The prestigious Wimbledon tournament is set to introduce AI-powered commentary in July.
The All England Club has leveraged tech giant IBM’s Watsonx AI platform to create audio commentary and subtitles for its featured video packages. Watsonx is the company’s enterprise data and AI platform. According to IBM, the platform has been trained in the «unique language of tennis.»
The All England Club’s relationship with AI is not entirely new, with the club currently using IBM technology to generate its Player Power Index. The index is one of the tools used to analyze how a tennis player is performing on the court.
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Tennis fans will have access to the innovative video packs when they log into the Wimbledon app or the official tournament website.
During periods of the tournament when an actual human is not available to provide commentary, AI-powered technology is expected to step in and produce subtitles for some videos.
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“I see AI as a complement to the human element, rather than a replacement,” said IBM’s Kevin Farrar. «You can’t replace John McEnroe doing commentary. That human element has to always be there. It’s very complementary and complementary.»
GameOn Technology CEO Alex Beckman, an expert in the AI space, said the method in which Wimbledon plans to implement the technology at this year’s tournament has a proven track record of improving engagement.
«Using AI to deliver highlights to fans…we have a lot of experience and evidence that serving the end user, using AI to deliver highlights, increases engagement in a really great way.» Beckman told Fox News Digital.
«We (GameOn Technology) are seeing a 400% increase in engagement with our NBA videos and highlights from people watching the NBA playoffs at home through chat and the use of personalization. There’s a 27% ticketing click-through rates when you combine AI and highlights.In a format like social, you can see higher engagement rates and happier fans having better experiences.»
The AI-powered analysis will also be used to «discover anomalies» and anticipate «potential surprises» as it determines the likelihood of a particular player advancing to the tournament’s singles final.
«This new perspective will help tennis fans uncover anomalies and potential surprises in the singles draw that would not be apparent from looking at player rankings alone,» IBM said in a statement.
The IBM platform will also aggregate data that will be fed into a chatbot system. The chatbot will then create a tennis-style comment.
Last month, the French Open used AI in an effort to create a better experience for athletes and fans.
«We see what happened at the French Open and what IBM is doing at Wimbledon has really been a great use of AI to enrich the fan experience,» Beckman noted.
IBM said the move is a possible step toward generating AI commentary on full matches in the future.
«For Wimbledon, it’s about providing future commentary on matches that currently don’t have human commentary,» Farrar said. «It’s not based on a specific person or an individual and his style. You can see in the future that you could train him in specific styles, languages and voices. So this is one step on that journey.»
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Beckman also said that GameOn Technology always has the future in mind. The company previously created a chatbot called «Trash Talk with Gary Payton» that allowed hundreds of thousands of people to simultaneously chat with the NBA legend.
«Thinking about the future of broadcasting and allowing people who love a sport to be able to announce that sport using their likeness and using AI to create a better version of that in the future,» Beckman said.