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CHANGING
THE GAME

Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence, and high performance computing are ushering in the next wave of technical sports innovation. Teams, leagues, broadcasters, and partners are using AWS to build data-driven solutions, helping organizations like Formula 1 redesign their cars, NFL teams train their players, NBA teams connect with their fans, and so much more. Technology is changing the game. And AWS is how.

Unlocking Data's
Potential

Data’s transformative potential is often limited by fragmented and incompatible formats and storage solutions. Learn how some of the world’s largest sports organizations have successfully consolidated existing data, extracted new data using AI, and analyzed data in real time at scale to drive new efficiencies and monetize new business models, and how to apply these solutions to any industry.

Engaging and
Delighting Fans

Customers expect more than ever before, and machine learning can help surface solutions and generate insights that delight as businesses compete for share of both mind and wallet. Sports organizations and their broadcast partners enhance the fan experience before, during, and after games through near real-time insights like the NFL Next Gen Stats, Six Nations Rugby, Clippers CourtVision, and F1 Insights.

Increasing Pace of
Innovation

Keeping up in a quickly changing world means constant reinvention, and often conventional models are too slow. Sports organizations are innovating in the AWS Cloud, like F1 using AWS HPC to improve vehicle performance, the Seattle Seahawks building improved training initiatives, and teams and leagues tracking player health and performance and scaling their use of customer data to better serve their audiences.

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THE DATA TELLS
THE STORY

Ready to see more? Here are just a few examples of how AWS is helping customers and partners engage their fans, train their teams, and transform the business of sports.

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BUNDESLIGA

As the football league with the highest stadium attendance globally, and broadcast in more than 200 countries, Germany’s Bundesliga is among the leaders of the world’s most popular sport. To increase fan engagement, Bundesliga is leveraging live data streams and historical data from over 10,000 games to build and train ML models in Amazon SageMaker for real-time predictions and additional insights. These models will be deployed as insights and graphics to show fans when a goal is likely to be scored, identify potential goal-scoring opportunities, and highlight how teams are positioning and controlling the field. The league is also working with AWS to deliver fans customized content and search results based on their location, favorite players, teams, and matches, and using Amazon Rekognition to analyze the largest digital football media archive in the world with more than 150,000 hours of video to easily search for historical footage.

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THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

One of the most-watched live sporting events in the US, the College Football Playoff (CFP) is an annual postseason invitational tournament to determine the NCAA Division 1 Football national champion, the highest level of college football. Using APN Partner technology from Veritone, along with use of Amazon Transcribe, Amazon Rekognition, and Amazon S3, CFP was able to develop a more advanced media archive. By implementing these technologies CFP is streamlining monetization and metadata workflows, reducing production costs, and ultimately providing their media partners with fast, easy, and comprehensive access to high-value content in near real time.

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DRAFTKINGS

With nine million registered users who participate in daily fantasy sports contests on its innovative sports-tech and media entertainment platform, DraftKings needed to ensure it was always ready for the busiest traffic days, expanding agile adoption across the company and moving to a micro-service oriented architecture. Using New Relic for its front-end customer experience run on AWS, DraftKings quickly deploys new features, products, and engagement techniques for users across mobile and web offerings. And with real-time performance feedback from Amazon EC2 and Amazon RDS, DraftKings delivers continuous value to its users while ensuring reliability, performance, availability, and scalability.

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FANATICS

Fanatics offers tens of thousands of authentic, officially licensed professional and college sports merchandise to fans through its online and brick and mortar stores. More than 250 million people visit the company’s 300-plus websites every year, creating a massive number of product searches and transactions that generate enormous amounts of data. Working with AWS to move its analytical data to Amazon S3, Fanatics were able to more quickly store and retrieve any amount of data, ultimately enhancing its business intelligence and analytics capabilities in a more reliable, secure, cost-effective and scalable cloud-storage environment.

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FANDUEL

With one million active paying users, FanDuel’s fantasy sports platform infrastructure has to be highly elastic to cope with significant daily traffic spikes. A startup based out of the UK, FanDuel has been running its fantasy sports service on AWS since 2012, using services like Amazon S3, Amazon EC2 with Auto Scaling and Elastic Load Balancing to ensure seamless capacity provision. FanDuel is also using Amazon RDS for Aurora due to their failover plans and Amazon DynamoDB to store post-game information such as final scores. Using AWS, FanDuel’s uptime is close to 100 percent, and thanks to Auto Scaling, they can accommodate an influx of game day traffic with ease.

