IBM’s Generative AI Will Scout Soccer Players for Sevilla FC
Spanish soccer team Sevilla FC has partnered with IBM to leverage generative AI in scouting for future players. The club will employ IBM’s Scout Advisor tool, built on the tech giant’s watsonx generative AI platform, to analyze massive amounts of data from over 200,000 scouting reports and identify potential player recruits.
Generative AI Scouting
Scout Advisor relies on watsonx to search Sevilla’s databases and draw insights from both quantitative statistics and qualitative scouting observations. The AI can produce lists of recommended players based on key attributes outlined by the club’s scouts and summarize full scouting reports for each prospective recruit. Previously, Sevilla FC relied solely on its scouts’ subjective evaluations and some manual data analysis to assess potential players. Scout Advisor automates this process to scout players globally in a faster, more efficient manner. The club believes this technology will give them a competitive edge in signing top talent.
“We are excited to work with IBM as this project can be a game-changer for Sevilla FC and the whole sports industry. 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 utilize this asset to its full potential,” Sevilla FC president José María del Nido Carrasco said in a statement. “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.”
IBM is looking to show how its watsonx AI capabilities can bridge the gap between statistics-based scouting and more qualitative, observational assessments traditionally made by human scouts on factors like skill and fit. It fits with the company’s broad approach toward generative AI, which includes many such partnerships, as well as a $500 million venture fund for startups developing generative AI for business uses. That’s on top of its projects to match OpenAI, Google, and others in the LLM space, such as creating the watsonx Code Assistant for developers writing software programs and offering access to Meta’s Llama 2 model on watsonx. This isn’t the first sports project for watsonx either. IBM deployed it to offer commentary at Wimbledon last year.
“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,” IBM EMEA chair and general manager Ana Paula Assis said. “With the appropriate guardrails and governance in place, AI continues to be a game-changer for businesses across many industries looking to modernize 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.”