Alexa Voice Assistant : What the Sports Future Holds

30 October 2018
By Russell Karp, VP Media & Entertainment

Alexa-Voice-Assistant-Sports

It is an undeniable fact that virtual assistants and voice-controlled devices have become a part of our life.The recently announced Alexa-Cortana partnership only reaffirms the determination of the leading technology providers to strengthen their position and gain additional market share.

While most people use Alexa and other voice assistants to stream music, listen to radio stations, and control smart home devices, businesses in different industries integrate voice technologies into their operating procedures. The sports industry is no exception.

Alexa Sports Skills Keep Fans Up to Date

Alexa’s jump into the world of sports goes deep by enabling avid sports fans to take advantage of Alexa’s ability to provide much more than merely the scores and schedules of games. A number of sports leagues, teams, and sports media organizations have already enabled their Alexa skills to enhance the experience for die-hard fans. Olympic medal counts and real-time results of events, following favorite teams, finding the channel airing your favorite team’s game, providing answers to an incredible range of questions, including, “When is figure skating?” and “How many medals has [insert favorite athlete] won?” are just a few tasks Alexa can accomplish for superfans.

Baseball fans will love the Baseball Reference skill, illustrating Alexa’s ability to list a multitude of stats, from the leaders in home runs, ERA and batting average to a plethora of historical data. For those who are seeking an in-depth analysis of all major sports, numberFire delves into basketball, baseball, football and hockey to provide insights and alternative examinations. You can even hire Alexa as an assistant coach for your fantasy football team!

These advancements are monumental leaps for sports fans, allowing them to instantaneously find out virtually any detail about an event simply by asking Alexa a question.

Listen Everywhere with Alexa

Voice assistants are helping media companies pioneer new models for delivering audio content. For example, the British Times used Alexa to cover the World Cup and launched their Times Sport Alexa skill. Alexa users in the United States can enjoy premium audio content via TuneIn Live to ensure that they never miss a second of their favorite games from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and more. Thousands of events are covered with play-by-play calls synchronized across multiple Echo devices, allowing fans to hear the game from anywhere in their house to avoid missing a crucial moment.

LOVE SPORT, a London-based sports radio station, is another company making waves in the industry through a collaboration with XAPPmedia to make 10 of its shows available through Amazon Alexa and Echo smart speakers in Australia, Canada, India and the U.S. LOVE SPORT features different celebrity guests on each episode to bring a new perspective to fans while embracing the latest technologies.

Fortune-telling or data-driven prediction

New advancements make Alexa capable of sophisticated sports analysis and predictions, which can be especially interesting for US fans looking to jump into the world of sports betting. For example, Alexa correctly predicted the recent Golden State Warriors win in the NBA finals with a personal touch by providing an entertaining explanation of its reasoning. Prior to the Warriors win, asking Alexa the question, “Who will win the NBA finals this year?” was met with: “Even with both conference finals going to game 7, these playoffs were over before they even started. I think the Warriors will win the playoffs pretty handily, and the rest of the league will spend the off-season trying to figure out what they will do to damper the dynasty.”

Although Alexa’s prediction capabilities continue to improve, it has the potential of becoming a popular tool for bettors to leverage when looking for winners.

Enhancing the Stadium Experience

You know that moment at a sports game when you want another beer and hot dog, but you don’t want to get up and risk missing a big play? Well, Alexa comes to the rescue with Oracle Hospitality’s ongoing development of the assistant’s integration into the point-of-sale (POS) systems in stadiums. You don’t even have to press a button on your phone to send in your order and have it subsequently delivered to your seat. The data generated will be invaluable to the stadiums and other interested parties, allowing companies to gain insight into the habits and preferences of sports fans, thus providing better service next time the fan visits a game.

Is there anything Alexa can’t do? Sergey Bludov, my colleague at DataArt, believes in Alexa’s great potential for business and enterprises.


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