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CHANGING THE GAME

The world’s best sports organizations are using AWS to build data-driven solutions and reinvent the way sports are watched, played, and managed. AWS provides cloud services that are at the core of sports innovation, athlete optimization, and epic fandom. Machine learning (ML) is producing advanced stats like NFL’s Next Gen Stats, high performance computing (HPC) is redesigning F1 race cars and America’s Cup boats, organizations like NASCAR are using artificial intelligence (AI) services to automatically tag and categorize archives, and Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting sensors from the field and track to deliver real-time data. Whether it's predicting the probability of a catch in real-time, or forecasting ticket sales after a winning season, technology is changing the game. And AWS is how.

Unlocking Data's
Potential

Sports organizations are using data to create new innovations around athlete performance, health and safety, or drive new efficiencies and business models. Leagues and teams have vast amounts of data, and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale, and make better, more informed decisions. For example, how PFF leverages millions of data points from football games to uncover never-before-seen metrics that change how everyone experiences the sport. Automated data collection from sensors and cameras deliver real-time stats, guide game-time decisions, and help teams discover new ways to connect with fans.

Engaging and
Delighting Fans

The fan experience is changing before, during, and after games. With AWS, fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics, and interactive second screen experiences. For example, Second Spectrum uses AWS to minimize latency in its streaming services and offer fans a high-quality viewing experience. Rich data and insights reveal the nuances of in-game decision making, and highlight performances through advanced stats. Fan experiences are being enhanced through NFL Next Gen Stats, F1 Insights, Bundesliga Match Facts, Six Nations Rugby Matchstats, Clippers CourtVision, and more – all powered by AWS.

Rapidly Improving
Sports Performance

AWS technology is transforming more than the fan experience – leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before. F1 is using HPC to advance vehicle performance, the NFL is using ML to transform player health and safety, and the Seattle Seahawks are using a data lake to improve training initiatives.

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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. Click on each of logos below to learn more.

  • Leagues
  • Teams
  • Media & Entertainment
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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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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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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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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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UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, URBANA CHAMPAIGN (UIUC)

University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign (UIUC) collaborated with the Amazon Machine Learning (ML) Solutions Lab to help UIUC football coaches prepare for games more efficiently and improve their odds of winning. The team combined UIUC’s deep expertise in college football and coaching with AWS’s machine learning to create a state-of-the-art ML model that predicts the result of any football play. In addition, UIUC coaches now have auto-generated visual game planning sheets based on key features recommended by the ML model. This saves the coaches’ time when preparing for a game, and gives them more insights on their performance and strategies.

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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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SPORTRADAR

For Sportradar, the global provider of sports and intelligence for the betting and media industries providing data coverage from more than 200,000 events annually, advances in computer vision are an opportunity to expand the depth of sports data offered to customers and reduce the costs of data collection through automation. Sportradar is investing in computer vision research both through internal development and external partnerships to build computer vision data collection capabilities with an initial focus on tennis, soccer and snooker. Working with the Amazon ML Solutions Lab, Sportradar is exploring the application of state-of-the-art deep learning models for automated match event detection in soccer, moving beyond player and ball localisation to understanding the intent of the play in terms of what is happening in the game. To bring this technology into production as it matures, Sportradar is leveraging AWS services including Amazon SageMaker, EKS, MSK, FSx and Amazon’s broad range of GPU and CPU compute instances for its computer vision processing pipeline. This infrastructure allows Sportradar's researchers to test and validate computer vision models at scale and bring models from the lab to production with minimal effort while delivering the low latency, reliability and scalability needed for live sports betting use cases.

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INEOS

Using AWS, INEOS TEAM UK can process thousands of design simulations for its America’s Cup boat in one week versus in more than a month using an on-premises environment. The team is using an HPC environment running on Amazon EC2 Spot Instances to help design its boat for the competition. For the hull, whose design needed hundreds of compute cores for every simulation, the team used Amazon EC2 C5 instances in addition to the latest Amazon EC2 C5n Nitro-powered instances with Elastic Fabric Adapter (EFA) network interfaces. To ensure fast disk performance for the thousands of simulations completed each week, the team also used Amazon FSx for Lustre to provide a fast, scalable, and secure high-performance file system based on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

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PULSELIVE

Pulselive is digital partner to some of the biggest sports leagues and events, from the Premier League to the Cricket World Cup. The Sony subsidiary is helping create fan experiences that increase engagement through new and impactful ways. Pulselive uses Amazon Personalize to enable its customers to create highly personalized recommendations for their online sports media content. Working with the Amazon Prototyping team, Pulselive created a new recommendation engine, increasing video consumption by 20%. By leveraging AWS, Pulselive was able to quickly conduct A/B tests, create a simple proof of concept with minimal disruption, and experiment, keeping the barrier to entry low - both technically and financially.

