blog Article

Can AI create engaging football sportscasting? Exploring the possibilities with EURO2024 matches

Author: Radix ,

A blogpost by Renaud Chrétien, Rémy D'heygere and Mathieu Kitenge

 

Football is not just a game; it’s a global phenomenon that unites fans across continents. The passion, the excitement, and the drama of certain match sequences captivate millions of fans across the globe. Imagine enhancing this experience with AI-driven analyses and descriptions, making every moment more engaging and insightful. Imagine you can pause a match and ask your AI assistant to explain what's happening with the power of your voice... As we ride the wave of EURO 2024 buzz, let's explore how AI might revolutionise football commentary, and where it still falls short of human touch.

 

Multivoice analysis: bringing matches to life

Imagine watching a game while listening to commentary by your favourite football player, someone in a ridiculously high-pitched voice or a commentator using your local accent. AI can simulate or create voices to match your preferences and have them analyse the game you’re watching in real-time.

Variety of voices

AI can analyse match sequences using different voices, including humorous or celebrity imitations, to create diverse atmospheres. Cutting-edge technologies are also capable of making comical comments on a missed goal or a dramatic narration of a winning penalty. The variety of voices adds a new dimension to football commentary, making the content more entertaining to some and appealing to a wider audience. 

Engagement factor

By incorporating various voices, AI can keep the audience entertained and engaged. The element of surprise and fun can turn even a routine match sequence into a memorable moment. Imagine hearing your favourite celebrity break down the tactics behind a stunning goal or a comedian’s witty remarks on a controversial foul – the possibilities are endless.

That all sounds promising in theory, but how would this actually sound? Let’s examine below how AI can modulate its voice!

 

 

Depth of analysis: catering to all levels of football knowledge

Time and time again, AI has proven to be extremely powerful for personalisation. We see an enormous potential for personalised football commentary. 

Audience segmentation

AI-powered analyses can be tailored to different levels of football knowledge, ensuring that everyone from casual fans to seasoned experts can enjoy and learn from the content.

  • Beginner level: For those new to football, AI provides simple explanations and basic insights. It breaks down the rules, explains common terms, and highlights key moments in an easy-to-understand manner.
  • Intermediate level: Regular viewers can benefit from more detailed analyses. AI dives deeper into strategies, player performances, and match statistics, offering a richer understanding of the game.
  • Expert level:  For the football specialists, AI delivers in-depth tactical and technical breakdowns. It analyses formations, player movements, and intricate details that only the most knowledgeable fans would appreciate.

To prove our point, we took the first video and adapted the commentary to a much deeper level of analysis: 

 

 

Interactive Q&A: Enhancing understanding through user interaction

User interaction

Football fans often have questions about specific match sequences, and AI is ready to provide answers. Whether it’s explaining why a particular foul was called or clarifying the offside rule using a specific example from a match, an interactive Q&A feature makes it easy for fans to get the information they need.

Examples

  • Explain a foul: AI can analyse a foul and explain the referee’s decision, providing context and clarity.
  • Clarify offside: 
    Using real match sequences, AI can demystify the offside rule, making it understandable for all fans.

Response mechanism: AI provides clear, context-specific answers, enhancing fans’ understanding of the game. This interactive approach not only educates but also engages fans, making them feel more connected to the sport.

Say, you’re trying to follow the game, but you don’t understand what a medium corner kick is. Using natural language, you can simply ask AI. See for yourself:

 

Impressive, right?


The Potential of AI in Football: A sneak peek

While our AI company isn’t rolling out these solutions just yet, we aim to spark the imagination of football fans and tech enthusiasts alike. By showcasing what AI can do, we hope to stir excitement and curiosity about the future of football analytics.

Behind the scenes: How AI analyses and describes football matches

To bring this innovative experience to football fans, a combination of advanced AI technologies is employed to analyse and describe match sequences. Here’s a look into the process that makes this possible:

1. Video frame splitting:

  • Frame extraction
    The first step involves breaking down the video footage of a football match into individual frames. Only a subset of equally spaced frames is necessary, as AI is perfectly capable of interpolating what happened between them, exactly as a human would understand what happened between frames 3 and 4 in the below figure.

2. Context analysis

  • Player identification
    The subsequent step involves enhancing the frame context with key-value pairs that enable any AI analysing the frames to recognize a player based on their jersey number and colour. To extract this metadata, a computer vision model can be utilised to detect the players present in each frame.

3. Frame analysis with GPT-4o vision:

  • Visual understanding
    The selected extracted frames are then sent to GPT-4o with vision capabilities, together with the generated metadata of point 2. This powerful AI model can analyse visual data, identifying key elements such as players, their positions, the ball, and other important features within the frame. Equipped with the augmented context of point 2, it can provide very specific insights about the video. 
  • Contextual analysis
    GPT-4o doesn’t just see what’s in each frame; it understands the global context. By examining the sequence of frames, it can interpret actions, predict outcomes, and provide insightful analyses of what’s happening in the game.

4. Generating descriptions:

  • Textual narration
    Based on the visual analysis, GPT-4o generates detailed textual descriptions and analyses of the match sequences. These descriptions can range from simple play-by-play commentary to complex tactical breakdowns, depending on the desired output.
  • Voice personalisation
    The generated text can be tailored to different styles and tones. For example, it can be humorous, dramatic, or educational, providing a unique listening experience for fans.

4. Text-to-Speech conversion:

  • Voice synthesis
    To bring the textual descriptions to life, the text is then fed into ElevenLabs’ advanced text-to-speech (TTS) system. ElevenLabs is known for its high-quality, natural-sounding voices that can mimic various accents, emotions, and even celebrity voices.
  • Voice selection
    Depending on the context and audience preference, different voices can be selected to narrate the match sequences. This adds an extra layer of engagement and personalisation to the fan experience.

The full pipeline is summarised in the following diagram.

image (1)-1

6. Interactive features:

  • Q&A functionality:
    Fans can interact with the AI by asking questions about specific match sequences. The AI uses its deep understanding of the game to provide accurate and context-specific answers, enhancing the educational aspect of the experience.
  • Real-time analysis:
    For live matches, the AI can provide real-time analysis and commentary, making the viewing experience more dynamic and informative.

By combining these advanced technologies, we can create a rich, immersive experience for football fans. This behind-the-scenes look highlights the intricate process that transforms raw match footage into engaging and insightful content, demonstrating the incredible potential of AI in revolutionising sports entertainment. Note that the data pipeline for interaction is more complicated and not depicted here.

Conclusion

As the EURO 2024 finale draws near, the excitement around football is at an all-time high. Exploring the potential of AI-driven commentary and analyses, we see how technology can enhance the fan experience in fun and innovative ways. However, while AI's performance is impressive, it remains far from equaling the quality of human commentators. The unique human touch, emotion, and spontaneity are elements that AI cannot yet replicate.

Let's celebrate the beautiful game and the incredible potential of AI to make it even more thrilling, all while recognizing the irreplaceable value of human commentators. Enjoy the EURO 2024 finale with a new perspective on what the future might hold for football fans!

 

About The Author

Radix

Radix is an Artificial Intelligence Solutions Studio. We define, design and develop human-centred AI solutions. Our mission is to help our clients grow and to improve people's lives. We empower organizations with AI, leading them to increased productivity and profitability.

About The Author