IBM and the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced a series of AI-powered innovations for the Wimbledon Tennis Championship.
Despite the mainstream media crying out, “You cannot be serious?!” AI is not replacing actual commentators.
Instead, IBM is adding commentary to video highlights, including for matches without any live commentary.
The AI tools are designed to digitize fan experiences with AI-generated commentary and draw analysis, aiming to enhance engagement and provide data-driven insights for spectators.
Usama Al-Qassab, Marketing & Commercial Director at The All England Club, said, “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.”
IBM was quick to highlight this doesn’t affect live tennis matches, which will receive commentary as usual. These novel AI features are accessible through the Wimbledon App and wimbledon.com only.
IBM Sports Partnerships Leader Kevin Farrar said: “I see AI as very much complementing the human element, rather than replacing it.”
However, Farrar suggested the software could eventually be used for live match commentary. “You can see in the future, you could train it in different styles, and it opens up other possibilities in the future, around different languages, different voices. This is a step on that journey,” he said.
AI features at Wimbledon
The AI commentary feature provides text and audio commentary for match highlights, including some that aren’t aired on terrestrial TV. The AI produces commentary with diverse sentence structures and vocabulary.
The AI draw analysis feature provides AI-driven insights into match stats and draws throughout the championship.
Jonathan Adashek, senior vice president of marketing and Communications for IBM, added: “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.”
By harnessing IBM’s Watson AI technology, AI models will analyze over 100,000 data points from every shot played throughout the tournament. The analysis provides fans with an enriched understanding of the players, their opponents, and potential outcomes.
Fans can experience these AI-powered features firsthand by visiting wimbledon.com or downloading the Wimbledon App from the App Store or Play Store.