Will AI improve your next trip to Ford Discipline? Lions hope so

On the field, analytics helps coaches to optimize play-calling during games through statistical breakdowns of various plays and in-game situations. The Lions also will use analytics to learn things like when and where fans purchase concessions, where they sit in the stand, and how a team’s standing affects fan spending at games.

“Whether it is analyzing ticketing data, concession transactions, retail information or football data there is an opportunity to improve decision-making across our company by using the most up-to-date and accurate data for each project,” Mullinix said. “Our goal is to make sure we’re using data in the most effective way possible to help improve our performance on and off the field.”

Improving the in-game experience for fans is vital during a time when attendance is falling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and more fans opt for an in-home experience, which includes no travel or parking fees and less-expensive drinks and snacks. NFL attendance figures remain strong, unlike a collegiate counterpart that has seen attendance decline every year since 2015.

The partnership begins this month. Both sides declined to share more details on the deal.

Pro sports teams such as the Lions generate mass quantities of data from sources such as ticket sales, concessions, retail, social media, vendors and player stats. The data represents a wealth of information, Wallaroo Labs CEO and founder Vid Jain said in the release.

“… but it’s only valuable if you can understand and apply it to make better decisions. This is where AI comes in,” Jain said. “The Lions’ commitment to applying AI to optimize performance and find new ways to use their data both on and off the field makes this an exciting collaboration for Wallaroo.AI.”

The Lions are very strategic about their partnerships, said Alex Ballew, the team’s director of data strategy and insights. With Wallaroo, Ballew said, the team saw an experienced partner that has used AI to drive positive performance results.

“We look forward to leveraging this technology across our business and providing a better fan experience to our fans,” Ballew said.

Mullinix said the deal is the culmination of the Lions working over the last handful of years to build a strong foundation of analytics across the organization.

“… we’re always trying to identify ways to improve our business, especially through new, innovative ideas,” he told Crain’s. “In order to do that, we are constantly evaluating technology partners and products to ensure we are partnering with the right companies to achieve this goal.”

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