IBM Brings Generative AI Commentary and Hole-by-Hole player prediction in Golf.
IBM unveils a new iteration of its “Let’s create” campaign during this year’s Masters Tournament, featuring golfer Kurt Kitayama.
ARMONK, N.Y., March 28, 2023 – IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the Masters Tournament, today introduced two innovative new features as part of the award-winning Masters app and Masters.com digital experience, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated spoken commentary. Expanding on the popular MyGroup feature — which enables patrons of the Masters digital platforms to watch every shot, on every hole, from all their favorite players — the AI commentary solution will produce detailed golf narration for more than 20,000 video clips over the course of the Tournament. It is the latest example of how IBM and the Masters are working together to create digital fan experiences that offer unparalleled access and in-depth insights into every moment of the Tournament, from the first drive on the first tee to the final putt on the 18th green.
Experts from IBM iX, the experience design partner within IBM Consulting, worked with the Masters digital team to leverage multiple foundation models — including IBM Watson Text-to-Speech – to train the AI in the unique language of golf at the Masters, automating the process of adding spoken commentary to video clips. Generative AI built on foundation models was applied to produce narration with varied sentence structure and vocabulary, avoiding redundant play-by-play iterations to make the clips informative and engaging.
Also new to the Tournament this year, IBM will introduce hole-by-hole player predictions. To project a player’s score on each hole for the entire Tournament, the IBM Consulting team leveraged AutoAI capabilities in IBM Watson Studio to train AI models using six years of Masters data — more than 120,000 golf shots. After the completion of a given hole, the hole-by-hole projections are updated to reflect the most recent performance of the player. The new solution expands on the predictive intelligence of the popular Players Insights and Masters Fantasy Projections feature, which turns data into insights around the most exciting holes to watch for every golfer, the low/high score for all golfers, and projected Masters Fantasy points for every round.
“For more than twenty years, IBM and the Masters have partnered together to create custom solutions that improve the user experience and capture the attention of millions of golf fans globally,” said Jonathan Adashek, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for IBM. “We’re applying the same hybrid cloud, AI technology and IBM Consulting services that we use with clients across industries to bring an elevated digital experience to one of the most iconic sporting events in the world.”
Timed to this year’s Tournament, IBM will launch the next iteration of its “Let’s create” brand initiative, “What if?”. Conceptualized and executed by Ogilvy, “What if?” underscores the importance of asking big questions that can lead to the creation of equally big technology solutions. The spots were filmed by ProdCo’s Ian Pons Jewell, featuring Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated actor and producer Oscar Isaac as the voice-over interacting with people in each scene. One installment of the four distinct ads includes rising golfer and 87th Masters Tournament invitee Kurt Kitayama and sports commentator Jim Nantz, who bring this creative concept to life through the lens of IBM’s collaborative partnership with the Masters. In addition to the Masters, the campaign is inspired by IBM’s work with a range of clients across sustainability, supply chain, and data analytics and security, demonstrating how IBM is helping organizations drive innovation, transformation, and enhanced customer experiences. The campaign begins April 5 across broadcast, connected TV, digital video, print, and social.
IBM has been the digital partner of the Masters for more than 25 years, working closely to bring unparalleled experiences to the global Masters audience. Starting with the launch of Masters.com in 1996, the Masters has collaborated with IBM on a journey to the hybrid cloud to streamline workloads and deliver new fan experiences through cloud and AI technologies. The implementation of that technology has been showcased continually, including through the introduction of AI Highlights, Round in Under Three Minutes, MyGroup, Player Insights, and Projections powered with IBM Watson.
The 87th Masters Tournament will be played from April 6-9 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA. To see IBM’s technology in action, visit Masters.com or the Masters app on your mobile device, available on the App Store and Google Play Store.