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Why Stadium Uses AI-Powered Video Highlights to Reach Fans

The sports-streaming television network has partnered with WSC Sports to offer automatic highlights of college games.

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In 2017, Stadium answered a wish that sports fans had been asking for by offering games from top college conferences like the ACC, Mountain West, Conference USA, and the Big 12 streaming right on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch.

Meanwhile, WSC Sports uses artificial intelligence to generate highlight videos, ultimately saving brands and media companies hours of time.

Around the time of Stadium’s launch, the two companies began working together to create highlights of ACC football and basketball games. Last week, however, the partnership expanded to include highlights of games from the Mountain West, Conference USA, and the Big 12.

In days past, production professionals would have to manually sort through tape of a game to find specific plays or instances that would be of interest to fans. WSC Sports’ machine learning technology, however, can find and cut specific plays or instances and package them into individual videos. Now that it has a tool which will save teams hours of time that would otherwise be used to do the compiling, Stadium is understandably happy with the expansion of the partnership.

READ MORE: Inside CBS Sports’ Innovative Podcast Strategy 

“WSC has provided Stadium a seamless system to deliver high-quality highlights to our audience in record time,” Stadium Managing Director Andrew Schnell said. “We’ve been incredibly happy with the relationship and are thrilled to deliver highlights, created via WSC, in our programming that goes directly to our fans.”

In the past, WSC Sports has worked with high-level clients like the PGA, the NBA, and Turner Sports. While taking on a project that demands creating highlights for several high-level conferences and about 1,200 athletic events during the year is a significant undertaking, WSC Sports’ leadership is confident in its products and services.

“Stadium is a great example of an innovative partner that serves multiple fan bases all over the country with a strong affiliation to specific teams,” said WSC Sports Co-Founder and CEO Daniel Shichman. “Stadium is trying to provide relevant content for every fan of the ACC, Mountain West, Big 12, and Conference USA and do it in the fastest and most customized way to make sure fans get every story that happens in every college football and basketball game.”

With this partnership, Stadium knows that it will be able to accomplish exactly that and distribute those highlights easily.

“As Stadium continues to reach new ways for fans to consume the highlights they crave, the WSC platform allows us to efficiently create highlights immediately after the action is over,” Schnell stated. “We’ve seen tremendous success from WSC and are thrilled for the future.”

Stadium is distributed in 85 television markets across the United States, as well as on its social channels around the clock. In a time where 65 percent of younger sports fans prefer to consume sports content on their phone over any other platform, the two brands seem to have a clear path to reaching this demographic.

Based on where this partnership is headed and how much easier the job or producing high-quality highlights just became, expect Stadium to become an even bigger player in the space very quickly.

Joe is currently a freelance marketing professional, writer, and podcaster. His work can also be found on the SB Nation network. Joe earned his bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Louisville in 2014 and a master's degree in sport administration from Seattle University in 2017. He can be reached via email at joe@frntofficesport.com.

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Transmit.Live Sees Future With Live Streaming Tech

The company is working with brands like Viacom and the NFL to help them reach larger audiences and better monetize their content.

Adam White

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Live streaming is the hottest must-have in the sports industry; from club to college to pro, audience reach across the internet, social, and OTT platforms has become a necessity.

Whether it’s watching someone play “Fortnite” on Twitch or checking out an NWHL game on Twitter, live streaming has taken social media platforms — and the content that could be placed on them — to new levels.

As platforms have evolved, the biggest problem that has arisen is that in order to live stream, say, a game to a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and maybe even a Twitch account at the same time, you would need different streams and even, in some cases, different cameras.

That’s where Transmit.Live comes in. Using the cloud, the live-streaming service centralizes live-video operations, giving users the ability to manage, distribute, analyze, and expand audiences for live content.

“We are giving our clients the ability to build a new media affiliate broadcast network.” – Scott Young, co-founder and CEO of Transmit.Live

For example, imagine if you were an NBA team that wanted to live stream practice through the team Twitter account along with the accounts of all of the players. Thanks to Transmit.Live, all you would need is one stream and the technology will do the rest, taking that stream to every single account that you want.

READ MORE: ‘Ask Amelia’ Puts Customer Service in the Palm of Fans

If you were to do that with today’s Lakers team, the potential audience from your stream would go from 7.41 million on just the Lakers’ Twitter account to over 54 million if it was distributed via all of the players’ accounts.

