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AI chat bot | © Zapp2Photo/Shutterstock
AI chat bot | © Zapp2Photo/Shutterstock

Tampa Bay Lightning Adds AI Chat Bot to Roster

Picture of Michael LoRé
Sports Editor
Updated: 18 April 2017

They’re a common sight at sports arenas and stadiums — employees holding signs that usually read “How May I Help You?” These customer service reps are there to aid patrons in finding their seats, point to the nearest bathroom and answer any other queries related to the game-day experience.

As technology continues to advance, these human reps might become a thing of the past. The Tampa Bay Lightning are implementing an in-arena artificial intelligence customer service chat robot for the 2017-18 NHL season.

The Lightning partnered with Satisfi Labs to launch “ThunderBot”, which will answer fans’ questions regarding parking, concessions, ticketing and more. ThunderBot will operate across multiple channels, including the team’s website, Lightning text club (61873) and NHL and Amalie Arena apps. The Lightning’s Facebook messenger page will be an option in the near future.

“This new technology will make it much easier and convenient for our fans to attend games and follow the Lightning,” Tampa Bay Vice President of Marketing Eric Blankenship said in a statement.

ThunderBot had an initial run during the final month of the 2016-17 season and will be fully integrated for the upcoming season. The AI chat bot will evolve and change answers to better suit questions over time. As a fail safe, there will be a feature to have a real-time chat with a team rep if the bot doesn’t provide the necessary answer to a question.

Utilizing robots and AI chat bots for our benefit will be commonplace sooner rather than later. LG introduced an Airport Guide Robot to assist passengers with boarding times, updated gate information and weather at their destination.

So, you might be able to order your hot dogs, beer and grasshoppers?! at a sports event via an AI chat and/or robot before you know it.