Artificial Intelligence

AI fast-forwards sporting highlights

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Author: Isuru Fernando, Country Design & Technology Officer, IBM New Zealand

Aussies and Kiwis love their sport. They love playing it and watching it – whether it’s on a Saturday morning watching the kids playing footie or at home cheering their team to victory on the TV.

For sport lovers at home, broadcasters are creating innovative, and highly-personalised user experiences that engage with viewers like never before.

Machine learning and visual recognition are enriching the fan experience

AI is upping the game for sports highlights by using learned cues to analyse and choose which televised sporting moments to package into videos for various audience segments. This frees up editorial teams to focus on other relevant content.

The Masters

For more than 20 years, IBM and Augusta National Golf Club have worked together to create innovative digital experiences. This year, eighty-seven golfers were competing in the days’ events, with Tiger Woods winning his 15th major. However, this year was a little different. For the first time, female golfers were invited to play in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur (ANWA).

Thousands of highlight clips are created each day, which is a significant challenge for the production crew who needs to classify, sort and package clips for distribution to patrons across the various Masters digital platforms.

Using IBM Watson Media, the creation of the clips is now automated. The production teams can view the clips on a dashboard that helps streamline the organisation and rapid assembly of highlight clips and packages. Designed and developed by IBMiX, the AI Highlights dashboard helps to improve management and distribution of clips by enabling production teams to catalogue, sort and select clips for download and distribution across digital channels and social media.

Round in three minutes

IBM Watson Media technology also helps the Masters tell the story of the Tournament by leveraging AI to automatically assemble highlight compilations of the most exciting moments of each golfer’s round. Known as the “Round in Three Minutes,” these video packages are enriched with metadata – such as the player’s name and the hole in which the stroke took place – and run against a set of rules that help ensure the best clips are included in the round summary.

These innovations come from a Tournament that has regularly pushed the technological boundaries for more than two decades. Moreover, it’s all made possible by IBM Cloud‘s powerful hybrid cloud environment, game-changing AI, and enterprise-grade security that protects data no matter where it lives.


For 29 years IBM has been the official supplier of Information Technology and consultant to the All England Club and The Championships, Wimbledon.

In 2018, the AELTC collaborated with IBM in redesigning and rebuilding the official event website, increasing its use of AI and launching a Facebook Messenger chatbot.

AI Highlights, a solution designed to auto-curate video highlights packages for fans to view and share, used IBM Watson Visual Recognition technology. The platform analyses player movements and facial expressions to identify strong emotion. The solution combines this input with noise levels from the crowd and other critical data points, with rapidly selected highlights from hundreds of hours of match footage. Also, with a new editorial dashboard for 2018, digital editors could easily create customised content packages with compelling moments from across the Wimbledon Fortnight.

The IBM iX team launched a new AI chatbot on Facebook Messenger. Powered by IBM Watson Assistant technology, Wimbledon Messenger served as a virtual assistant for remote fans, fielding queries and chatting about players, scores and other news. In addition to directing Facebook users to Wimbledon’s official digital platform for more information, the chatbot enabled fans to follow selected topics for automatic updates.

Beyond sports

While AI cannot replace the human touch creatively, it can free up humans to be more creative by optimising workflows and media processes to gain more value from content.

If you’d like to learn more about how AI is transforming the sports broadcast industry, you can download the IBM Institute for Business Value’s ‘AI fast- forwards video for sports highlights’ report here.

Or join us at IBM’s Think Summit in Sydney on 22 May. It’s where you’ll meet the leaders and change-makers who are reinventing how the world works. Register here.

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