Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

AWS lets Second Spectrum use ML in sports analytics

Steve Rogerson
February 19, 2020



Second Spectrum, the official optical tracking and analytics provider of sports leagues such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the English Premier League, has chosen Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its cloud, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) provider.
 
Second Spectrum has also selected AWS media services to help deliver different live game-watching experiences to fans.
 
Second Spectrum uses AWS’s services to help sports leagues and their media partners deliver analytics, visualisations and easily searchable video clips during games and matches to enhance the fan experience and provide teams with deeper competitive insights.
 
For example, Second Spectrum leverages AWS to produce and deliver Clippers CourtVision, an augmented reality, live-streaming product for basketball team the Los Angeles Clippers that displays player tracking information, real-time stats and explanatory animations for fans watching from desktops and mobile devices.
 
Second Spectrum’s content-generation service runs on AWS. The process begins when Second Spectrum applies ML and computer vision techniques to its proprietary optical tracking system, which collects 3D spatial data from cameras at live sporting events, and then indexes the video in real time with metadata such as the identity and location of players, and the type of play in progress.
 
The technology then references that real-time information against historical team and player data housed on AWS to generate stats, analytics and proprietary metrics such as quantified shot quality (expected effective field goal percentage) and quantified shooter impact (impact of the player compared with league average), and uses AWS’s infrastructure to construct 3D visualisations and augmented video to support live broadcasts.
 
By expanding its relationship with AWS, Second Spectrum will begin working with Amazon SageMaker to explore ways of enhancing and tuning its ML models on years of video data captured in dozens of sports venues, enabling it to generate predictive stats during live games.
 
Second Spectrum reduces latency in its streaming services and offers fans a high-quality viewing experience by using AWS Elemental Live, a service for encoding live video and compressing it for viewing on multiple devices, and AWS Elemental MediaStore, a storage service optimised for media to allow television producers and sports commentators to access key moments from sports events quickly.
 
In addition, Second Spectrum plans to begin working with AWS Outposts, which extend AWS infrastructure and services to virtually any data centre, co-location space or on-premises facility in select sports arenas to understand how to reduce latency in ML inferences, graphical processing and live broadcast video delivery.
 
“Second Spectrum has created never-before-seen products and experiences for coaches, analysts, players, producers, storytellers and fans everywhere,” said Rajiv Maheswaran, CEO of Second Spectrum. “In addition, successful teams rely on our machine intelligence to find and share video, discover key insights, and make more informed decisions faster. Using AWS’s breadth and depth of services, Second Spectrum will elevate its analytics and video processing capabilities to provide deeper insights into on-field and on-court action. We look forward to leveraging AWS to continue to innovate new and compelling content and give our customers and fans new and better ways to experience sports.”
 
Mike Clayville, vice president at AWS, added: “AWS and Second Spectrum have a history of working together to deliver stats and visualisations that make the world’s most competitive sports even more engaging for fans, insightful for coaches and players, and profitable for media partners. In expanding the relationship between AWS and Second Spectrum – bringing together a top provider of sports analytics with AWS’s unmatched portfolio of services – we are adding new layers of depth to the spectator experience and helping teams uncover new ways to understand, evaluate and elevate their performance.”