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Wimbledon to use IBM’s Watson for highlights, analytics

Innovations include Fred, a Watson-enabled bot, which will give updates on the matches and provide directions

The All English Lawn Tennis Club will use IBM’s Watson to offer fans even more content around Wimbledon this year.

With the Championships beginning on Monday, the AELTC and IBM have announced plans to launch Fred (named after Fred Perry), a Watson-enabled bot, available to event attendees via a mobile app. The bot will be able to give updates on the matches and provide directions around the event, including information such as where to buy certain merchandise.

Watson will also be able to analyse the crowd’s noise to pick out key moments at this year’s tournament, detecting tennis players’ facial expressions, and tabulate social media buzz to determine what moments to add to highlight reels. Reels will be assembled within 30 minutes, compared to the 45 minutes it would take a person.

Tennis fans will also be able to access 360-degree video and augmented reality of the Wimbledon practice courts. According to IBM, all the fans have to do is “point their phones at a tennis player and can gain insight into who they are and their past performance.”

IBM will use a bespoke ‘competitive margin’ metric, which analyses how well matched two players are to forecast how close their match will be. It will also analyse how well each player tends to do in specific situations (when down break point or serving for a set for instance) to give fans a richer experience.

Real-time data will be integrated from a number of sources including courtside statisticians, chair umpires, radar guns, ball position, player location and will also include Twitter for social comment on how the match is going.

“In an increasingly competitive sporting landscape, IBM’s technology innovations are critical to continuing our journey towards a great digital experience that ensures we connect with our fans across the globe – wherever they may be watching and from whatever device that may be,”said

“With help from IBM, we are providing new on-site features in the SmartPhone apps such as the ‘Ask Fred’ assistant, allowing fans to plan their day at The Championships and make the most of their visit. Similarly, we are working with IBM to access additional insights in order for our fans to truly understand and share the moments that matter. This year, a combination of design and data driven content and insights will provide fans with the unique Wimbledon experience they expect and more.”