AWS Sports kicks off at re:Invent 2022
Last week, AWS re:Invent returned for its 11th year, highlighting the latest in cloud innovation and customer transformation journeys across 5 keynotes, 22 leadership sessions, and over 2,000 breakout and interactive sessions.
In keeping with the growing demand and accelerating innovation in the sports industry, for the first time ever we had a dedicated AWS Sports track at re:Invent 2022. Sports organizations from around the world converged in Las Vegas and virtually to learn about the latest innovations from each other, discuss the trends and challenges impacting the industry, and explore new technologies and partners. The AWS Sports industry track included real-world examples of sports customers running technically complex, mission-critical workloads on AWS; hands-on technical labs showing how solutions can be designed, built, and launched on AWS; and business discussions with sports leaders highlighting best practices and the most pressing strategic challenges for 2023.
Sports customers led a variety of sessions this year at re:Invent, covering the gamut from how the NFL is innovating with AWS and Amazon Prime Video to how AWS helps F1TV increase fan engagement. A variety of sports were represented, from football to soccer, to basketball to hockey to golf, and more. Common themes included fan360, performance analytics, next-gen media, smart venues, and business transformation. Fan360 — deeply understanding your fans and their engagement journey — is the hottest area of discussion for the sports industry, with the recognition that fan activities are all predicated on owning, managing, and analyzing first-party fan data. Sports customers emphasized the importance of attracting, retaining, engaging, and delighting fans, while finding new ways to deliver personalized, immersive experiences. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data analytics continue to be key areas of innovation, with several customers leveraging AWS services like Amazon SageMaker to improve the fan experience and offer new data-driven insights into the game.
In addition to the official sports industry track content, this year’s conference was timed perfectly with several exciting sports industry launches and events. Coinciding with the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Adidas and AWS Partner KINEXON revealed the first FIFA World Cup official match ball featuring connected ball technology, providing unprecedented insights into every element of the movement of the ball. During Monday Night Live with Peter DeSantis, VP, AWS Global Infrastructure and Customer Support, Scuderia Ferrari driver coach Jock Clear announced Ferrari’s new app, coming in 2023, powered by AWS, along with a new virtual ground speed sensor designed to provide more reliable data to engineers and help race teams reduce vehicle weight. On the third night of re:Invent, Amazon CTO Dr. Werner Vogels invited all attendees to a premier of the latest episode of Now Go Build, featuring the Danish sports technology company Veo. After the screening, he was joined on stage by Veo executives for a panel discussion on the episode, and the role that technology will play to narrow the digital divide between amateur and professional athletes. You can read more about Veo’s mission and how the episode was filmed on All Things Distributed, and if you’re curious how Werner thinks technology will impact sports in the years to come, you can read about it in his 2023 tech predictions.
With sports customers joining AWS from around the world — including NFL, NHL, PGA TOUR, F1, Ferrari, MLSE, NASCAR, Bundesliga, and more — re:Invent 2022 was a success. AWS learned even more from our customers about how technology can help them improve their business, and continue elevating the fan experience worldwide.
Weren’t able to make it to re:Invent this year? Check out a recap of sports-related sessions below:
How the NFL is innovating with AWS and Amazon Prime Video
The NFL is using AWS to transform football by making it more engaging for fans and safer for players. The NFL’s player tracking platform Next Gen Stats, which runs on AWS, is being used to power Thursday Night Football on Prime Video, fantasy football, and sports betting applications. Also, the NFL’s Player Health and Safety team is using AI and ML to build the Digital Athlete, a virtual representation of an NFL player that can be used to better predict and eventually prevent player injury. This session explored how AWS and technology in general are changing some of the fundamental ways that football is played and experienced.
How AWS helps F1TV increase fan engagement
F1TV is the FIA Formula One World Championship’s dedicated over-the-top streaming service, available as F1TV Pro and F1TV Access across 85 countries. This session explored how AWS worked with F1 to increase global audience reach, engagement, and satisfaction by adding several new platforms including Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and a range of connected TV devices. Formula One also presented a case study, F1TV with AWS media and edge services, in which they shared how they built a worldwide streaming service delivering live races to millions of fans using AWS.
How Prime Video developed, delivers, and operates NFL’s Thursday Night Football globally on AWS
In this session, AWS and Prime Video discussed their collaboration to deliver the first exclusively streamed Thursday Night Football game to millions of NFL fans globally. Prime Video deployed cloud computing workloads using AWS media and entertainment solutions in broadcast, media supply chain and archive, direct to consumer, and streaming. Prime Video built innovative applications on AWS to delight fans, leveraging AWS Elemental Media services, Sye, and Amazon CloudFront to monetize large-scale live events with low latency, high reliability, and server-side ad insertion.
