FOX Sports & IBM Team Up to Transform Production of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France™

Alex Morgan/Sam Kerr Player Data Comparison on Player Spotlight Built with IBM Watson. © IBM 2019

The eighth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ is well underway, with teams from 12 countries battling it out for the championship title. While millions of soccer fans stay tuned to the excitement in France, IBM is teaming up with FOX Sports to help transform production of the event by infusing AI analysis and streaming into its coverage of The Beautiful Game.

This year, FOX Sports is upleveling the viewer experience with a new broadcast segment called Player Spotlight Built with IBM Watson, an AI-backed tool to help generate stat analysis for match commentary using a natural language interface. Watson offers the power to reason, understand, categorize and analyze game footage, further enabling FOX Sports to enhance viewer engagement. With Watson, FOX Sports’ commentators like Alexi Lalas can pull trends and statistics comparing individual and team performance. To produce these tournament trends and game statistics, Player Spotlight ingests detailed tournament data from Opta, a leading data provider that collects and analyses every pass, goal and penalty kick, all in near real-time. FOX Sports commentators then interact directly with the tool by entering queries into the navigation function, which in turn surfaces highlights, data and analytics that the broadcasters can reference on-air.

Cameroon Team Analysis on Player Spotlight Built with IBM Watson. © IBM 2019

“IBM’s AI and live-streaming technology has helped transform our production of key events like the Women’s World Cup,” said Zac Fields, FOX Sports SVP Graphic Tech/Integration. “We look forward to leveraging the advancements in IBM technology to offer fans a comprehensive World Cup experience.”

Building upon the successful remote production of last year’s men’s tournament, FOX Sports is using IBM Aspera’s FASP-streaming technology for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France™. By offering editors in Los Angeles access to HD camera feeds from France within 10 seconds of live play, FOX Sports can avoid deploying equipment overseas. In 2019, Fox is using new real-time auto archiving functionality that helps allow raw, high resolution footage to be stored offsite within seconds of match completion. In total, it’s estimated that roughly four to six petabytes of content will be streamed over the course of the tournament, more than double that of the 2018 Men’s World Cup.

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France™ marks a continuation of our collaboration with FOX Sports. We’re excited to bring soccer fans worldwide one of the best viewing experiences through the power of AI and cloud technology.

Tune into the tournament to see Player Spotlight Built with IBM Watson in action. For more information on FOX Sports coverage of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, visit FOX Sports Press Pass.