of players, but it can also put those predictions into a financial decision-making engine. This lets team leaders make detailed metrics about how much output they can expect for each dollar they spend. For example, a running back who is only expected to play in half of the games in a given year costs twice as much as one who could play in every game but costs the same. By looking at the cost per result (yards gained, stops made, points scored, and so on), teams can spend their money in the most effective way, getting the most out of each dollar spent.

But technology isn’t enough on its own. Software can analyze player engines and how resources are used, but in the end, sports execs must use their judgment and risk tolerance to choose between inevitable trade-offs and make the final decisions. In the last part, we talk more about this.

Still, AI is a complete game-changer in professional sports. It is replacing informal or even statistics-based decision-making as the engine of a comprehensive system powered by big data and an unusual ability to predict the future.

It’s easy to see how AI-made statements that are more accurate would have a huge effect on any business. A close comparison would be being able to guess when worker performance in labor-intensive industries like construction might go down, or when big machines like those that power factories or refineries might break down or stop working, and then taking steps to avoid a costly accident. Any business with tools that are getting old could use this method.

More generally, if business leaders could predict demand for anything from clothes to corn, they could make better choices about production, both in terms of supply chain and other areas. The battle could be predicted by other AI-based algorithms. AI has already been used in all of these and other ways across many industries, which helps explain why AI startups got nearly $1.4 billion in funding in 2022.

Don’t Go Out of Bounds

Predictive AI has its limits, which only supports the idea that it shouldn’t be used to replace people.

For example, when it comes to predicting NFL injuries, new technology can help make decisions about who to sign, who to trade, and how much to pay each player. However, the coaching staff still needs to think carefully about how the whole team works together. The AI might say it’s time to replace an injury-prone running back with a player with a certain profile, but a manager will have to figure out how to make the new player fit in with the rest of the team. After all, the total risk is spread out among all the players and how they work together. AI is also getting better at knowing teams as a whole and what that means, starting with sports with smaller starting teams, like hockey, which never has more than six players on the ice at once.

Also, it’s important to know that AI-based services don’t give a definite “answer.” Instead, they make a prediction and give a range of confidence in that prediction. As technology gets better, this gap will get smaller, but predictions will always be a little off, and this is where human opinion is very important.

In the end, AI is definitely a game-changer for sports. It gives front offices and coaches a level of predictive power they’ve never had before, allowing them to make a wider range of decisions with big effects on performance and returns. It also gives players information they can use to extend their careers, which keeps more players on the field and keeps fans excited. But it’s still a story of augmentation. Leaders must make the best strategic decisions they can by using new technologies to back up their instincts based on experience. They are still responsible for what happens on the field and on the balance sheet.


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Related Articles

Top Trending

Aria Lee Ethnicity
American Adult Entertainer Aria Lee Ethnicity Revealed [2024 Updates]
Jewelz Blu Age
Jewelz Blu Age: The Life and Career of The German Actress [2024 Update]
Trevor Bauer Case Legal Warning Entrapment
Legal Expert Warns: 'Some Women May Try to Ensnare You,' in Trevor Bauer Case
Famous People Birthday April 18
Famous People Birthday April 18: 15 Icons Born on This Day
victoria cakes age
Victoria Cakes Age and Vital Statistics: The Life of a Rising Star

LIFESTYLE

Gift Ideas for Men
10 Thoughtful and Unique Gift Ideas for Men Who Have Everything
pohela boishakh 2024
Pohela Boishakh: Celebrating Bengali Culture and Heritage Festivities
Korean Beauty Secrets
10 Korean Beauty Secrets for Youthful Energy: Stay Young & Vibrant
Ancient Philosophers Guide to Happiness
Unlocking Happiness: Timeless Lessons from Ancient Philosophers
eid decor diy
Eid Decor DIY: 15 Creative Ideas to Spruce Up Your Home for the Festivities

Entertainment

Aria Lee Ethnicity
American Adult Entertainer Aria Lee Ethnicity Revealed [2024 Updates]
Jewelz Blu Age
Jewelz Blu Age: The Life and Career of The German Actress [2024 Update]
Famous People Birthday April 18
Famous People Birthday April 18: 15 Icons Born on This Day
victoria cakes age
Victoria Cakes Age and Vital Statistics: The Life of a Rising Star
Lexi Luna Height
Lexi Luna Height: An Insight Into the American Model and Film Star

GAMING

Pokemon Go Updates Avatars Maps Photos
Pokemon Go Update: New Changes to Avatars, Map, Photos & More
Apple's First Approved iPhone Emulator Launches
Apple's First Approved iPhone Emulator Launches, Then Gets Removed
Prime Gaming
Is 2024 the Year Prime Gaming Takes Off?
Online Games for Stress Relief
Finding Calm in the Click: A Comparative Look at Online Games for Stress Relief
Apple Introduces Retro Game Emulators App Store
App Store Welcomes Retro Game Emulators: Apple's New Gaming Era

BUSINESS

Choose the Right ERP System
How to Choose the Right ERP System for Your Business?
Apple CEO Discusses Investment Plans
Apple CEO Discusses Investment Plans with Indonesian Leader
DEI Strategy
A Roadmap for Implementing and Sustaining a DEI Strategy
Goldman Sachs Crushes Estimates
Goldman Sachs Crushes Estimates: Stock Jumps on Stellar Q1 2024
Strongest and Weakest Currencies of Africa
List of 10 Strongest and Weakest Currencies of Africa in 2024

TECHNOLOGY

How to Use Technology Mindfully
How to Use Technology Mindfully: Essential Tips for Balanced Tech
Quick Ways to Remove a Trojan From Your Mac
Quick Ways to Remove a Trojan From Your Mac
Pixel Launcher Upgrades in Android 15
Explore the Latest Pixel Launcher Upgrades in Android 15!
Google One VPN Ends
Google One VPN Ends, Pixel VPN Upgrades Coming Soon!
How to Translate Video to English Online
How to Translate Video to English Online [Updated]

HEALTH

Rock Hudson Last Days
Rock Hudson's Last Days: The Untold Story of His Final Moments
Best Stress Relief for Each Zodiac Sign
Relaxation by the Stars: Best Stress Relief for Each Zodiac Sign
Covid 19 No Link Asthma Risk Study
COVID-19 Does Not Raise Asthma Risk, Researchers Confirm
Williams Syndrome Famous People
5 Famous People in the World Dealing With Williams Syndrome [2024 Update]
5 Reasons You Should Go for Facelift Surgery
5 Reasons You Should Go for Facelift Surgery