Cricket Predictions and Luck

Lately, all the cricket action has kept me glued to some good reads and analysis by veterans and analysts of the sport. It almost feels as if we are privy to the outcomes of a future that is yet to unfold. Shane Watson in his prediction for the ongoing Asia Cup, picked India as the most probable winner after the teams thrived under coach Rahul Dravid and skipper Rohit Sharma. In an interview, he said, “My predicted winner is India. They’re so strong and depending on what the conditions are, they adapt easily”. But as they say, predictions don’t always work!

I always marvel at how technology has abstractly applied the Experience and Reflective Learning theory by John Dewey, where he believed that through experience man learns about the world and only by the use of his experience man can maintain and improve himself in the world. Artificial Learning and Data Science have increased prediction accuracy in the game of cricket. However, each player’s performance impacts the performance of the team sometimes in unpredictable ways. For example, Michael Hussey single-handedly led the Aussies to victory against Pakistan in the semis of ICC World Twenty 20 in 2010. In yesteryears, a player’s performance depended on a few factors like his form, performance against the opponents, and the advantage of the pitch. The team management, coach and captain analysed the statistics and would select the best XI for a match.

With the advent of AI and ML-based algorithms merged into cricket, I feel it began doing cooler things, almost like fortune telling, but backed with data and analysis. The entire game process and smart strategies, even more precisely with deep insights, the vantage point of a team in a particular venue against a certain opponent increasing the chance of winning the game. Interestingly, Microsoft has lent its technology for detailed information during a match with the help of AI and the internet of things (IoT). Weighted Association Rule Mining (WARM) algorithm was used by the Indian Cricket team for analysing its performance against Sri Lanka and South Africa. [LINK]

Interestingly, in the year 1996, bowler Anil Kumble created a software package for data analysis and became the first to introduce a digital system in strategic planning. Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in collaboration with ESPN Cricinfo leveraged an AI deeper insight algorithm on players’ performance and matches that were unavailable earlier. The stats gave a clear perspective of a player’s performance based on factors like pitch quality, opponents’ current performance and the pressure on the team in the current scenario. Another compelling factor that gives a clearer picture was taking into account spontaneous factors such as the impact of toss, umpiring errors, no-balls, wides, and dropped catches that are often ignored during the assessment of a player’s performance. Sachin Tendulkar’s performance in the semis of 2011 would be inclusive of the fact that not only did he score 85 runs but was dropped by Pakistani fielders four times.

I pondered on how accurate the game predictions could be and smiled at the thought that in yesteryears it would clearly depend on the fact where my mum sat during the match, hilariously every time she went to the kitchen, India would lose a wicket till the time she was forbidden to step out of the living room. However, machine learning largely depends on humans for the data that is fed in. The overall data depends qualitatively and would predict the exact fate of the match, especially how a batsman faces a particular bowler or a fielder’s natural reflex kicks in during the match that curbs the batman. The algorithm helps in predicting a few standard factors such as the luck index, run potential, and forecaster metrics (interestingly matches the data to the sequence of events with the real-time events to predict a score.) The Smart Stat Metrics include the pressure indices, sudden wickets, and player quality index. Almost like a report card, it predicts the best batsman or bowler during the course of the game, especially during the power play or death overs.

The impact of AI and ML has been huge on cricket as well, data science plays out various scenarios to evaluate the events in general, giving it a common baseline. However, luck that influences superstition is a factor that still remains beyond the control or analysis of a human or an algorithm, such was the case of the Zimbabwean duo Grant Flower and Mark Dekker, who would go to bat together and one would say, “I hope you get a hit on the head” with the other replying “same to you”. Every time Sachin Tendulkar went to bat he always put his left pad first, and Shane Waugh always kept a red rag in his pocket while batting after he had scored a century with the rag in his pocket in 1993. We are at a realm of transition where men build machines for relevance, acquisition, and accuracy. Despite the fact that trepidation is what keeps the match exciting, however, technology is gradually seeping into cricket just as in any other sport that will toss cricket for a head every time it is played.

5 Bold Predictions for the Future of Video Technology in Sports

Past the summer solstice and well into the year 2022, we have seen some remarkable technological innovations and major AI breakthroughs being made that have an impact on our everyday lives. The field of sports is no different. With the rapid evolution of video technology in sports, we expect a huge acceleration in digital fan engagement in the coming year with the help of smart innovations; our big 5  to watch out for would be: 

1. The future of fan engagement lies in the metaverse

Experiencing the world of sports from the comfort of the living room is the very definition of ‘Metaverse’. With an immersive 360° viewing experience, brands, broadcasters, and streaming platforms will not only use metaverse to redefine the viewing experience but also leverage the platform to create unprecedented marketing campaigns using real-time moments in a virtual environment. For instance, Nike in collaboration with Roblox created a virtual world, called Nikeland, where fans in Nike apparel are provided with tools to create games, socialize and have an exhilarating brand experience. 

2. Instant gratification will drive consumer loyalty

To attract and engage the new generation of viewers, sports teams and broadcasters will feel the need to share all live content, including the game and pre-and-post-match events, on multiple channels in real-time. The ability to lure and reward the users through instant gratification on social media channels will go a long way in complementing the existing outreach of the broadcasting platform. In addition, the ability to customize video content to consumer preferences using analytics in real-time will act as the magic sauce for increased subscription and retention rates for these digital platforms.

3. College Sports will operate on a whole new playing field

Tides have been shifting as more and more college teams have been kicking off in a bigger way after a transformative season. Technology will continue to revamp playing fields from little leagues to majors as teams embrace upgraded digital infrastructure. The focus will be on AI-powered performance analytics and innovative content distributive avenues for an enriched fan experience.

