No matter what you call it — soccer, football, or fútbol — it’s the world’s game. Traditionally, clubs or teams find good players by turning to scouts. A team in Spain, however, is revolutionizing the scouting process with artificial intelligence.

Sevilla FC

Sevilla FC players training; Photo: Sevilla FC

Sevilla FC is a professional team in Spain’s top league…but they tend to stay towards the bottom of the standings. Because they are not the best team in the world, scouting players to join their team can be tricky. Sevilla FC recently partnered with IBM to introduce Scout Advisor. It’s an innovative generative AI tool built from IBM’s AI and data platform watsonx.


Scout Advisor

Scout Advisor is built from IBM’s AI and data platform called watsonx; Photo: IBM

As artificial intelligence makes its way into sports, Sevilla is jumping on the opportunity with Scout Advisor. The program analyzes the massive amount of data that is already in Sevilla’s database, including evaluations for potential recruits. Among the information is qualitative data such as a player’s height and weight, speed, number of goals scored, and the amount of time played in a game.  Scout Advisor can evaluate over 200,000 reports that already exist for players in Sevilla’s database.

Scout Advisor then looks for trends among the existing scouting reports. It’s capable of enhancing the accuracy and effectiveness of player identification and lets teams know if their information on a player proves to be a good fit. IBM and Sevilla agree that this approach is less time-consuming and takes in more factors than an eye test.

After all, human observation and manual data input/analysis take time. With Scout Advisor, IBM and Sevilla believe it opens up new factors that a person won’t — or can’t — consider. Many multi-million dollar contracts rely heavily on uncertainty because teams don’t know, just by watching, how a young player will pan out in 5 or 10 years.

Competitive Advantage

Luckily, Sevilla is known for their ability to scout new players. They have success in that area already. By the time the young stars make strides in the league, a bigger team typically comes in to try and acquire them. Sevilla FC now believes they will be at a bigger advantage when it comes to scouting because of the ability of AI.