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BT Sport AI 'scripts' the next Premier League season to prove football is unpredictable


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

July 30, 2019 | 4 min read

BT Sport has leveraged big data in an attempt to script the upcoming Premier League football season in work that will generate debate, content and a comprehensive marketing campaign.

BT Sport

BT Sport AI 'scripts' the next Premier League season to prove football is unpredictable

The sports broadcaster worked with data scientists, real-time sports analysts Squawka and Opto to predict the placements of the league’s 20 clubs, the top goal scorers, assists and more using historical data.

Machine learning algorithms laid out how the season will form. BT Sport presenters and pundits including Gary Lineker, Rio Ferdinand, Jake Humphries and new-joiner Robin Van Persie, will be joined by players like Marcus Rashford, Dele Ali, Jack Grealish, Declan Rice and David Luiz to see whether reality will follow the script.

BT Sport is also asking fans to outline whether they subscribe to the footballing prophecy laid to by the machine.

The sixty-one-page script is available for fans to read online. Furthermore, 100,000 shortened versions of The Script will be given out in partnership with The Metro at train stations across the country.

The campaign was created by Wunderman Thompson. Media planning and buying was handled by Essence; meanwhile, PR was run by Pitch Marketing Group.

It will later come to life with outdoor, print and online activity that will look to set out to “bring to life the jeopardy and excitement of the unscripted nature of football”.

Pundit Ferdinand may not be pleased to see that Manchester Untied is plotted to lose more games in a season than it ever has before.

David Stratton, BT brand communications director, said: “’You couldn’t write this!’ is a quote which we heard over and over last season. And so we’ve challenged the biggest minds in sports data, analytics and machine learning to try and do just that. The script of the season is a fascinating read, but not everyone will be happy. This campaign asks the question, does the digital crystal ball have all the answers we usually wait months for? Maybe, or you could watch it all unfold on BT Sport.”

The broadcaster owns the rights to 52 Premier League games in the 19/20 season. It boasts five million subscribers and is the sole UK rights holder for all of the Uefa Champions League and Uefa Europa League

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