In an effort to enhance fan engagement, this year’s Wimbledon tennis tournament will incorporate artificial intelligence (AI)-powered commentary and player analysis, enabling fans to connect with the championship on a more profound level.
In a recent announcement issued on Wednesday, June 21, by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and technology company IBM, the world’s oldest tennis tournament revealed its plans to adopt the new technology across its online platforms.
Developed in collaboration with the AELT, a new AI commentary feature powered by IBM’s WatsonX technology will generate audio and captions for match highlights videos. This innovative feature is designed to provide insights into key moments using tennis-specific language.
Usama Al-Qassab, the marketing and commercial director at the AELT, expressed in a statement
“We are constantly innovating with our partners at IBM to provide Wimbledon fans, wherever they are in the world, with an insightful and engaging digital experience of The Championships,”
He added that the AI features would mean fans can access commentary on a “wider variety of matches.”
While human commentary is currently provided for Wimbledon’s “show courts” during the major matches, other events like seniors, juniors and wheelchair matches lack dedicated expert narration.
IBM which has been an official partner of the championships since 1990, is offering a range of AI-powered analysis tools for Wimbledon, including a player ‘Power Index,’ match insights, and personalized highlights reels. This year, their draw analysis feature will introduce a new statistic that assesses the favorability of each player’s path to the singles final.
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According to Jonathan Adashek, IBM’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, the company recognizes the potential of AI technologies to enhance major sporting events like Wimbledon and attract larger audiences by delivering exceptional digital experiences.
According to reports, IBM researchers were already working on AI software with the ability to do play-by-play commentary on sports matches as early as 2019. Most recently, the business reportedly added computer-generated commentary to clips of the Masters Tournament golf championship in April.
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