Improving NFL player safety with machine learning on AWS
In this session, we learned about the Digital Athlete program, a collaboration between the NFL and AWS, and how it has improved player safety by studying helmet impacts and lower extremity injuries, allowing the league, teams, and coaches to be more informed about a player’s health. The program can automatically identify game events with a forcible helmet impact and track these impacts over multiple seasons using the advanced compute capabilities and scale of AWS. The NFL and AWS have developed techniques for estimating the full-body pose of players during a game and synthesizing data from multiple simultaneous cameras to obtain a full representation of an athlete.
Revolutionizing the soccer viewing experience with Bundesliga Match Facts
The sports industry is data rich, and making sense of that data is the first step in making it an advantage on and off the field. Bundesliga, the German football league, shared how they use 3.6 million data points per match to empower fans, broadcasters, and commentators with advanced stats to tell new stories.
How Bundesliga automates stat-driven replays
Data-driven segmentation (DDS) is a solution that allows clubs, leagues, and broadcasters to merge data streams with broadcast footage and produce high-quality clips with graphical elements to highlight exceptional player behavior. With the DDS solution, the Bundesliga is able to define stories, such as Unlikely Goals, that are automatically clipped, rendered, and pushed back to the production team. The clips are produced completely in the cloud and fully automated without the involvement of a single operator, allowing virtually any organization to scale data-driven stories across any number of games.
Sustainability in sports venues
This session focused on the growing importance of sustainability in sports venues, and discussed how sustainable venue operations is good for business. OVG is a sports venue builder that worked with Amazon to develop Climate Pledge Arena, the home of both of the NHL’s newest franchises, the Seattle Kraken, and the 4-time WNBA Champion Seattle Storm.
Scuderia Ferrari announces new app coming in 2023
Scuderia Ferrari driver coach Jock Clear announced Ferrari’s new app, coming in 2023, powered by AWS. He also shared how Ferrari developed a virtual ground speed sensor using AWS AI/ML services such as Amazon SageMaker to deliver faster, more reliable data to engineers and help race teams reduce vehicle weight—in a sport where every gram counts. Watch the video to learn more about how Scuderia Ferrari leverages AWS to optimize racing performance.
NASCAR was a featured customer in IoT’s re:Invent leadership session Unlocking business value and operational benefits with IoT solutions. The IoT leadership session was hosted by AWS IoT Vice President Yasser Alsaied.
Alongside traditional sports, we featured some esports updates from Riot Games, including How Riot Games processes 20 TB of analytics data daily on AWS and The future of sport: How Riot Games is reinventing remote esports broadcasts.
For those attendees who were keen to demonstrate their sports skills, there were several opportunities to do so:
AWS Sports Bundesliga Free Kick Challenge
The Bundesliga Free Kick Challenge was an interactive soccer demo where fans could shoot a free kick, in a digitally highlighted area in the goal, and track if the shot was made, the shot’s speed, the distance to goal, and the shot trajectory in real-time using AWS technology in partnership with KINEXON. All participants were able to see how they stacked up against other participants and actual professional soccer players.
Basketball Shot Success Predictor Interactive Demo
The Basketball Shot Success Predictor demo showcased how AWS Outposts and AWS AI/ML solutions can predict how likely a basketball shot will score even before the basketball hits the hoop using a motion-sensing ML model.
PGA ShotLink Beta Testing Experience at the AWS re:Invent ProAm
At the 2022 AWS re:Invent ProAm, the PGA TOUR’s Golf Technology team demonstrated beta technology that the forward-leaning leaders playing the event were able to experience and evaluate. In addition to the demo, they had a full set of ShotLink production trucks on site that allowed participants to tour the production facility and the supporting network and radar support truck during the event. In addition to the ProAm, PGA Tour was featured in several sessions at re:Invent including Building next-gen applications with event-driven architectures and Unlocking business value in media archives with Amazon S3.
Over the last few years, AWS has seen the rate of innovation accelerate in the sports industry. The world’s leading sports organizations are building, migrating, and deploying data- and video-driven solutions that elevate the fan experience in venue, on mobile, or at home. Rapid data analytics is turning data into actionable insights that improve the game, and optimize athlete and vehicle performance. This is all happening at lower cost, increased return on investment, and greater sustainability. Machine learning is producing advanced stats like NFL’s Next Gen Stats and NHL Edge IQ, and high-performance computing is redesigning F1 race cars. Organizations like the PGA TOUR and NASCAR are migrating decades of archived footage to the cloud and using AI/ML to automatically tag and categorize archives. In the venues space, TD Garden is providing a frictionless in-stadium retail experience while increasing average spend. Bundesliga is using machine learning to deliver personalized fan experiences on any device, while lowering operating costs by 75%.
Whether it’s predicting the probability of a catch in real-time, creating next-gen media experiences, or optimizing ticket prices after a winning season, technology is changing the game. Watch out for more exciting sessions, demos, and activities at next year’s re:Invent, and more from the AWS Sports team throughout 2023. In the meantime, you can learn more about how AWS is helping sports customers innovate at aws.com/sports.