IBM, a leading technology company, announced on Wednesday that their AI-powered commentary tool will be used for all video highlights during Wimbledon, allowing fans to engage with the tournament on a deeper level.
According to IBM’s press release, the AI commentary feature will be accessible through the Wimbledon website and app, enabling fans to toggle audio commentary and captions on and off for key moments of the matches. The introduction of this technology aims to make commentary available in an exciting way for matches outside of Wimbledon’s Show Courts, which already have live human commentary.
To develop the AI system, experts collaborated with Wimbledon organisers to train it in the unique language of tennis. This technology builds upon Wimbledon’s existing use of AI, which includes match insights, highlight reels, and a power index leaderboard. Additionally, AI will provide a draw analysis for the singles draw, calculating players’ chances of reaching the final.
Kevin Farrar, IBM’s sports partnerships leader, emphasised that AI is meant to complement rather than replace the human element in sports commentary. He highlighted the irreplaceable presence of renowned tennis figure John McEnroe, stating, “You can’t replace John McEnroe doing commentary; that human element always needs to be there.” Farrar sees AI as a supplement that enhances the overall commentary experience.
Wimbledon 2023 is scheduled to commence on July 3 and conclude on July 16. This announcement aligns with the broader trend of embracing technology in tennis. In April, the men’s ATP Tour revealed plans to replace on-court line judges with electronic line calls starting in 2025. The adoption of AI aims to optimise accuracy and consistency across tournaments.
IBM’s AI-generated commentary was also employed during golf’s Masters tournament in April, providing insights and analysis for over 20,000 video clips throughout the event. As sports continue to embrace technological advancements, AI is becoming an integral part of enhancing the viewing experience and delivering comprehensive coverage to fans worldwide.