Watson powers US Open experiences for millions of tennis fans

By | 5 minute read | August 20, 2018

Around the world, tennis fans are eagerly awaiting the final — and arguably most exciting — major Grand Slam event of 2018, the US Open.

This year, approximately 700,000 lucky fans will gather in person to watch the action live at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. They will be joined by more than 10 million fans from around the globe engaging with their own personalized and enhanced tournament experiences courtesy of the UTSA and their digital platforms powered by IBM Watson and the IBM Cloud.

These fans will have their US Open experience supercharged by real-time access to in-game analysis, critical players stats, enriched video highlights, competitive analysis and much more.

Photo credit: Brian Friedman/USTA

Delivering the ultimate guest experience with Watson

In 2018, guests attending matches at the Arthur Ashe stadium can access the Virtual Concierge. Powered by the Watson Assistant API, fans using the “Guest Info” feature in the US Open’s app can use natural language to have their every question understood and answered in real-time by an interactive chatbot. The goal is to empower fans to find anything what they need as they navigate, personalize and reinvent their entire experience of 130 US Open attractions and 900 matches.

New in 2018, the interactive chatbot is now available via Facebook Messenger and across all US Open digital platforms. US Open fans can access the “Virtual Concierge” – available within the Guest Info feature of the Official Apps for iOS, Android, and MobileWeb.

Just like last year, fans in the stadium will now be able to use the mobile app to access news and venue information in real-time, so they can discover who is playing on what court and when, or whether their favorite player is winning. That includes finding the best place to get a hotdog, inquiring about the dining options or transportation. All supported by an interactive map of the venue.

A crowd favorite returns – IBM SlamTracker

A tournament favorite, IBM SlamTracker is available again this year giving fans exclusive access to live dashboards of all matches in progress. Evolving the experience far beyond the scores, IBM SlamTracker takes fans inside the game, delivering insights from 12 years of Slam data that includes 6,350 matches, 946,759 points, and real-time match data.

IBM SlamTracker is better than ever in 2018, with the fan experience revamped to focus on real-time stats for all live matches. There’s also a momentum feature, where fans will be able to see which player has the advantage and how the momentum shifts between the players as the game progresses.

Keys to the Match – IBM SlamTracker’s most exciting feature – adds context to every moment of match play. Fans can understand each player’s strengths and track their progress against performance keys. Fans can even see how two competitors will match up before the game with inbuilt predictive analytics identifying key strategies for each player based on the analysis of prior match ups, accounting for situational variables like ball position, pace of play and more.

Watson watches Tennis to deliver highlights faster

Watson’s technology is empowering the USTA digital teams to deliver the most exciting tournament moments faster than ever. The all-new “AI Highlights from Watson” – a suite of powerful AI solutions on the IBM cloud – is reinventing the highlights production process allowing the USTA to release highlights within minutes of a match’s conclusion.

Watson now watches all the Men’s and Women’s single matches on the 7 show courts within minutes – a task impossible for humans. By absorbing unimaginable amounts of video footage and information in each frame, Watson analyzes match data using visual and auditory queues such as player gestures and crowd reactions. Using this information, “AI Highlights from Watson” curates the tournament’s most exciting moments so the US Open digital team can add or remove shots in near real-time to compile a highlight reel. This reel can quickly be exported to video editing platforms for faster and more powerful storytelling.

These highlights will be shared with millions of fans across all USTA digital platforms, Twitter and YouTube. Fans that ‘favorite’ players in US Open apps will also immediately receive post-match push notifications of highlights, so they can re-watch the excitement immediately.

Enriching fan experiences with new levels of insight

The US Open generates new data every second – on-the-court, off the court, through Twitter, Facebook, on-camera, live feeds on their website, television etc. Through its powerful partnership with IBM, USTA employees from video editors to the C-suite will be able to derive insights from all this data using IBM technologies, helping to enhance the spectator experience.

Throughout the tournament, Watson-powered technologies will analyze and distribute huge volumes of data. Building on 12 years of Slam data, Watson will incorporate millions of data points in real-time from the Chair Umpire, courtside statisticians, the official line calling system, video feeds and speed serve.

All this information will be collected, analyzed, packaged and the distributed across US Open digital platforms powered by IBM. Fans will get exclusive access to unparalleled levels of insight from real-time scoring to player interviews and in-game match changing moments. The can dive into stats across backhand/forehand winners, faults, aces, ball and player positions as well as radar speed readings for serve and return.

Continuing a decades-long partnership to delight fans

IBM has been the “Official Information AI and Cloud Provider” to the US Open since 1990.

IBM Cloud provides the platform for the US Open’s digital platform, allowing the UTSA to scale up and meet a significant spike in demand during the tournament. In addition, Watson for Cyber Security supports the security analysts protecting the US Open’s digital platforms. All of this ensures fans never miss a moment of the tournament.

AI highlights from Watson is also being used to support the USTA with player development. The project will analyze a large number of American player matches from the challenger series, US Open and other events, to create highlight reels. This accelerates the workflow to allow coaches and the USTA player development team to develop stronger US players.

IBM designs, develops and delivers digital experiences for many global sporting events, including The Masters, Wimbledon and the US Open.

With Watson and IBM Cloud, USTA employees turn more channels, more devices and more video content into individualized experiences for over 10 million fans. Learn more about how IBM is working with US Open.

Most Popular Articles