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FANTASYDRAFT

FantasyDraft allows sports fans to draft teams of athletes in major sports online, paying to enter contests in which their athletes score fantasy points according to the site’s scoring rules. With peak traffic days and times focused around key sporting events and contests, website availability is vital creating a great customer experience. Using Amazon EC2 instances and Auto Scaling, FantasyDraft can automatically scale server capacity with fluctuating site traffic. Since moving to AWS, FantasyDraft has reduced operating costs due to low compute costs of EC2, increased website performance 20%, and decreased website downtime, reducing user churn and financial risk for the company.

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FORMULA 1 SERIES

FORMULA 1 is the highest class of automobile racing sanctioned by the FIA, with the fastest and most advanced cars. During each race, 120 sensors on each car generate 3 GB of data with more than 1,500 data points being created each second. F1 uses Amazon SageMaker to train deep-learning models with 65 years of data to provide fans with statistics, predictions, and insights into the split-second decisions made by teams and drivers streamed real-time through Amazon Kinesis. Additionally, F1 is using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) run on Amazon HPC for rapid prototyping new body designs in a virtual environment for use in the 2021 season.

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GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS

Golden Boy Promotions, one of boxing's most active and respected promoters, was founded in 2002 by world boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya. The company’s fragmented asset management and distribution system made up of internal hard drives and various FTP accounts couldn’t keep up with the growing volume of content and live studio shows. Working with APN Partner technology from Veritone and using Amazon S3, Rekognition, and Transcribe, Golden Boy can now share material reliably with broadcast partners for re-air and shoulder programming for promotional pieces, with the scale to auto-tag and more easily sort content and change layouts specific to each fight event.

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GUINNESS SIX NATIONS

Guinness Six Nations, an annual international six-week rugby tournament, uses AI and Machine Learning technology and predictive analytics to provide fans with new insights into the game. By measuring speed, cleanouts, steals, infringements, and time spent in the ruck Guinness Six Nations will provide a full ruck analysis. And through the analysis of pack weights, player experience, and historical data Guinness Six Nations can predict the success of a scrum—raising the bar for what rugby fans around the world expect from their sports broadcasters.

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LA CLIPPERS COURTVISION / SECOND SPECTRUM

The NBA’s LA Clippers, through technology built on AWS from their official video tracking provider Second Spectrum, developed a live, augmented fan experience called Clippers CourtVision. Cameras in all 29 NBA arenas collect and store 3D spatial data including ball and player locations and movements, and then use ML and advanced analytics to generate graphic overlays ranging from live layouts of basketball plays to frame-by-frame shot probabilities, giving fans a deeper understanding and appreciation for what happens on the court.

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NASCAR

NASCAR, the largest stock car racing organization in the US, migrated its 18-petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS, and can use Amazon Rekognition to auto-tag video frames with metadata, such as driver, car, race, lap, time, and sponsors, and Amazon Transcribe to caption and time stamp every word within speech. This saves NASCAR thousands of hours of manual tagging and searching their video archives to present fans with the most iconic moments in NASCAR history. NASCAR will then use SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics. 

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NFL

Through its Next Gen Stats (NGS) program built on AWS using machine learning technology, the NFL offers advanced stats that highlight the scale, speed, and complexity of the game. Ultra-wideband receivers track the players and ball movement down to the inch using RFID tags, capturing and storing over 3TB of data each game leveraging Amazon EC2, S3, and EMR. Real-time data is combined with traditional box score data to calculate hundreds of metrics and output predictions and insights delivered through graphics to fans online, onscreen, in stadium, and in second screen experiences, and as APIs to teams, analytics companies, broadcasters, and commentators. 

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PFF

Founded in 2006 in the UK as Pro Football Focus and now majority owned by former NFL pro Cris Collinsworth, PFF’s team of over 500 analyzes pro and college football using sophisticated mathematics and analytics models. PFF began implementing machine learning solutions with Amazon S3 and AWS ElastiCache to manage scale, having migrated its entire technology and cloud stack to AWS in July 2019. PFF will use AWS compute, storage, database, serverless, analytics and machine learning services to improve operational efficiency, innovate at a faster pace and drive deeper meaning from game statistical data. AWS will enable PFF to uncover never-before-seen metrics that will change the way that teams, fans, and the media experience football.

