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LALIGA, SportBoost hold MEET LALIGA AI event

October 5, 2023

LALIGA and SportBoost organised the first conference on sport-applied artificial intelligence (AI). This event, known as MEET LALIGA, involved numerous personalities from the world of sport, including athletes and LALIGA EA SPORTS and LALIGA HYPERMOTION club executives, as well as experts in artificial intelligence from leading organisations such as Repsol, Microsoft, Telefónica and OdiseIA.

The event was opened by LALIGA President, Javier Tebas, who stated that “at LALIGA we have been using AI and similar technologies to our benefit for more than four years. Blackhole, Marauder, Tyche, and Mediacoach are some of the applications we use at LALIGA every day in order to improve our productivity and results. Being here today, and presenting the MEET LALIGA initiative together with SportBoost is a highlight for us as we are leaders in the fundamental field of Artificial Intelligence”.

Furthermore, Iker Casillas, founder of the startup accelerator SportBoost, emphasised that “since its creation, SportBoost has been focused on helping technology startups that can boost and offer benefits to sport. From the beginning, we have supported many companies that use AI in their technological products. Thanks to the close relationship we have with LALIGA, we will always be on the lookout for new solutions in this field”.

Over the course of the day, various roundtables analysed the role of artificial intelligence applied to sport, as well as to companies linked to the industry. The future of this branch of technology was also discussed, as well as the benefits and possible risks that we might see in the coming years.

The first roundtable, “AI in sport and the involvement of sportspeople within AI companies”, featured athletes such as former Olympic gymnast Almudena Cid; former Olympic athlete Chema Martínez; six-time Guinness World Record holding swimmer Pablo Fernández, who is also founder and president of CliBrAIn, Clicars, Clikalia and Clidrive; and Jorge Lorenzo, Sergio Scariolo’s assistant with the Spanish men’s basketball team and founder of Basketouch Solutions Spain.

They discussed the link between elite sport and AI, in addition to the challenges and opportunities offered by the technology. Furthermore, they also examined the possibility of turning artificial intelligence into a career opportunity for sportspeople, thanks to SportBoost’s P.E.O. programme, which helps them join technology companies, many of which are AI-based, through mentoring, marketing or capital investment, thus contributing their experience as high-performance athletes to this innovative sector.

The second roundtable, “State of the art AI and the future”, had artificial intelligence experts from domestic and international companies present. Juanjo Casado, Chief Digital Officer & Chief Data Officer of Repsol; Richard Benjamins, Chief Responsible AI Officer and Head of AI for Society & Environment at Telefónica, Idoia Salazar, founder of OdiseIA; and Almudena Fernández Tourné, AI Specialist at Microsoft. Together they weighted up the past, current and future challenges of artificial intelligence in Spain.

The final roundtable, “AI case studies and opportunities” featured LALIGA clubs. Participants included Imanol Eguskiza, Innovation & Venture Manager at Barça Innovation Hub; Esteve Rodríguez, Head of Project Management Data Department at Sevilla F.C.; Aitor Jiménez, Chief Strategy, Innovation and New Business Officer for Deportivo Alavés; and Alex Ugarrio, Atleti Lab Director and Deputy Director of Digital Development Atlético de Madrid. Each spoke about how AI is becoming increasingly important in the innovation and technology departments at LALIGA EA SPORTS and LALIGA HYPERMOTION clubs and outlined successful examples of artificial intelligence being implemented at their respective clubs.

Through this event, LALIGA and SportBoost have positioned artificial intelligence in the sports sector as a differentiating, significant and crucial element for the development of technology in the present as well as the future. In fact, the artificial intelligence market is expected to be worth $1,812 billion by 2030, according to Grand View Research, Inc. The global artificial intelligence market was estimated to be worth $136.6 billion in 2022 and is expected have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 37.3% between 2023 and 2030.

This is why, for LALIGA and its clubs, the commitment to artificial intelligence stands as a cornerstone of its areas of innovation, as it seeks to continue to advance and position itself as a global leader in both the sports and technology sectors. Since its inception, SportBoost has been looking for technological solutions that can be applied to the sporting world through startups that help the development of the sector and the sportsperson’s wellbeing.

MEET LALIGA, a springboard into the world of sport

LALIGA and SportBoost announced the “MEET LALIGA” project last May. It was aimed at startups from all over the world and sought to find technological solutions that operate under generative artificial intelligence (AI) models to help optimise individual and collective productivity processes; and solutions that are also based on AI to help improve the sports industry.

More than 110 startups from 27 different countries entered the competition, and of these, four were selected as winners and were able to showcase their projects to the MEET LALIGA attendees. These are the companies that took part and presented their AI-based projects at today’s event.

Loopin, a US company of Indian origin, offers an end-to-end solution for meeting minutes and transcripts driven by artificial intelligence.

PlayHT, from the US, outlined how it covers text-to-speech conversion, voice replication, real-time generation and the production of ultra-realistic voice quality.

Turfcoach, a German company, presented its product, which offers A.I.-based software to optimise the management of natural grass with a patented sensor that scans the entire pitch.

Botslovers, from Spain, explained how it generates A.I.-based virtual assistants for any channel (web, apps, social networks) and language that is developed through its Bot Platform, AI First, No-Code.

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