Wimbledon adopts AI commentary to elevate sports broadcasting

Onur Demirkol
Jul 4, 2023

This year's Wimbledon tennis tournament will feature AI-powered commentary and player analysis in an effort to increase audience engagement. This will allow fans to obtain analysis specific to the players they follow.

AELTC and IBM worked together to create a brand-new AI commentary function that would provide audio and captions for match highlights videos. This novel feature uses tennis-specific jargon to offer insights into significant events.

The function examines player location ball tracking data and the kinds of shots being played on the court using IBM's Watson artificial intelligence platform. The AI then provides comments using the supplied data.

Jonathan Adashek, senior vice president of marketing and communications at IBM, claims that the corporation is aware of the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to improve important athletic events like Wimbledon and draw greater viewers by providing superior digital experiences.

wimbledon ai

IBM iX specialists collaborated with All England Club for the Wimbledon AI commentary

An interesting and educational narration with a wide range of sentence structures and vocabulary was produced using a generative AI model based on the foundation language models. As mentioned in IBM's official announcement, IBM iX specialists worked with the All England Club to educate AI in the language of tennis in order to create this commentary.

"The new AI Commentary feature will provide fans watching match highlights videos with audio commentary of key moments, along with captions, which they can toggle on or off. The tool has been designed to give fans a more insightful experience when catching up on key moments from matches with highlights videos on the Wimbledon App and wimbledon.com. Its introduction this year is a step towards making commentary available in an exciting way for matches outside of Wimbledon's Show Courts, which already have live human commentary," IBM said in the announcement.

It's not the first time artificial intelligence has been used for sports commentary. AI commentary was present during the US Masters golf competition in April.

The viewers have the choice to turn commentary on or off. If they would rather hear only the noises of the court, such as the ball striking a racket and the cheers of the audience, they can do so.


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