It’s this opportunity that Transmit.Live has capitalized on for a list of clients that includes the NFL.

“The struggle is, because of the fragmentation of all the platforms, it is difficult for entities to broadcast and reach a larger audience in the moment,” said Scott Young, co-founder and CEO of Transmit.Live. “We’ve essentially built a broadcast platform that empowers leagues, teams, and talent with the opportunity to centralize their streaming operations, maximize fan engagement, and build larger sponsorships, all while giving them the chance to have one set of data reports.”

One of the platforms in which the company has found success is on Twitch, which generally has proven to host the coveted demographic for so many advertisers.  

Collaborating with Viacom and Nickelodeon, Transmit.Live was able to identify a sponsorship opportunity for the entertainment brand and, in teaming up with Esports Arena, hosted an esports tournament in Oakland.

“Nickelodeon was looking to promote the new ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ premiere, and we were able to take content from the event and distribute it via 50 different social platforms and about one thousand different web pages, while creating 100 percent more sponsor integration touchpoints.”

Racking up four million views over the course of five hours, Young says that without the distribution, viewership numbers on the stream “probably would have reached over 500% fewer viewers.”

A sponsorship that was once selling experiential branding at flat ratesbecame one that could be sold for three to four times that figure by delivering guaranteed viewership.

READ MORE: ‘Ask Amelia’ Puts Customer Service in the Palm of Fans

While it may make sense that something like this can work well with the digitally native audience that Twitch presents, Young was quick to point out that this isn’t just a technology for esports or for leagues.

“The goal is to unlock new content that will enhance the 360-degree fan experience. I look at all of the successful programs like ‘All or Nothing’ on Amazon have had, and teams should be able to have the opportunity to do that themselves no matter how big or small an organization may be.”

In today’s media environment, even though content might be king, without distribution, you have a king locked in his castle.  

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Winnipeg Jets Put Customer Service in the Palms of Fans

The introduction of the technology by the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose and their home arena, Bell MTS Place, helps alleviate stress on customer service.

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As technology continues to advance and evolve, customer service is likely to improve across all industries, as evidenced by the introduction of a virtual guest services platform by the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose and their home arena, Bell MTS Place.

The platform, developed by Satisfi Labs, is in use in more than 50 venues across the five major North American sports leagues, but its launch with True North is its first venture into Canada. Satisfi’s program is also in use in the tourism industry in museums, zoos and aquariums. Questions range from ticketing to parking, to services and amenities.

The platform allows guests to interact with the virtual customer service representative through a website, Facebook or app. Questions are answered quickly through Ask Amelia in a developed voice representative of the organization using it. The voice is developed through the general policy answers, but also stat feeds, and softening answers with friendly language, images and GIFs.

For the organization, which hosts 1.5 million guests through NHL, AHL and non-hockey arena events annually, the platform can provide a digital representation of the organization’s best employee, said Andrew Wilkinson, the director of digital at True North Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the Jets.

“This allows us to be more efficient and consistent in providing real-time responses to our fans across digital brand touch points and takes some strain off internal employees,” Wilkinson said. “We’re continuously learning. It’s still fairly new within the organization, but it’s evolving every day and we’ve been adjusting and adapting responses through feedback from our staff and guests.”

READ MORE: Why Stadium Uses AI-Powered Video Highlights to Reach Fans

The initial build-out of the platform took True North quite a bit of time ensuring answers were in place. The organization did benefit from Satisfi’s collective learning, which as new questions are answered and new information is collected is shared among all the clients.

“As we expand, we offer a great opportunity of well-tested and well-vetted information,” said Courtney Jeffries, Satisfi SVP of sports, entertainment and tourism. “We want to be on trend with the expectation that information is immediately accessible, the experience delivered by the team is customizable, and the end user can really tailor their own experience.”

The collective learning should benefit from the new Canadian market, Jeffries said. The platform also is available in Spanish and French.

“A fan isn’t static,” she said. “There might be a unique way to ask a question in Winnipeg, where there’s not the American version, when you travel. It will enhance the knowledge of the brain, with new questions from a hockey perspective and engages the virtual guest services assistant in a way to teach us to make best practices, not just for hockey, but all arena clients.”

Having a virtual customer service platform can also help organizations realize a deeper connection to the fan base. Jeffries said there have been a number of clients making business decisions based on feedback garnered from their platform, but pointed to beer tap rotations and gluten-free requests.

