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AI to produce highlights at NPL tennis event

September 9, 2020

Tennis fans wanting to watch the action from the National Premier League Tennis (NPL) finals in London this week will be able to view tournament highlights online produced using an advanced form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.

The tournament is trialling a new AI system created by UK-based data science company Peak Indicators that automatically produces video highlights from a live feed.

Peak Indicators’ AI is trained to identify action on court automatically, capturing footage from individual points for sharing on social media and allowing entire match packages to be posted online without delays in play between points and games.

While AI has been used at Wimbledon to generate highlights from The All England Lawn Tennis Championships since 2017, the deployment of Peak Indicators’ system at the NPL finals is the first use of AI to produce highlights at an amateur or semi-professional sports event.

The system is also the first to use Deep Learning, a branch of AI that mimics the human brain when processing data, to identify when the ball is in motion and automatically capture the action. To ensure the technology is accessible to a wide range of sporting events and use cases, its design is based on low-cost commodity hardware such as an HD action camera and a mid-range laptop.

Mike Dixon, Director, National Premier League Tennis (NPL), comments: “Our partnership with Peak Indicators is proving to be valuable to both the NPL and our loyal sponsors. Incorporating their AI technology into our tournaments means we can engage with players and spectators in new and exciting ways and increase the profile of our events on social media. We look forward to seeing the real-time highlights and replays during our finals. This is the first time technology of this kind has been trialled in British Tennis and the LTA are so happy with Peak Indicators’ technical involvement.”

Antony Heljula, Technical Director at Peak Indicators, comments: “AI will transform so many areas of life, and we are keen to show that this technology can be accessible and affordable. Our goal for the NPL finals was to use AI and data science to provide the kind of online experience that was only available previously at Grand Slam events with professional broadcasters and big production budgets, and this event is the first real test of this new system. The players are excited about what we have developed, supporters will be able to see much more of the action on social media, and the tournament and its sponsors will benefit from significantly more engagement and exposure online.”

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