IBM and The All England Lawn Tennis Club have announced new features for the Wimbledon digital fan experience that will launch at this year’s Championships.
A new artificial intelligence (AI) feature, leveraging generative AI technology from IBM watsonx, will produce tennis commentary for all video highlights packages during Wimbledon.
In addition, in what is believed to be a first for tennis, the IBM AI Draw Analysis feature will also provide a new statistic to define how favourable the path to the final might be for each player in the singles draw.
The new features expand on the suite of digital tools for fans on the Wimbledon App and wimbledon.com.
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.
To develop the new feature, experts from IBM iX, the experience design partner within IBM Consulting, worked with The All England Club to leverage foundation models from watsonx, IBM’s enterprise AI and data platform, to train the AI in the unique language of tennis.
Generative AI built on these foundation models was applied to produce narration with varied sentence structure and vocabulary to make the clips informative and engaging.
Another new feature IBM will introduce this year is the IBM AI Draw Analysis – the first statistic of its kind in tennis – which uses AI to define how favourable the path to the final might be for each player in the singles draw.
A player’s draw favourability will be indicated with a rating along a scale, based on factors including the player’s match-ups against potential future opponents and how the player’s position in the draw compares to competitors.
This new insight will help tennis fans to uncover anomalies and potential surprises in the singles draw, which would not be apparent by looking only at the players’ ranking, inspiring more debate and engagement in the fan community.
Usama Al-Qassab, marketing and commercial director of the The All England Club, comments: “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.”
Jonathan Adashek, senior vice-president of marketing and communications at IBM, says: “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.”
The new features being introduced this year will add to the suite of AI-powered digital tools for fans available on the Wimbledon App and wimbledon.com. They include the IBM Power Index Leaderboard, IBM Match Insights and Personalised Highlights Reels and Recommendations. Using over 100 000 data points from every shot played across the tournament, analysed by IBM’s Watson AI technology on IBM Cloud, these digital features are designed to make it easier for fans to understand which players to follow, how they compare to their opponents and who’s likely to win. Fans are kept updated and engaged throughout the tournament with fresh insights tailored to the players they’re following.