Ex-Manchester United Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward has been appointed as a Strategic Advisor for AI sports company SentientSports.
Woodward will also serve as a Non-Executive Board Member effective immediately and will use his experience in sports business to enhance SentientSports’ strategic vision of “revolutionising the sports industry” through AI.
The company also received investment during a pre-seed round earlier this year by Azur Sports, allowing SentientSports to expand its commercial growth over the next 12 months.
Woodward stated: “I am excited to be joining the SentientSports board and working alongside Ryan (Beal) and the team. The blend of sports and AI technology at SentientSports is truly cutting-edge.
“With some of the industry’s leading AI talents involved, I see tremendous potential for innovation and expanding global digital fanbases. I’m thrilled to be part of such a dynamic company with the potential to revolutionise the global digital sports landscape.”
SentientSports was founded in 2020 by Southampton PhD students Dr. Ryan Beal, Tim Matthews, and Professor Gopal Ramchurn, with an aim to take cutting-edge research from the lab into the sports industry to how professional sports teams interact with data using AI.
Initially, the focus was on enhancing player recruitment strategies by integrating forward-looking analytics with simulation to provide risk assurance for multi-million dollar decisions.
The former Manchester United exec left his role at the football club in February 2022 where he oversaw the club’s large commercial growth in his decade-long tenure, despite also being criticised for a lack of astute transfer window signings by fans and the media.
Woodward joins the board chaired by Professor Ramchurn, who was also appointed CEO of Responsible AI UK, a £31m research programme to develop a global ecosystem for responsible AI practices.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ed Woodward to SentientSports”, said Dr Ryan Beal, CEO and Founder of SentientSports.
“Woodward brings unparalleled expertise from his time at one of the world’s largest sports brands, along with a proven track record in driving commercial success, Ed’s insights will be an invaluable asset to our team.
“As SentientSports continues to grow, Ed’s understanding of sports tech will help us to optimise our advanced AI technologies to help our partner clubs grow their global digital fan bases.”