USTA Debuts Cognitive Highlights at 2017 US Open Tennis Championships

US Open 2017

The US Open is in full swing and today IBM announced the launch of IBM Watson Media. This new suite of AI-powered solutions utilizes the IBM Cloud to accommodate a variety of situations, the first being called Cognitive Highlights. The Cognitive Highlights will give the United States Tennis Association (USTA) the ability to rapidly share highlight videos of US Open matches.

As described by IBM:

Developed at IBM Research with IBM iX, Cognitive Highlights can identify the match’s most important moments by analyzing the statistical tennis data, sounds from the crowd and the reactions of a player using both action and facial expression recognition. The system then ranks the shots from seven US Open courts and auto-curates the highlights, which simplifies the video production process and ultimately positions the USTA team to scale and accelerate the creation of cognitive highlight packages.†

Cognitive Highlights Dashboard

The completed highlight packages will be used in four different ways. At the end of each day the USTA will post a “Highlight of the Day”, as ranked by IBM Watson, onto their Facebook page. Additionally, if fans happen to “favorite” a tennis player through the US Open apps, they will receive real-time push notification alerts about that player’s highlights. Video highlights will also be available across all of the USTA’s digital platforms. And finally, there will be a installation onsite in the player’s lounge and at the fan-facing IBM Watson Experience on the plaza near Court 9 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The US Open is packed with so much action across so many courts that even the fastest video team is challenged to keep pace with what’s happening…To meet that challenge, Watson is now watching the matches alongside the USTA to help bring fans closer to the best moments across the courts shortly after they happen. We’re seeing this technology come to life through tennis, but the entire IBM Watson Media portfolio has the potential to impact many industries.

  • Noah Syken, IBM VP of Sports & Entertainment Partnerships.

Leading up to the US Open, IBM’s Cognitive Highlights technology was tested as a proof of concept at this year’s Masters Tournament, and also was served as part of the content production system at Wimbledon. The successful results and positive reception at both events led to the technology being integrated into the new soon to be commercially available solutions from IBM Watson Media.†

When thinking beyond the US Open, the IBM Watson Media solutions are designed to enable:

  • Content Search & Discovery: Refined, detailed searches of content down to the scene level based on rich metadata identifying items and context.
  • Recommendation Uplift: More informed suggestions of new content for viewers based on a deeper understanding of video content.
  • Intelligent Closed Captioning: Speech-to-text that can transcribe audio and improve by learning topic-specific terminology.
  • Spotlighting: Identification of content – such as violence or adult language – that may require further screening and labelling

IBM Watson Media is pretty interesting. IBM is able to provide companies with a comprehensive view of their video by providing a deep analysis of not only the subject in view, but through an analysis of the audience watching as well. The ability to be able to analyze concepts, emotional overtones and personalities will aid in developing a deeper understanding of their content, which in turn can help them deliver more relevant content to consumers. More relevant content leads to more effective matches for advertisers and hopefully more engagement.

Available in September through the IBM Cloud on the IBM Marketplace, it will provide a packaged product that can be scaled and used across a company’s video assets.†

Source: IBM Press Release, Images provided by IBM


About IBM Watson

Watson makes sense of the breadth and diversity of the world’s structured and unstructured data across a variety of industries, including sports, medicine, travel, retail, and many others. For more information on IBM Watson, visit:

About IBM Research

For more than seven decades, IBM Research has defined the future of information technology with more than 3,000 researchers in 12 labs located across six continents. Scientists from IBM Research have produced six Nobel Laureates, 10 U.S. National Medals of Technology, five U.S. National Medals of Science, six Turing Awards, 19 inductees in the National Academy of Sciences and 20 inductees into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame. For more information about IBM Research, visit