Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, July 15, 2024

IBM and Wimbledon Collaborate to Provide Tennis Fans with Enhanced Digital Experience 

IBM and The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) are collaborating to offer fans a more immersive and dynamic Wimbledon digital experience through a new feature called “Catch Me Up”. AELTC owns and operates Wimbledon, one of the most prestigious and historic tennis tournaments in the world. 

Leveraging match data with generative AI capabilities from IBM's AI and data platform, watsonx, the new feature offers AI-generated summaries for every singles player, describing what happened in their last match and the challenges they face in their next one. It’s a quick and easy way to get a summary of the player’s progress through the championships, scheduled to start on July 1. The feature can also create long-form summaries for the day’s action. 

Catch Me Up is available via the Wimbledon website and the Wimbledon 2024 App. Users can personalize the feature to add their favorite players to the list. The pre-match content offered by the new feature includes analysis of recent performance and likelihood-to-win predictions. Post-match content includes match highlights and key statistics. The feature also provides relevant links to any available Wimbledon live streaming or video highlights. 

IBM has been at the forefront of integrating technology into tennis for several decades, enhancing the way fans and players experience the sport. The IBM Slamtracker, introduced in 2012, offers real-time match statistics and predictive analytics.

The advancements in AI have allowed it to offer more nuanced data analytics.  In 2021, IBM enhanced its digital offering with new IBM Power Rankings and also introduced Match Insights with Watson.

“For 35 years, IBM and Wimbledon have been co-creating solutions that make fans feel more connected to all the on-court action, and our new research confirms they are beginning to understand the positive impact technologies such as generative AI can have on their digital experiences,” said Jonathan Adashek, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for IBM.

The Catch Me Up feature is built using IBM’s Granite LLM to provide AI-generated text using the watsonx platform. The model has been trained on the Wimbledon editorial style to deliver a similar style and vocabulary. The AELTC and IBM editorial teams will monitor the outputs, providing a human backstop for potential corrections. 

The new feature could potentially be most useful during the early stages of the championship, when there are multiple matches each day, including some that take place simultaneously. The launch of the new feature will also provide more coverage for lesser-known players, especially those competing in the juniors or wheelchair events. 

The launch of Catch Me Up comes as new research from IBM and Morning Consult shows that more than 55% of global tennis fans surveyed believe that AI will have a positive impact on sports. The respondents expect the biggest improvement in real-time updates, personalized content, and unique insights. 

Nearly one-third (31%) of the respondents use multiple devices to get more information, watch multiple matches at the same time, and interact with other fans. About half (47%) of the fans engage in additional content for news and rankings. Catch Me Up can offer a comprehensive solution by providing real-time updates, in-depth match analysis, and interactive features to meet the growing demand for a more engaging viewing experience.

The multi-decade partnership between Wimbledon and IBM sets the benchmark for technology integration in sports. The launch of the Catch Me Up feature is a testament to GenAI’s growing maturity and versatility. It shows how technology can add real value to the viewing experience for sports fans. Other sports organizations should take note as they explore AI applications. 

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