PGA turns to AI to tell better golf stories

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The PGA Tour has unveiled the use of new artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to enhance its digital and broadcast storytelling, with the aim of driving deeper fan engagement and bringing new fans to the sport.

The new tools include a proprietary content relevancy engine, developed with long-time partner Microsoft, which can deliver relevant statistical trends and narratives to broadcasters in real time, drawn from 20 years of historical data and more than 80,000 hours of video content in the Tour’s digital library. The system sifts and converts the data into meaningful insights for producers and commentators within a fraction of a second.

AI is also being deployed directly in the Tour’s own content creation, with the use of ShotLink data combined with WSC Sports’ AI-driven smart video generation platform to provide speed-edited highlights clips for PGA owned channels.

The system, similar to technology being used at the 2018 Wimbledon tennis championships, can shave hours off the video editing process, creating the potential to expand the service – for example by offering highly tailored or individual player highlights packages for distribution to partners worldwide.

In a further innovation, the Tour is experimenting with automated sports journalism, via Quill, the natural language generation platform from Narrative Science. The tool is being used to create written reports on every round of every player, catering to fans’ demand for information on all their favourite stars, regardless of the leaderboard positions.

The latest innovations follow last month’s announcement of a pioneering strategic partnership, which will see the PGA Tour link up with global media giant Discovery to create a multi-platform home for golf and golf fans worldwide.

Steve Evans, senior vice president, information systems, of the PGA Tour said: “The PGA Tour strives to be a leader in sports innovation with a goal of reaching new fans globally.

“In the broadcast truck, decisions on what content airs on television are made in real-time as the story is unfolding in front of everyone. Having compelling and relevant content at our finger tips allows us to instantly provide the broadcast team with supporting information surrounding the action as it happens. Through Artificial Intelligence, we can build systems that continue to learn and develop on their own, allowing the Tour’s platforms to evolve with the fan.”