LAUSANNE, November 14, 2023 – In the changing world of sports, digital technologies are reshaping how we experience our favourite games. From the Internet of Things (IoT) to blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI), the sports industry is transforming. While more people often focus on the benefits for athletes, federations, and fans, it’s crucial to think about what this means for sports journalism. How will these tech changes impact the old tradition of storytelling in sports, and where should we draw the line when it comes to using AI?
During the second day of the IF Forum in Lausanne, Christian Mueller, founding partner of Partners of Sport, shared his vision of going beyond using technology. A plan to reshape how the public sees and engages with sports. “So let’s explore some possible answers,» said Mueller.
NECESSARY GOAL Mueller’s first goal is to boost viewership strategically. «Increasing our even stable viewer numbers is no longer guaranteed. This is a very important target,» he explained. Recognizing the drop in traditional media revenue vital for sports, he suggests a two-pronged approach. That includes not only increasing on-site spectators but also improving screen-based experiences. In a situation where viewer numbers aren’t guaranteed, Mueller sees this as crucial to ensure the financial health of the sports ecosystem.
AI AND SPORTS JOURNALISM Mueller emphasises using AI to give fans more interaction through “personalised experiences and responses” and the importance of the content creators. However, from a journalistic point of view, there’s a fine line between improving efficiency and risking the integrity of sports journalism. While AI can make data analysis and storytelling more efficient, the risk of losing the human touch in storytelling is there. Striking the right balance between using the “new technology” efficiently and preserving the unique human element of journalism is a challenge.
We are facing the impact of digital changes, hence collaboration is a key strategy. Sports organisations, journalists, and tech developers need to work together to set ethical boundaries. The integration of AI in sports journalism should be viewed as a «collaborative effort» to enhance, not replace the profession.
There must be an importance of collaboration, ethical considerations, and a balanced approach to integration. As the sports industry embraces the digital age, we, as journalists, must evolve while keeping the core values that make it an integral part of the sports experience.