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SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Considered one of the most tech progressive and data-driven teams in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks are moving the vast majority of their infrastructure to AWS, leveraging compute, storage, database, analytics, and ML services to drive deep analysis of their players and competitors’ data, improve operational efficiencies, and speed innovation. A data lake on Amazon S3 will combine the team’s 40-plus years of stats with NFL data, player tracking, GPS movement, player health and wellness data, and scouting information for deeper visibility and greater insights enabling coaches to make better matchups and real-time adjustments that will lead to more successful drives and touchdowns.

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SECOND SPECTRUM

Second Spectrum is the Official Optical Tracking and Analytics Provider of sports leagues such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the English Premier League. Second Spectrum uses AWS to help sports leagues and their media partners deliver analytics, visualizations, and easily searchable video clips to enhance the fan experience and provide teams with deeper competitive insights. Second Spectrum uses AWS Elemental to minimize latency in its streaming services while offering fans a high-quality viewing experience, and AWS Elemental MediaStore, a storage service optimized for media, to allow television producers and sports commentators to quickly access key moments from sports events.

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SWIMMING AUSTRALIA

Swimming is Australia’s most successful Olympic sport and one of the most popular activities in the country with more than 4.5 million people participating annually. Participation in swimming is a fundamental component of Australia’s iconic culture however it relies on government funding and global competition is fierce. Working with AWS, the team has used machine learning models to optimize relay formations, to give the best chance of winning medals at key competitions. AWS is proud to play a role in engaging, supporting and developing the next generation of recreational and elite Australian swimmers. Through this partnership, AWS hopes to support Swimming Australia to increase the sport’s profile and level of media coverage, grow national participation rates and contribute to improved performance outcomes of the Australian national swim team.

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In the news

JOIN THE AWS DeepRacer SPECIAL EVENT AND RACE FORMULA 1 PROS

Now you can compete for the opportunity to race against DeepRacer models built and tuned by Formula 1 drivers and their crews.

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THE NFL PARTNERED WITH AWS TO HOST THE FIRST EVER VIRTUAL NFL DRAFT

Because of COVID-19 and the inability to host largely populated events, the NFL is holding a virtual NFL Draft this year and relying on AWS for a disruption-free experience.

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NFL TRANSFORMS PLAYER HEALTH
AND SAFETY

By combining the NFL's vast trove of football data and insights with AWS’s expertise in machine learning, AI, and cloud computing, the NFL is expanding its partnership with AWS beyond its Next Gen Stats fan experience, generating new insights into player injuries, game rules, equipment, rehabilitation, and recovery.


REWRITING THE PLAYBOOK WITH DATA

PFF analyzes football in more detail than anyone else on the planet. And despite a team of over 500, there are limitations on what can be accomplished by just humans alone. By leveraging millions of data points from every game over the last 14 NFL seasons, and using ML models built on Amazon SageMaker on AWS, PFF is leading the way in how players are analyzed and evaluated.

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EVOLVING SPORTS
WITH AI
 

The sports industry’s use of AI technologies are driving four major shifts.

  • real-time
  • AUTOMATION
  • PREDICTION
  • DYNAMIC
  • real-time
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    Delayed to real-time

    Analogue data collected and analyzed by hand meant that live commentators provided color, and not much else. Now, fans, on-air talent, and teams benefit from automated data collection through sensors and cameras, and high performance computing means insights and analysis built using machine learning models—like the impact of an F1 car choosing to pit—can be processed and delivered in near real-time.

    See how F1 does it >
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  • AUTOMATION
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    Manual to automatic

    Automating time-consuming, unreliable, and mundane tasks frees up valuable resources. From ML models that forecast ticket sales or predicting the probability of a catch, to NASCAR using AI services to automatically tag media by detecting objects and translating speech to text, AI is allowing humans to do what they do best—more creative and strategic work.

    See how NASCAR does it >
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  • PREDICTION
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    Reactive to predictive

    Coaches and teams forced to constantly react and change strategy, or to anticipate a play or action based on pure intuition, now have access to a treasure trove of predictive data during a match, game, or race, giving them the ability to make proactive and informed real-time decisions during a game—like an NFL coach pulling a player right before they run out of steam.

    See how NFL does it >
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  • DYNAMIC
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    Static to dynamic

    Any sports fan will tell you that their sport is as much a mental game as it is physical. By giving fans access to data and insights through visually rich on-screen graphics and interactive second screen experiences, sports organizations and broadcasters can peel back the curtain on the nuance of decision making, enriching fan experiences both inside and outside the stadium—like Six Nations Rugby showing real-time insights during a ruck.

    See how Guinness Six Nations does it >
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