4. Sports Betting at crossroads, exciting times ahead

Sports betting is in a transitional phase as it emerges from the periphery to the mainstream. The global marketplace has created a niche for online sports betting with continuous innovation and technological advancements, such as AR and VR, and the industry is expected to soar to $218 billion by the year 2023.

5. E-sports is expected to surpass the revenues of traditional sporting leagues

We are in the sports renaissance and there has been a steep rise in e-sports engaging the new generation that believes in ‘equality, togetherness, and technology’. According to the Global E-sport market report, global e-sports is likely to generate nearly $2 billion in revenue in the current year. With e-gamers poised to reach 3 billion in the year 2022, there has been an accelerated sponsorship in the world of E-sports as well, with big sponsors like Amazon, NASCAR, and Discord moving into this space. In the future, global brands would catalyse growth by securing media distribution deals.

The creator economy is on the rise and we at Magnifi believe that technology has to be the conduit that links the gap between what is possible today and what the audience wants next. We would love to hear your thoughts on the next big 5 predictions you foresee in the year 2023.

Seize Monetization Opportunities to Create New Value for Your Video Content

The rapid growth in the demand and consumption of video content for enterprise, sports, media, entertainment, and gaming has created fresh opportunities for organizations to attract new customers, deliver personalized content, and garner high engagement. Business leaders tasked with content delivery need to seize these opportunities to create new value for an increasing number of viewers of live and on-demand videos. 

Let’s look at a phased approach that brings out the unique attributes of video content to take advantage of the increased viewership:

Leveraging metadata as the foundation of content monetization

The latest research from Juniper shows that the total market value of digital content will reach $432 billion by 2026, representing a growth of 105% over the next 5 years. Moreover, content owners are increasingly looking for ways to modernize both existing and new video content to attract new users to their platforms.

To make sense of this mountain of video data, metadata becomes incredibly important. A strong metadata foundation can power centralized searches, helping find relevant content across multiple streams. If an asset can be easily found, it can be reused and repurposed in different ways to deliver tailored content for end customers. In addition, metadata provides a structured reference that allows for the right placement of ad content in your video streams, thereby increasing the visibility and ROI of the sponsor.

Increasing revenue streams with more personalized content

With an increasing focus on content personalization, the industry leaders are grappling with questions such as “How do I maximize engagement from long-form video content?” or “How do I publish in real-time or faster than others to attract new users?” 

For any sports or media platform, the ability to create a 360° fan engagement, using more tailored or theme-based content and channels, can be a key differentiation to create new value. AI-led personalization works on all these factors and helps in reducing the costs of customer acquisition, offering customized recommendations of relevant content, and increasing average user content consumption, thereby increasing engagement and LTV. The ability to personalize new and old content and share it across all platforms in real-time using AI generates a far higher ROI than doing it manually.     

Analysing which key moments garner maximum attention

In the current era of exploding video content, understanding the user experience and being able to capitalize on that understanding will be key to creating new value. Using certain parameters, organizations can create short-form video content from any perspective and test which key moments garner maximum viewership. This analysis helps content owners evaluate and refine the messaging and storytelling to support new subscriber growth and retention. 

It’s time to get more out of your content, stay tuned for our next blog post!

How AI elevates video editing and delivers a superior customer experience?

The surge seen in the viewership of video content in the past decade, driven by evolving viewing options, has further intensified during the pandemic. Globally, video traffic comprised 80% of all consumer internet traffic in 2021, according to Cisco. Moreover, by 2023, the spend on video content is expected to grow to more than $100 billion, as per a recent Forrester report.

Now the key question: since videos now play such an integral part in every aspect of our lives, how does AI influence the equation?

Artificial intelligence and machine learning-based algorithms have redefined the video creation process into an effortless and viable one and have a far wider impact than just technical support. Based on pre-defined parameters, AI can tag and create content around specific events and characters with great precision. Curated content – engaging your target audience, is the cutting edge advantage needed to lead the race.

For instance, Netflix has been employing AI to create and personalise trailers based on demographics in an effort to increase reach and reduce marketing costs.

One of the most popular applications of AI is to create short-form videos that drive higher customer engagement. Most sports broadcasters have been creating key moments for major sporting events such as the Wimbledon, IPL, and FIFA to name a few, with neural algorithms in real-time to garner viewership. AI-empowered high-value content allows rights holders to have a broader consumer reach while making it shareable in a shorter time span.

The landscape is fast-changing – AI innovations have changed the way one has ever imagined video content, setting new benchmarks in the users’ Quality of experience (QoE). The algorithm helps create hyer-personalised content and increases the potential for synthesising dynamic ads embedded within an active scene without any alteration. It also gives insights into viewer patterns and trends and makes predictions to optimise the business processes, thus offering improved relevancy and increased revenue options.

Recent research had marketers reveal that 93% of viewers actioned a purchase after watching a video or a contextual advertisement. According to GQ, the classic aviators from Ray-Ban RB3025 took a steep jump in sales on all platforms by almost 40%  after Tom Cruise was seen sporting his timeless look from 1986 in Top Guns: Maverick.

Conclusion

Artificial intelligence is redefining the video editing orbit, where numerous brands are capturing and capitalising on the opportunities at hand. Media channels, OTT/streaming providers, and CSPs (communication service providers) managing broadcast assets must modernize and shift to an AI-led approach to compete in the current environment. By leveraging innovation and tools provided by system integrators and managed services providers, the industry can harness the full potential of the video to drive subscriber growth and manage churn.

It may be worth resharing what Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon said at a conference for AI, “We are at the beginning of a golden age of AI. Recent  advancements have already led to inventions that previously lived in the realm of science fiction -and we have just scratched the surface of what’s possible.”