Sage, the business management solutions company with strong ties to rugby, and sports data collection and analytics firm Sportable will bring AI-led insights to sports organizations around the world through a global sports index.

Under the partnership, the global sports index will bring together AI-led insights generated across sports by Sportable’s technology that will provide open access for anyone to identify trends and better understand key indicators of high performance and game strategy.

The first index to be launched will be rugby-focused, with future versions planned for soccer, American football, and others.

Both firms have partnerships with Six Nations Rugby, the organizer of the prestigious international rugby union tournament, with Sage holding official insights partner designation, while Sportable’s Smart Rugby Ball is used in the competition to provide data and insights.

Sage signed its first sports partnership deal in North America with Major League Baseball in October 2022, which followed previous agreements to sponsor The Hundred, the short-format domestic cricket competition in England and Wales, and the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Sportable, meanwhile, specializes in advanced technology that tracks balls and players across several sports, and its hardware is underpinned by AI and machine learning, which turns data points into real-time automated insights on how players and the ball move during a game and in practice.

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The company launched its Smart Rugby Ball with sports equipment brand Gilbert, which was introduced in English rugby union over the summer, with the Premiership Rugby Cup becoming the first professional northern hemisphere competition to trial it in the country.

Sportable also partnered with the Rugby Australia national governing body to implement its ball-track technology during the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season.

Cath Keers, chief marketing officer of Sage, said: “Every day, Sage surfaces insights for customers that help them make the best business decisions. We know sporting success relies on the same blend of insight and instinct, so we’re excited about the potential of this partnership.

“Our brand scale and Sportable’s AI data expertise is a great combination and we look forward to collectively bringing new insights to life across the sports world.

"We are encouraging of our rights holders, and the broadcast partners that they are in they are embracing AI and not just AI but technology overall because the next generation of fans are expecting that within their experience. And so you will fall behind from engaging fan engagement perspective, if you're not embracing these new technologies, and you're doing it in a fun, sympathetic way."

Sportable co-founder and chief executive Dugald Macdonald added: “We first worked with Sage in 2022 after deploying the Smart Ball with our partners at Six Nations Rugby, which Sage went on to present during the 2022 Autumn Nations Series and beyond.

“The Sportable team has created a fantastic, applied technology product that is proven to bring new levels of insight into elite sport both from a performance and fan engagement perspective. To have an opportunity to further bring that to life in partnership with an organization like Sage, and usher in an accelerated period of growth and learning as a result, is truly exciting.”