Normally, questions might be answered by ticket representatives, a security team or venue customer service, and many of the questions might not lead to a profitable time-spend for the organization.

“Some questions aren’t revenue-generating and could be a sizeable cost to the team,” Jeffries said. “For Satisfi to intercept those questions and alleviate some very serious human capital to solve that and do so reflective in the team’s voice, then it really is a service to the team.”

Part of Wilkinson’s role at True North is to vet potential web, social and mobile-based technology and tools that can help enhance the organization’s operations. He said Satisfi provided a sports and entertainment-specific use of AI, and made sense as a partner.

READ MORE: How the Winnipeg Jets Tell their Story in Midst of Historic Year

He said the suggestions, feedback, and questions coming through the virtual guest services assistant will be taken to heart just as it would to an actual person.

While technology is generally used to help achieve business goals and drive revenue, Wilkinson said the organization is putting a greater emphasis on understanding fans.

“We’re looking at tools that can help us gain a 360-degree view of our fans by linking various data points together in a unified view,” Wilkinson said. “Whether it’s purchase behavior at concessions or at our retail locations; if they follow us on social media, have downloaded our app, or are season ticket holders vs. fans that attend two games a year — we want to better understand our fans to be able to personalize their experience and maximize their value and engagement.

“As we work to continually strengthen our fan base locally and worldwide, it’s vital that we understand fan loyalty behaviors and their participation with our brands at a Jets or Moose game in Winnipeg or from their mobile devices all around the world.”

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College Basketball Blue Bloods Use Tech to Streamline Content Distribution

As the arms race continues, programs like Kentucky and UNC are taking the battle to tech.

Front Office Sports

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(Photo via @UNC_Basketball)

(*INFLCR is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

When it comes to impressing recruits and adding value to current student-athletes, some Power Five programs have turned their focus to innovative ways outside of great facilities and a cornucopia of uniform options.

One of those ways has been through tech, specifically when it comes to distribution of content created by in-house digital staff members.

Five years ago, tools like this wouldn’t have been necessary, but an increasingly connected world, coupled with top players becoming immediate social sensations before they even get to colleges, being able to get content into the hands of current team members helps in more ways than just one.

For a program like Kentucky basketball, the trickle-down effect of having student-athletes share content on their own channels is something that doesn’t go unnoticed, especially when it comes to recruiting.

INFLCR is not used directly as a recruiting tool, but in a broader sense everything we do touches recruiting,” mentioned Guy Ramsey, director of strategic communication for University of Kentucky athletics. “When I mentioned that our student-athletes reach an audience we can’t, I’m talking in large part about recruits. Athletes follow athletes; they don’t always follow brands. Oftentimes, recruits are exposed to us primarily through our current players.”

READ MORE: Hudl Gets Deeper Into Hardware as Company Continues Its Evolution

Top-flight recruits seeing their content more could be the difference between getting a blue chip one to commit, or seeing them go to another Power Five program.

When it comes to recruiting at UNC, a players point of view is crucial. There, the digital team is leveraging the tool to make sure that the social feeds of the players are populated with content that will give recruits a look into what it’s like to be a part of the program.

“They are recruiters just as much as our coaches,” said Dana Reynolds, director of social and digital media for UNC athletics. “The clearer it is for prospective student-athletes to see themselves as a UNC basketball player through game photos, candids on road trips, and videos, the better.”

Not only are the student-athletes benefiting from the partnership, so too are the professionals working in the department in a job where every second can count and there is usually not enough time in the day.

For Reynolds, the assist from INFLCR comes in the form of being able to cut down on her workflow, going from an email, text, airdrop process to one in which she is depositing the content in one place. It does this by tagging content based on which players are in it, creating personalized mobile galleries that live on their phones. It is here that they can share content to their social platforms with INFLCR tracking their activity and audience reach for their team.

In this case, both the staff and the student-athletes win as she uses it as a “cloud service to post content from.”

Along the same lines as Reynolds, Ramsey and his team have benefitted from being able to use the tech to “not only make the jobs easier, but make them better.”

Time will tell if either of these programs will be dancing come March, but one thing is for sure: when it comes to finding ways to lure recruits and make the lives of everyone in the athletic department better, tech is playing an increasingly important part of the equation.

(*INFLCR is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

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