IBM, the US Open’s digital partner, has unveiled new fan experiences that use artificial intelligence (AI) and hybrid cloud to provide millions of fans around the world with player and match information, allowing them to enjoy the iconic tennis Grand Slam in new ways.
With real-time rankings and insights on the US Open app and USOpen.org, IBM is helping to improve the US Open digital experience by utilising AI to keep fans more informed about the players and matches.
The tournament’s new IBM Power Rankings with Watson and Match Insights with Watson, which employ AI and natural language processing (NLP) to analyse data and provide important insights ahead of each of the tournament’s 254 singles matches, run on IBM Cloud with Red Hat OpenShift.
IBM Power Rankings with Watson and Match Insights with Watson will also be integrated into the tournament broadcast on ESPN, and in the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA), daily show, “The Changeover.”
IBM Power Rankings with Watson, launched at the 2021 Wimbledon Championship, are AI-powered daily rankings of player momentum that will be used at the US Open for the first time this year. The typical tennis tour ranking systems use 52 weeks of historical data to quantify player performance. IBM Power Rankings takes this further by focusing on a player’s most recent history. It combines advanced statistical analysis, Watson Discovery’s NLP capabilities and the secured and open IBM Cloud to analyze player performance data; mine media commentary; measure player momentum; and, highlight it’s determination of the most compelling matchups.
Match Insights with Watson uses Watson Discovery to create AI-generated fact sheets to help fans quickly get up to speed ahead of every singles match during the tournament. First launched in 2020, Match Insights with Watson is enhanced with updated features including “In the Media,” to extract key insights about each player from news sources, and “By the Numbers,” which uses natural language generation (NLG) to translate historical statistics into sentences and then uses IBM Decision Optimization for Watson Studio to help select which insights to display to fans.
IBM Power Rankings and Match Insights can also help fans better understand what the data is saying about players ahead of upcoming matches with new features including “Likelihood to Win,” “Ones to Watch,” and “Upset Alerts”.
The work that IBM does with the USTA for the US Open — including digital fan experiences, cyber security, digital property support and more — is built on a hybrid cloud infrastructure that includes IBM Cloud, Watson for Cyber Security, and IBM Watson’s enterprise-grade AI capabilities. These are the same technologies IBM is using to digitally transform clients in a variety of industries around the world.
“Our partnership with IBM enables us to offer advanced data-driven insights to millions of fans worldwide watching or attending the tournament,” said Kirsten Corio, Managing Director, Ticketing, Hospitality and Digital Strategy, USTA. “Behind the scenes, IBM Cloud allows us to have the flexibility and security to power our remote operations, innovate new features year over year, and ensure that the US Open Digital Properties run flawlessly to deliver the tournament to the world.”
“Since last year’s entirely virtual tournament we’ve learned even more about what fans are looking for and how technology can help execute a tournament of this scale,” said Noah Syken, Vice President of Sports & Entertainment Partnerships, IBM. “We’re excited to bring that insight into our continued partnership with the USTA, and to help leverage our AI and cloud expertise to make the tournament more engaging for fans via the digital platforms and their new fan experiences, and the behind-the-scenes technology that helps enable the tournament.”