PGA TOUR generates nearly 1,000 Round Recap articles per week with Natural Language Generation
September 08, 2019
- September 08, 2019
- (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
How do fans get caught up on all the latest action from their favorite player’s? The PGA TOUR uses the latest in technology to create stories about their favorite players and accomplish this goal.
Starting in 2018, the PGA TOUR teamed with Narrative Science to implement their intelligent automation platform, Quill. The purpose is to generate over 900 automatic round recap articles within minutes of the final putt dropping. This means all 150 players for nearly 50 tournaments have a personalized story written after every round they complete. The solution uses natural language generation based on statistics captured by the TOUR’s ShotLink system, powered by CDW, from a player’s latest round. This data is turned into an insightful summary of the most pertinent events. Leveraging this technology has provided the TOUR with the scalability to generate content.
Trying to staff enough writers to provide this level of detail for each participant every single week is a near impossible task and is quite expensive. This means that the technology was the only way to guarantee the generation of native content on the website for each player. So, this is not only a story about scale, it ensures that every player has round coverage. Automating this writing creates stories that were never before possible.
“Giving fans content on their favorite players is a goal of the TOUR and with the help of Quill, we are making this happen.”
What is Natural Language Generation?
Natural Language generation (NLG) is the task of producing a plain-English story from a structured data set that contains a series of numbers and statistics.
The process to get from numbers to narrative requires the production of a complex knowledge base. The TOUR worked closely with Narrative Science over several months to fine-tune this knowledge base to build out the logic that properly interprets the many different situations that can occur on any given hole during a golf tournament.
With NLG, the TOUR has an additional tool to present player statistics and the round’s events in an easily consumable medium. Not only can fans get the key round highlights quickly, but it also eliminates the need for them to try and interpret a result from hole-by-hole scoring. The TOUR continues to find ways to leverage scalable and sustainable technologies that expand the information that fans can consume.
How is this accomplished?
To turn the use of this technology into a reality, the TOUR architected a cloud-based platform that captures various real-time events that occur during a player’s round. Several serverless functions are subscribed to these events in real-time. Once the NLG system receives an event it is listening for, it completes the task of compiling data and delivering it to Quill. Player round details are now presented to TOUR fans within minutes of their round being completed; in a scale that was not feasible prior to the integration of this technology.
Predictive Analytics Today describes Quill the following way,
“Quill identifies the facts that are foundational to your narrative. Since not every result from this data is interesting or important, Quill uses your business rules to identify thresholds, drivers, trends and relationships to determine what matters most to your business. Quill leverages natural-language generation software to produce content which meets your communication goals, business rules and overarching stylistic preferences, such as tone, style and formatting. Finally, Quill automatically applies natural-language to the most relevant information and assembles a narrative that is indistinguishable from a human-written one.”
Working directly with Quill experts, the TOUR developed and refined the complex ruleset that would drive TOUR stories. We were able to provide our consultant with a style guide, written by our content production team and a data spec provided by our data team and they were immediately off making the first round of content proposals.
Where can we go from here?
The opportunities for variability and enhancements are endless with Quill. Over the coming months, the TOUR will release enhancements and all new functionality to the platforms that leverage this technology and provide fans with more ways to feel the drama that unfolds during each event.
The TOUR is applying this approach to TOUR Pulse. TOUR Pulse will provide fans with a collection of content, video and stat visuals for every player on the course. The application of Quill as the foundation of the narrative content has made the creation of the product possible. This new feature within the PGA TOUR mobile app will let fans experience the excitement of a live golf tournament through a real-time stream highlighting all the action on the course.
TOUR Pulse will provide users with the ability to experience a mix of content, such as video highlights, written hole summaries and stat graphics on every player after every hole they complete. This experience takes something as basic as a scorecard or leaderboard and turns it into a multi-faceted experience. TOUR Pulse provides additional context about the who, what, when, where, why and how events transpire across the course.