FLUSHING, N.Y., August 21, 2019 – The USTA announced details of the evolution of its digital properties and related extensions that allow fans to follow the tournament and experience the US Open in new and innovative ways.
In 2019, USOpen.org and the US Open App, developed in partnership with IBM and hosted on the IBM Cloud, will incorporate several enhancements, including AI Highlights, SlamTracker, and the AI Chat Bot, designed to deliver the most-connected and in-depth US Open experience for fans worldwide or on site at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
“For the 2019 US Open, we enhanced the digital properties to deliver a more immersive experience for fans across the globe and to deliver maximum value to the onsite fan,” said Kirsten Corio, Managing Director, Ticketing, Hospitality and Digital Strategy. “With IBM, our longstanding information technology partner, we’ve worked side by side to ensure fans have an exceptional experience on USOpen.org and the US Open App.”
“As a trusted partner for nearly 30 years, we have worked with the USTA to help design and develop the digital experience and bring the US Open to life for more than 10 million fans around the world,” said Noah Syken, Vice President, IBM Sports and Entertainment Partnerships. “By leveraging artificial intelligence, cloud and data analytics technologies, we can drive greater analysis of matches, deliver better insights from the court, and enable a deeper, more meaningful experience for millions.”
The USTA and IBM will again leverage a suite of AI-powered solutions including Watson on the IBM Cloud to analyze matches and create rapid highlights across USOpen.org Digital Properties. IBM Watson analyzes the video for the sound of the crowd, player gestures and facial emotion, and key moments like break points or match points, to determine the highlight-worthy moments in the match. AI Highlights processes hundreds of hours of live video from the tournament, saving the USTA editorial team time and simplifying the video editing process for the USTA and its broadcast partners.
New for 2019, AI Highlights has been enhanced with Acoustic Insights to improve sound analysis and has now been taught to recognize when the ball has been struck, allowing a tighter cropping of highlight clips. Additionally, using IBM Watson Open Scale, Watson can now recognize levels of noise and excitement levels of players, allowing it to remove bias when searching for highlights from players with a particularly popular following or those who are particularly animated on court.
For this year, AI Highlights will create and publish:
Match Highlights: All singles matches will have highlights published to all platforms shortly after the matches conclude.
SlamTracker Highlights: SlamTracker will now combine the momentum and live tabs into a single experience, giving fans an improved and streamlined way to follow match analysis with tournament highlights, real-time updates and point-by-point commentary.
AI Highlight of the Day: The @usopen Twitter account will publish the top AI-ranked highlight each day.
US Open Now
New for 2019, US Open Now will debut as the live companion channel to the core US Open tournament broadcasts. This digital-first lifestyle show will enable fans around the globe to experience the holistic, off the court US Open experience. It will showcase the incomparable festival-like atmosphere on the grounds, including the culinary and cocktail scene, behind the scenes stories and interviews, and will introduce new original content franchises. US Open Now will be streamed live for free on USOpen.org and the US Open App, as well as available on ESPN3 and various broadcast partner platforms around the world, throughout the tournament. Fans will be able to access the first hour of US Open Now programming via the US Open official handle (@USOpen) on Twitter each day.
US Open Discover
New for 2019, US Open Discover allows fans to get up close and personal with legendary players through Augmented Reality. With the US Open App, fans can unlock hidden content and view immersive AR experiences, including the brand new Althea Gibson Garden and the Court of Champions.
Ask the Open
The AI-powered chatbot, “Ask the Open”, expands its already robust presence and service to better assist fans around the globe with any questions they may have. In 2018, then-named “Guest Info”, the chatbot was utilized by hundreds of thousands of fans on USOpen.org, the US Open App, and Facebook Messenger.
In 2019, Ask the Open will now enable fans to buy tickets directly within the chat, powered by Ticketmaster. Using conversational flow, fans can find available tickets for any session and stadium, and search by best price or best seat available.
Ask the Open uses IBM Watson to instantly provide answers to the top questions surrounding the event, including when specific players are scheduled to play, food options around the grounds, and where the nearest restrooms are. The bot now also allows patrons to talk directly with a live person within the US Open Command Center to ensure that all customers have direct access to US Open staff at their fingertips.
The IBM Experience
The IBM Experience, now in its second year, is designed to introduce fans to the technology that powers the digital experience of the US Open for more than 10 million fans around the world. Guests can experience “Watson in Action,” which brings three dimensions of IBM Watson to life, demonstrating how Watson utilizes visual recognition, sound analysis, and natural language understanding to produce AI-generated highlights. In this interactive environment, attendees can create their own AI Highlight, as well find their favorite player’s AI Highlights from the tournament.