IBM unveiled a slate of new AI-powered tools on Friday centered around the US Open, which kicks off in New York City on Monday.
Tennis fans will have a bevy of the new match and player information available to them thanks to IBM, which built out the tools on the US Open app and USOpen.org. The company created a new IBM Power Rankings with Watson as well as Match Insights with Watson, which is run on IBM Cloud.
The Match Insights tool uses AI and natural language processing to provide fans with data on all of the tournament's 254 singles matches. The tools will also be incorporated into the television broadcasts of the tournament on ESPN and on the United States Tennis Association's (USTA) daily show, "The Changeover."
Kirsten Corio, the managing director of ticketing and digital strategy at the USTA, said the partnership with IBM enables them to offer advanced data-driven insights to millions of fans worldwide watching or attending the tournament.
"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," Corio said.
The "Power Rankings" tool will attempt to capture a player's momentum by using their performance over the last year to gauge how well they're playing. IBM said it would be updated daily.
The new features will also include things like "Likelihood to Win," "Ones to Watch," and "Upset Alerts," packed with percentages, odds and other information.
Some of the tools, like "Ones to Watch," have already been used before. IBM said it used the "Ones to Watch" feature at Wimbledon and identified Matteo Berrettini as a potential breakthrough player. He ended up making the tournament final.
IBM has also worked with the US Open to create the first fantasy sports experience for tennis. Superfans of the sport can create fantasy teams of their favorite male and female tennis players, with four of each needed to fill out a roster. Users will be able to adjust their rosters before the fourth round of the tournament and will get points each time their players win a match, serve an ace or break a serve.
Noah Syken, vice president of sports & entertainment partnerships at IBM, said the company learned from last year's entirely virtual tournament about what fans are looking for and how technology can help execute a tournament of this scale.
"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," Syken said.