IBM deploys GenAI to power new Wimbledon features

IBM has added features to the Lawn Tennis Club’s Wimbledon digital experience based on generative AI (GenAI). IBM’s AI and data platform Watsonx, which is being used to power a Catch Me Up feature for the Wimbledon 2024 lawn tennis championship, displays pre- and post-match player cards with AI-generated player stories and analysis via Wimbledon.com and the Wimbledon 2024 App.

Catch Me Up was built using IBM’s Granite large language model (LLM) to provide AI-generated text using the capabilities of the Watsonx platform. IBM said the model was trained on the Wimbledon editorial style and is being monitored by the All England Club.

According to IBM, the feature is designed to help Wimbledon scale its content to both new and existing tennis fans globally, as well as provide fans access to timelier, curated coverage across ladies’ and gentlemen’s singles matches which are often happening simultaneously. 

This year, Wimbledon will also use generative AI to provide coverage of a broader range of matches than was previously available, including wheelchair events. The enhancements form part of a redesigned digital match centre, known as IBM Slamtracker, which is available on the Wimbledon App and Wimbledon.com. Using generative AI built from Watsonx, IBM Slamtracker offers bullet point-based match previews and post-match reviews for ladies’ and gentlemen’s singles matches.

Chris Clements, digital products lead at the All England Club, said: “We are committed to offering fans the highest quality Wimbledon experience, whether it’s in person or digitally.

“Generative AI allows us to scale our ability to provide different types of content for fans wherever they are in the world in a way that’s personalised for them. This year’s new Catch Me Up feature will make it easier for fans to follow the key storylines as they emerge throughout The Championships.”

The majority of tennis fans are positive about AI, a global Morning Consult survey commissioned by IBM based has reported. Real-time updates (36%), personalised content (31%), and unique insights (30%) are the top three areas tennis fans selected when asked to rate the technologies that would offer a better fan experience.

Among the more interesting results from the survey is that approximately one-third (31%) of global tennis fans surveyed use multiple devices while watching sporting events, primarily to get more information, watch multiple matches at the same time, and interact with other fans.

In addition, nearly half (47%) of them engage with additional content on tennis daily or weekly and rank summarisation and personalisation as the two most important features of sports content.

Discussing the use of AI in the IBM/Lawn Tennis Association partnership, Jonathan Adashek, senior vice-president of marketing and communications for IBM, said: “Our new research confirms they are beginning to understand the positive impact technologies such as generative AI can have on their digital experiences. IBM is also putting these same technologies from our AI and data platform Watsonx into the hands of clients worldwide, across nearly every sector, to address their unique business needs.”

The Championships at Wimbledon will run from 1 to 14 July 2024.


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