World Cup 2018

2018 FIFA World Cup: Fox Sports Taps IBM Watson AI to Streamline Highlights Creation

Collaboration will mark launch of ongoing Fox partnership; 'The Highlight Machine' debuts with FIFA archive

Beginning with the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Fox Sports and IBM are launching a AI collaboration across multiple Fox Sports properties and programming. Fox Sports is tapping IBM Watson Media’s specialized AI video technology and IBM iX’s expertise in designing user experiences to streamline production workflows to quickly classify, edit and access match highlights in near real-time. 

“We are delighted to be working with IBM, a leader in the technology space, to help enhance fan experiences and engagement,” says 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 entire archive of past matches and 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.

There will 300 archive matches from 1958-2014, including every final, most knockout matches, historic matches and epic upsets, and games played by the winning team. The platform will also spotlight classic players like Pele, Maradona, de Cuyff, Zidane and more. Every match from 2018 will be available within minutes of the final whistle, and users can view highlights by year, team, player, match, play type or any combination.

“To maximize fan engagement, sports broadcasters are driven to showcase relevant gameplay as quickly as possible,” says 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.”

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. The IBM Watson technology has also been utilized on other premiere sporting events, including The Masters, Wimbledon, and the US Open.

This collaboration with Fox Sports follows the debut of IBM’s advanced portfolio of AI-powered cloud video technologies at the 2017 US Open. The US Open leveraged IBM Watson’s 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.

Information from this article was provided by David Mowrey, Head of Product and Development, IBM Watson Media


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