Sevilla FC transforms player recruitment process with IBM watsonx Generative AI

Sevilla FC transforms player recruitment process with IBM watsonx Generative AI

Sevilla FC has introduced Scout Advisor, an innovative tool built on IBM’s watsonx platform, to enhance its player recruitment process.

IBM and Sevilla FC have introduced Scout Advisor, an innovative generative AI tool that Sevilla FC will use to provide their scouting team with a comprehensive, data-driven identification and evaluation of potential recruits. Built on watsonx, IBM’s AI and data platform designed for enterprises, Sevilla FC’s Scout Advisor will integrate with their existing suite of self-developed data-intensive applications.

Sevilla FC’s data department worked with IBM Client Engineering Team to build Scout Advisor, leveraging watsonx’s natural language processing and foundation models to search and analyse massive amounts of information present in the club’s existing databases to evaluate potential recruits. This includes both quantitative data such as height and weight, speed, number of goals or minutes played and qualitative unstructured data such as the textual analysis contained in their more than 200,000 scouting reports.

The solution’s natural language processing capabilities have enabled Sevilla FC to use multiple large language models (LLMs) to help enhance the accuracy and effectiveness of their player identification. Using language prompts from Sevilla FC scouters that describe the key characteristics of the players searched, Scout Advisor generates curated lists of candidates based on stated requirements and summarises the full set of scouting reports for each individual player. Additionally, Scout Advisor links every player to the Sevilla FC’s own data-applications to obtain deep insights about their quantitative performance figures.

Player scouting and recruiting decisions at elite sports teams, especially in the football industry, involve multi-million-dollar investments, long term contracts and high levels of uncertainty on performance and ROI. Traditionally, player recruitment has relied on a combination of subjective human observation and manual data analysis. However, this approach has several limitations, as it is both time consuming and considers only a limited number of factors.

Already widely recognised for its massive database of quantitative player evaluations, the Sevilla FC scouting team has attracted the global attention for its successful track record of identifying rising football stars. In addition, Sevilla FC is a pioneer in the development of its own data-intensive applications targeted to characterise players based on a wide spectrum of quantitative figures. Now, Scout Advisor offers Sevilla FC further competitive advantage – combining their existing capabilities with the use of generative AI to bridge the gap between

metrics-based scouting and human-centric observations that cannot be as easily measured on the pitch. This automated approach is designed to further enhance their player identification process, to help them to make more efficient and informed recruitment decisions.

IBM watsonx capabilities allow Scout Advisor to unlock the full potential of Sevilla FC’s extensive players reports database making possible to search for players using natural language and retrieve potential recruits based on their key quantitative indicators and the detailed opinion that scouting experts have about them. This provides Sevilla FC with potential competitive advantages, in terms of being able to make better-informed recruitment decisions with technology empowered insights.

“We are excited to work with IBM as this project can be a game-changer for Sevilla FC and the whole Sports Industry,” said José María del Nido Carrasco, Sevilla FC’s President. “Our team of scouters and analysts is committed to finding the best players to support our team’s success and have worked tirelessly to build an impressive database of player reports and now, with the support of IBM, we can utilise this asset to its full potential. This gives us a significant advantage in the player recruitment process and enable us to find the best players for our team and continue to improve our performance on the pitch. We believe that this collaboration will have a positive impact not only for Sevilla FC but for the sports industry as a whole. With this tool, Sevilla FC also demonstrates that technology is not just a goal but an intimate companion on the journey towards the future of our entity; it is part of its DNA.”

“We are proud to collaborate with Sevilla FC to use the power of IBM watsonx generative AI to help enhance the accuracy and effectiveness of their player recruitment process,” said Ana Paula Assis, Chair and General Manager at IBM EMEA. “With the appropriate guardrails and governance in place, AI continues to be a game-changer for businesses across many industries looking to modernise operations. In this instance, by producing trusted and explainable insights that advance the goals of a competitive football club while transforming the work of a football scout.”

The collaboration between IBM and Sevilla FC is part of the club’s wider business and technology strategy, which aims to leverage the power of data and AI to enhance their football operations. By integrating the watsonx-based solution into their existing data architecture, Sevilla FC aims to increase the ROI on existing resources with faster, more efficient and better-informed recruitment decisions.

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