Brazilian soccer team Corinthians has announced a deal with IBM for a technology revamp with artificial intelligence (AI) as a key pillar.
During the 10-year contract, the supplier will be responsible for an all-encompassing modernization of the technology underpinning the operations at the São Paulo-based stadium.
As well as the integration of technology from third parties and updates to legacy infrastructure, IBM will roll out its cloud-based AI platform Watson to enhance stadium and team performance as well as supporter services.
“We are convinced of the benefits [the new contract can bring] around making technology convergence and artificial intelligence the key to a new era of possibilities for us, enhancing each fan experience in and out of match days,” says Luis Paulo Rosenberg, marketing director at Corinthians.
“There will be a way [to support the team] before and after the implementation of this contract, which will enable unprecedented ways of immersion for fans,” Rosenberg adds.
One of the AI projects within the scope of the contract is related to the use of Watson Visual Recognition throughout the stadium to enhance monitoring and security before, during and after match days.
As well as operational improvements, the partnership with the technology vendor is expected to help in the achievement of the club’s business goals.
To that end, Watson functionality will be used in a new app that is intended to be the main communication channel, offering personalized club-related information as well as using AI to offer a virtual assistant, with fan questions answered using natural language.
Going forward, the idea for the concierge-type app is that the platform will serve as a vehicle for partnerships with companies from the banking, telecom and drinks segments.
In parallel to the IBM contract, Corinthians has its own digital transformation agenda. GPS sensors currently used around the pitch should be replaced by video cameras and RFID technology which will collect real-time data. The intention is to also generate revenue with the sponsorship of relevant data captured from matches that will be delivered to supporters.
The club also aims to enhance functionality and double the member base of its loyalty platform, which currently has 117,000 supporters. Corinthians FC is estimated to have about 33 million fans nationwide.
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