Who would have ever thought sports and technology would be intertwined? Well hold on to your hats fantasy football fans because tech giant “big blue,” (IBM) together with Kickstarter’s new kid on the block, Edge Up Sports (EUS) is bringing artificial intelligence to the fantasy game all in one integrated app.
The announcement that EUS became an IBM Watson Ecosystem Partner was made by both companies yesterday, and part of a Kickstarter campaign to raise $35,000 for continued product development.
EUS is developing an app powered by Watson, IBM’s cognitive computing technology. The app will go beyond the basic capabilities of existing fantasy football analysis sites, by collecting and analyzing thousands of sources of unique data such as player Twitter behavior, opinions from analysts and commentators, mental insights, and physical resilience. Most existing sites offer the “latest news” like injury updates and statistical analysis based on past and present team and player performance comparisons and nothing more. There are sites that offer some individual player and situational analysis, but they are limited and not all inclusive. Another difference is that EUP does not host fantasy football leagues, instead dedicates itself to providing unique research to aid in the success of your team, and as an added bonus, New Orleans Saints former tight end, Kyle Kramer helped customize the app.
According to EUS CEO Illya Tabakh, “On a single service, you get all the information through a single analyst, and you still have to read and see what the latest updates are,” adding, “And the projections are generally pretty poor for everybody. One of the things we’re doing is just taking a wider view of the landscape. We think it’s a more complete picture of what’s going on.”
The Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates 57 million people will play in U.S. and Canada fantasy leagues this year, spend an average of $465, and 73 percent will play fantasy football, by far fantasy sports’ favorite game. That’s serious business that’s already a multi-billion dollar industry. FanDuel, an online fantasy football website, estimates the industry’s worth at $4 billion, which will undoubtedly increase substantially as time goes on and popularity increases.
Legalities of fantasy sports wagering and arguments over skill and luck aside, fantasy sports, especially fantasy football is here to stay, and unless you’re a pen and paper, old school fantasy head, you’ve undoubtedly utilized the multitude of fantasy football sports analysis sites that inundate the Internet. While no amount of artificial intelligence or sophisticated app will ever replace an individual’s gut instinct and insight derived from a love of the game, if Edge Up Sports can deliver, it will simplify the never ending research and analysis fantasy sports fans subject themselves to season after season.
Edge Up Sports is close to its $35,000 goal required for continued product development, will launch with the upcoming NFL season, and start as a service available early for its Kickstarter backers, according to information on Kickstarter.com.