As fans around the world get ready to head to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup this June, FOX Sports and IBM are launching a historical AI collaboration across multiple FOX Sports properties and programming— the first of its kind for the broadcaster.
Beginning with the 2018 FIFA World Cup, FOX Sports is tapping IBM Watson Media’s specialized AI video technology and IBM iX’s proven expertise in designing user experiences to streamline production workflows to quickly classify, edit and access match highlights in near real-time. The advancements to production and distribution will enable FOX Sports to curate engaging video clips and match highlights so that sports enthusiasts back home don’t miss a single play, penalty kick, or goal.
Get in the game: streaming the FIFA 2018 World Cup
With 64 matches played over 32 days by 32 competing teams, the World Cup is one of the most highly anticipated global sporting events. The 2014 World Cup attracted 3.2 billion viewers on television and an estimated 280 million online viewers. Overall, 98,087 hours of video footage was broadcast to billions of fans. That requires a huge amount of processing power to streamline production workflows.
“We are delighted to be working with IBM, a leader in the technology space, to help enhance fan experiences and engagement,” said Sarah Tourville, SVP of Sports Brand Activations, FOX Sports.“Our collaboration affords us an opportunity to utilize their technology across multiple properties, helping to drive engagement for our tentpole events in non-traditional ways.”
The collaboration kicks off with the launch of The Highlight Machine. This interactive experience, designed and developed by IBM iX, one of the world’s largest digital agencies and global business design partners, empowers fans to browse FIFA’s archive of past matches and effortlessly create custom highlights from both the historic footage and content from the 2018 tournament. Fans can customize highlights by year, team, player, match, and play type within seconds and share their favorite FIFA moments with the world. Soccer fans will be able to view and filter highlights by team, player, timeframe and type of gameplay like penalty kicks and goals. To extend the post-match conversation on social media, viewers can save, favorite and share highlight reels as well as catch up on games by speedwatching critical, automatically generated clips.
Tackling the technology inside IBM
“To maximize fan engagement, sports broadcasters are driven to showcase relevant gameplay as quickly as possible,” said Kristen Lauria, General Manager of Watson Media and Content at IBM. “This drive is even more critical during tentpole sporting moments like the World Cup. Our project with FOX Sports emphasizes IBM’s focus on aligning its technology to simplify how media brands can efficiently deliver winning fan experiences.”
There’s no sporting event in the world bigger than the FIFA World Cup, and for the 2018 event, FOX Sports worked with IBM Watson Media and IBM iX, to build a world-class football highlights experience. Ultimately, the initiative was driven by FOX Sports’ commitment and content, IBM Watson Media’s video platform and enrichment services, and IBM iX’s decades of work transforming the fan experience for major global sport and entertainment partners.
Building on a legacy of AI for sports
IBM Watson Media provides extensive analysis of objects, people, words, concepts, emotional overtones, and character personalities that help media and entertainment companies deliver more relevant content to consumers, create better matches for advertisers, and add efficiency to video production and editing. Within the realm of sports entertainment specifically, we have collaborated with some of the biggest names in sports, and have brought the AI power of Watson to premiere sporting events like The Masters, Wimbledon, and the US Open.
This collaboration with FOX sports follows the debut of our advanced portfolio of AI-powered cloud video technologies at the 2017 US Open. The US Open leveraged our Cognitive Highlights capabilities, to give tennis fans near-real time match highlights. IBM Watson Media’s video metadata enrichment service helped video editors quickly package and distribute highlight reels in record speeds by automatically identifying and ranking exciting match moments.
Interested in how IBM Watson Media makes sense of the world’s structured and unstructured data across a variety of industries like sports, medicine, and travel? Visit: ibm.com/watson/ and ibm.com/watson/media/
About FOX Sports
FOX Sports is the umbrella entity representing 21st Century Fox’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FOX Sports includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FOX Sports includes the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; FS1, FS2; FOX Sports Regional Networks, their affiliated regional web sites and national programming; FOX Soccer Plus; FOX Deportes and FOX College Sports. FOX Sports also encompasses FOX Sports Digital, which includes FOXSports.com, FOX Sports App and FOX Sports GO. Also included in the Group are FOX’s interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network and BTN 2Go, as well as a licensing agreement that establish the FOX Sports Radio Network.
*This blog post describes an exclusive agreement between IBM and FOX Sports.