US tech giant IBM has introduced new artificial intelligence (AI) features to one of tennis’ longest standing competitions, Wimbledon.
Wimbledon fans now have the option to turn on AI commentary when viewing video highlights on the Wimbledon app and wimbledon.com.
The commentary uses IBM’s AI platform, Watson, to draw on ball tracking data and information regarding the types of shot and positioning of players on the court.
The AI commentary, which can be toggled on or off, is meant to “give fans a more insightful experience when catching up on key moments from matches,” according to IBM.
Generative AI was applied to produce the narration, featuring male and female voices, with no human input.
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Wimbledon’s show courts will continue to have live human commentary, with the BBC broadcast narrated by John McEnroe and Tim Henman during live play.
The feature was developed by experts from IBM iX, the experience design partner within IBM Consulting, which worked with The All England Club.
The IBM AI Draw Analysis feature uses AI to define how favourable the odds are for each player in the singles draw, helping identify potential outliers in the singles draw.
The feature provides a description of how difficult a player’s match with a possible future opponent is as well as how likely they are to move through each part of the tournament and reach the final.
The tool users a traffic light-style rating: favourable is indicated as green, neutral as amber or difficult as red.
Carlos Alcaraz was indicated as having the second most favourable draw compared to other players left in the field, with a 79% change of winning against Jérémy Chardy in the gentlemen’s singles first round.
“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,” said Jonathan Adashek, IBM senior vice president of marketing and communications.
“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,” Adashek added.