Wimbledon to feature AI commentary and draw analysis

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IBM and the All England Lawn Tennis Club have announced new AI-powered features for the Wimbledon digital fan experience that will debut at this year’s Championships.

The features include generative AI commentary and AI draw analysis, aimed at enhancing the engagement and insight for tennis enthusiasts.

Usama Al-Qassab, Marketing & Commercial Director at The All England Club, said:

“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.

This year, we’re introducing new features for our digital platforms that use the latest AI technology from IBM to help fans gain even more insight into the singles draw and access commentary on a wider variety of matches through our match highlights videos.”

AI commentary

The AI commentary feature, developed in collaboration with IBM iX, offers fans watching match highlights videos the option to receive audio commentary and captions of key moments.

The tool aims to provide a more insightful experience when catching up on matches through the Wimbledon App and wimbledon.com. This introduction marks a step towards making commentary available for matches outside of Wimbledon’s Show Courts, which already have live human commentary.

Experts from IBM iX and The All England Club worked together to train the AI using foundation models from IBM’s enterprise AI and data platform, watsonx.

The generative AI employed in this feature produces narration with diverse sentence structures and vocabulary, enhancing the informative and engaging nature of the clips.

AI draw analysis

Another innovative feature introduced this year is the AI draw analysis, a first of its kind in tennis.

Leveraging AI, this feature provides a statistic to determine the favorability of the path to the final for each player in the singles draw. Factors such as match-ups against potential future opponents and the player’s position in the draw compared to competitors contribute to the player’s draw favorability rating.

This unique insight enables tennis fans to uncover anomalies and potential surprises in the singles draw that may not be evident solely by considering the players’ rankings. The feature aims to inspire more debate and engagement within the fan community.

Jonathan Adashek, SVP of Marketing and Communications for IBM, commented:

“IBM is bringing new layers of insight and engagement to the 2023 Championships through the use of innovative new tools, powered by foundation models and generative AI from watsonx.

We’ve seen first-hand how these technologies have the power to help major sporting events like Wimbledon to grow their audiences through outstanding digital experiences. 

The AI and data platform that IBM is using to create unique fan experiences for Wimbledon is the same technology that we’re using to drive business transformation with clients across all sectors and industries.”

These new features complement the existing suite of AI-powered tools available on the Wimbledon App and wimbledon.com. The suite includes the IBM Power Index Leaderboard, IBM Match Insights, and Personalized Highlights Reels and Recommendations.

These digital features leverage IBM’s Watson AI technology to analyse over 100,000 data points from every shot played throughout the tournament, providing fans with a deeper understanding of the players, their opponents, and likely outcomes. The constant updates and tailored insights keep fans engaged throughout the tournament.

Wimbledon will take place from July 3 to July 16, 2023. Fans can witness these AI-powered features in action by visiting wimbledon.com or downloading the Wimbledon App from the App Store or Play Store.

(Photo by Ariv Gupta on Unsplash)

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