In a move to augment fans engagement while watching live action of the match, The National Football League (NFL) introduced a new functionality of live voice-over to the Amazon Artificial Intelligence (AI) product Alexa to help fans to better comprehend the game.
Working as the rookie’s guide to the NFL, Alexa is equipped with 2000 terms related to the positions, formations, rules players and other Information.
The users can ask Alexa-football specific questions while watching the action live and will also have the option to use ‘Go long’ command which further describe particular topic in detail.
The functionality in the Alexa will also be able to explain the football terminology regularly used by NFL commentators which may not be familiar to the casual fans.
“The idea was what if we created kind of a decoder that while you’re watching the game you could just ask the NFL anything you wanted to know about football,” said Dan Hogan, vice president of engineering, media services for the NFL, speaking to USA Today.
The new command feature, which is also available outside of the US, marks the NFL’s first venture into apps with voice-enabled features.
“This is the first skill we launched as a league and certainly the most ambitious,” Hogan added. “This really is a bit of a test pilot for us. Our thought is really anywhere where the technology exists – you have a microphone, speaker and a screen perhaps – we think ultimately you’re going to want to use your voice.”
The move marks the NFL’s latest attempt to improve the viewing experience after it was revealed that the league’s TV ratings had increased following two years of decline. Viewership in 2018 is up roughly five per cent overall from last year, with NBC, Fox, ESPN and CBS all reporting ratings increases for their NFL coverage.