Wimbledon starts next week and will be more driven by technology than ever before. This year in particular marks a special series of innovations using artificial intelligence.
Working closely with the IBM Watson this year’s major new initiative will be AI-powered automated video highlights.
The AI system created by IBM Research scientists and IBM iX consultants auto-curates highlights from each of the six show courts based on analysis of crowd noise, players’ movements and match data to help simplify the highlight video production process and focus on key moments in the match.
This year’s enhancement will also recognise players emotion to factor in how important they felt a particular point or rally was.
Altogether this is fed to the Wimbledon editorial team and is used to scale and accelerate the video production process for highlight packages and expand the number of potential matches that are turned into highlight videos for fans to watch and share.
In addition, being able to access the content at a clips level will allow the Wimbledon editorial team to maximise their output within their allowed rights footage, whether that be through video footage on the new Wimbledon website or through social media.
“We strive to ensure that our traditions remain relevant in the context of today, and are determined not to rest on our laurels,” said Alexandra Willis, Head of Communications, Content and Digital for the All England Lawn Tennis Championships who run Wimbledon.
“We want to engage with existing as well as new fans around the world, to help them be part of The Championships 2018, especially in what will be such a competitive sporting summer.”
“We want to tell the stories of the phenomenal athleticism of our great players, the gladiatorial nature of the matches they play and explain the sporting narratives that will cut through to our audiences.”
“These technology innovations are at the heart of our efforts to continue our journey towards a great digital experience that ensures we connect with our fans across the globe – wherever they may be watching and from whatever device that may be.”
“We are extending our content offering into Facebook Messenger, allowing fans to access tailored information on scores, news and players within the social platform. It’s also fitting that in this, our 150th anniversary year, we are using AI technology to design our unique celebratory poster, a genuine combination of design and data to provide fans with the unique Wimbledon experience they expect and more.”
IBM has been the official technology partner of Wimbledon since 1990 and 28 years on there are no signs that the changes technology brings to the sport are doing anything but accelerating.