Did Wimbledon's Play-by-Play Commentary Sound Funny? That's Because It Was AI-Generated


During Wimbledon this month, there was one noticeable difference for those watching the highlight reels compared with past years.

The international tennis tournament in London saw AI-generated commentary for the first time in the sport during the replays of some matches.

Although it wasn’t used during primetime television, the IBM-powered technology produced and narrated commentary for all match highlights. The video clips come with captions, an option that users can toggle on or off.

The artificial intelligence also provided a new feature for predicting each player’s probability of winning the final based on scores, statistics and expert opinions, according to an IBM news release.

The watsonx AI platform was trained in “the unique language of tennis,” the release said.

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The innovative technology’s introduction was the latest example of IBM’s evolving partnership with the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s Wimbledon Championships. The two have worked together since 1990.

“We’ve seen first-hand how these technologies have the power to help major sporting events like Wimbledon to grow their audiences through outstanding digital experiences,” Jonathan Adashek, IBM’s senior vice president of marketing and communications, said in a statement.

“The AI and data platform that IBM is using to create unique fan experiences for Wimbledon is the same technology that we’re using to drive business transformation with clients across all sectors and industries,” he said.

Would you listen to AI commentary?

The IBM-created AI system is not intended to replace Wimbledon’s live human commentary — at least that wasn’t the case for this year’s tournament.

Speaking on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” Hall of Fame tennis coach Rick Macci expressed his excitement for the technology as to how it could add to the audience’s enjoyment of the sport without replacing human commentators initially.

“You need storytelling, you need a personality, you need soul through the whole thing because a lot of the fans connect with the announcer,” Macci said, before speculating a “hybrid situation” of both humans and computers will become mainstream in sports commentary.

After that, he said, the robots will take over the job.

“It’s safe to say the bots are going to call the shots,” Macci said.

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To witness the AI technology as it was used this year, visit or download the Wimbledon app. From there, select a video, click on the headphones logo in the corner and choose “AI commentary” mode.

The 2023 Wimbledon Championships ran from July 3-16.

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David Zimmermann is a contract writer for The Western Journal who also writes for the Washington Examiner and Upward News. Originally from New Jersey, David studied communications at Grove City College. Follow him on Twitter @dezward01.