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How IBM uses AI to identify match highlights for Wimbledon.

Through their continued partnership with IBM, Wimbledon are at the cutting edge of broadcast technology. Here's how it works and why it's important. 

Photo Source: IBM/ Wimbledon
Highlights, whether sports, film, or television, are the fastest growing segment of video, with the enterprise video market expected to grow to nearly $20 billion by 2023. Aiming to grab more of that burgeoning market, content creators can use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse massive amounts of video and data.
And this goes for sports rights holders, too. 
A great, and very timely example of this is Wimbledon, and their continued partnership with IBM. Thanks to the ‘ground-breaking AI systems used by IBM Watson’, the best highlights from multiple matches at Wimbledon are able to be captured simultaneously.
With over 18 courts and up to four matches per court each day, hundreds of hours of footage are produced. This would ordinarily take a team of editors a huge time to compile into highlights packages. However, as the AI highlights system continuously tracks the action and ranks every point, highlights packages are created within 2 minutes of a match finishing.
The system, which watches player reactions, listens to crowd excitement levels, and analyses the gameplay statistics, enables Wimbledon to deliver unmissable moments without delay. 
As a rights holder, this gives Wimbledon the ability to have new conversations with its audience, and to better engage with fans from around the world. 
Furthermore, as IBM explain, “Auxiliary engagement channels, such as widgets or mobile apps, can drive ad inventory by creating relevant, contextual fan experiences that resonate with an advertisers’ message. In an ad-funded sports model, this experience creates ad slots that can be monetized.” 
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Photo Source: ITV/ Love Island
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) would have been hoping that increased coverage on free-to-air TV this summer would get cricket in front of new audiences.

However, they probably weren't expecting said coverage to be on ITV... 

Yesterday, Love Island returned and while viewing figures are not yet available, last year's launch edition was the most watched show of the year among young people across all channels.

This year's edition of the show features Hugo Hammond, a 24-year-old PE teacher from Hampshire, who was born with club foot, and is the first contestant with a physical disability. 

Hammond has represented his country, playing cricket for England PD (Physical Disability) around the world in places such as Bangladesh and Dubai.

As such, it provides the ECB with an amazing opportunity alongside The Hundred to get conversation going around the sport as well as boosting the profile of their development programmes. I hope they take full advantage. 
Here's a few of the top articles that I've come across this week. I hope you enjoy!
Photo Source: The Indian Express
Governance and Finance
  • Investment firm RedBird Capital has acquired a 15% stake in Rajasthan Royals, valuing the IPL franchise at $250m. 
  • The MLS will launch a development league next year, aimed to bridge the gap between youth academies and first-team rosters. 
  • Nike has reported that sales have almost doubled in the past year to $12.34 billion. 
Photo Source: Alyssa Van Lanen - DGPT
Sponsorship and Marketing
  • Disc golfer Paul McBeth's $10m endorsement deal is a great example of the surprisingly rich world of niche sports influencers.
  • Ralph Lauren have included Son Heung-min as one of the faces for their new campaign ahead of Wimbledon.
  • Tourism Ireland has teamed up with Ubisoft to showcase the beauty of the country, in-game. 
Photo Source: British Athletics
Broadcast and Media
  • British Athletics streamed Olympics athletics trials on its website after BBC refuses to pay ($) for broadcast. 
  • Last week, Inter Miami CF gave a debut to a suite of major enhancements to its match-day live-streaming experience.
  • Audacy have struck a multi-year deal to become the official podcast partner of MLB and will produce and distribute official audio content.
Photo Source: Team Qhubeka NextHash

For the latest edition of the Sports Pundit Networking Series, I caught up with my Sports Pundit Explains... podcast co-host, Murray Barnett. Murray is also the proud Founder of 26West Sport and Director of D2C Sport.

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