Following Wimbledon, IBM Serves Another Ace by Bringing Generative AI to the US Open


Last month, I wrote about IBM bringing generative artificial intelligence to Wimbledon as part of its partnership with The All England Tennis Club. The AI capabilities are made possible via IBM’s watsonx, a powerful and enterprise-ready AI and data platform. Read about its use cases for Wimbledon companies and fans alike here.

Now, via IBM and the United States Tennis Association (USTA), watsonx has hopped the pond and will be utilized for new digital fan features that’ll appear on and on the US Open app, adding AI integrations to the tennis ball fluff and competitive stuff of yet another Grand Slam.

As I wrote in my Wimbledon-related piece, this type of tech is essentially a first for the sport of tennis (apart from the Hawk-Eye Live line-calling system that’s been around since roughly 2001). So, IBM is changing the game by adding next-gen tech to a global game deserving of such promising upgrades.

“IBM is bringing new layers of insight to the 2023 Championships. AI that defines how favorable a player’s path to the finals might be – with scaled ratings based on match-ups and match histories – brings us closer to drive digital transformation and create a new way fans can enjoy outstanding experiences,” said Jonathan Adashek, IBM’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

IBM wastonx-powered AI Commentary utilizes models built, trained and deployed with wastonx. So, throughout the entirety of the US Open, AI will automate production that becomes boosted by detailed audio narration and captions to accompany highlights from the tourney; for every match, no less, across all seventeen US Open courts.

In addition to the AI Commentary, the IBM wastonx-powered AI Draw Analysis utilizes, per IBM, “both structured and unstructured data from IBM Power Index & Likelihood to Win.” This helps project levels of advantage and disadvantage for all players in the US Open’s singles draw. Each player will receive an IBM AI Draw Analysis profile right at the start of the tournament; this will then be updated daily as matches progress. Each draw is ranked, allowing fans to click into individual matches and see what projected difficulties players face.

"Fans accessing the US Open digital experiences this year will be able to kick back and experience every singles match – across all seventeen courts – with our detailed audio narration and captions accompanying each video, thanks to IBM’s watsonx generative AI, specifically trained on the language of tennis," Adashek added. “The AI Commentary feature is designed to enable businesses to accelerate generative AI work by leveraging foundation models and machine learning in one place, and with their own data."

"Delivering a digital fan experience that showcases every key moment and every single storyline from the US Open is our top priority, and IBM's development leadership has continually enabled our fans to connect," said Brian Ryerson, Senior Director, Digital Strategy, USTA. "We're particularly excited this year for fans to experience IBM's AI Commentary with watsonx for all official Singles Highlights, providing deeper insights than ever before. Additionally, with the watsonx powered AI Draw Analysis, fans can easily visualize each player's potential opponents and roadmap their complete path to the finals, allowing greater insight into each round's potential match ups."

Together (given that IBM has been the official tech partner of the USTA for more than 30 years), the two are showcasing fan features that create a set of world-class digital experiences, enhancing the drama and excitement for millions of US Open fans.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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