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NHL

By tapping into the breadth and depth of AWS services, the NHL will be able to automate video processing and content delivery in the cloud and leverage its Puck and Player Tracking (PPT) System, which runs on AWS cloud infrastructure, to better capture the details of game play for its fans, teams, and media partners. The NHL will work with the Amazon Machine Learning Solutions Lab to apply AWS’s deep portfolio of machine learning services to game video and official NHL data to develop and share advanced game analytics and metrics that take fans deeper into the game. The NHL intends to use AWS Elemental Media Services to develop and manage a cloud-based HD and 4K video content delivery system that will provide a complete view of the game to NHL officials, coaches, players, and fans. Powered by AWS, the system will encode, process, store, and transmit game footage from a series of new camera angles to provide continuous video feeds that capture plays and events outside the field of view of traditional broadcast cameras. By leveraging AWS analytics services including Amazon Kinesis and machine learning services such as Amazon SageMaker, the NHL will be able to audit its feeds to broadcast partners in real time.

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PGA

AWS is the Official Cloud Provider, Artificial Intelligence Cloud Provider, Deep Learning Cloud Provider, and Machine Learning Cloud Provider of the PGA TOUR. Together, AWS and the TOUR are partnering to transform the way golf content is created, distributed, and experienced, bringing fans closer to the action on the course while also helping the TOUR streamline its media operations. The TOUR will use AWS machine learning, storage, compute, analytics, database, and media services to quickly process and distribute video footage from each golf tournament and will leverage AWS to rapidly transform this content into exciting new digital experiences that provide fans with a more complete and personalized experience across TOUR competition. The TOUR will migrate nearly 100 years of media content to AWS – including video, audio, and images dating back to the 1928 Los Angeles Open – and will stream live footage from future tournaments into the data lake built on Amazon S3. The TOUR will then use Amazon Rekognition to automatically tag content with specific metadata like player names and sponsor logos. The TOUR will also use AWS media services to make it faster to deliver video content for televised event coverage and over-the-top (OTT) streaming for online viewers.

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Intel

Intel’s Olympic Technology Group set out to develop a machine learning solution to create a real-time digital model of athlete performance to enable a portable, cloud-based elite athlete coaching solution. Intel partnered with the Amazon Machine Learning Solutions Lab (MLSL) to leverage MLSL’s computer vision expertise to enhance Intel’s existing 3D skeletal tracking capabilities. MLSL developed a 3D multi-person pose estimation pipeline on Amazon SageMaker that enables 3D skeletal tracking from a single camera. “The MLSL team did an amazing job listening to our requirements and proposing a solution that would meet our customers’ needs,” said Jonathan Lee, Director of Sports Performance, Olympic Technology Group. The team surpassed our expectations, developing a 3D pose estimation pipeline using 2D videos captured with mobile phones in just two weeks. By standardizing our ML workload on Amazon SageMaker, we achieved a remarkable 97% average accuracy on our models.” 

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PAC 12 Networks

The Pac-12 Conference is dedicated to developing the next generation of leaders by championing excellence in academics, athletics and the care provided to its student-athletes. Pac-12 Networks, the media company owned by the Conference and its twelve member universities, moved its video and media infrastructure to AWS using AWS Media Services, AWS Cloud Storage and AWS Direct Connect for everything from encoding to ad insertion, transmission to delivery. Pac-12 engineers spin up new services rapidly and cost-effectively using AWS Lambda and Amazon EC2, enabling functionality ranging from cloud-based production to data analytics, in support of the ultimate objective of creating amazing experiences for fans of Pac-12 and college athletics everywhere.

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AWS SPORTS STORIES

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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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