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FOX Sports expands Google Cloud partnership, generative AI to automate archived sports video search

The old way of searching through countless hours of archived sports footage is going out the window, as FOX Sports and Google Cloud take their partnership to the next level.

Over the past nearly three decades, FOX Sports, a unit of FOX Corp., parent to Fox News and FOX Business, has accumulated a countless amount of video footage. Millions of hours' worth of sports-related content live within vast archives. At any given time, various individuals have been tasked with sorting through the seemingly endless amount of footage in order to produce new pieces of content.

But artificial intelligence now allows the once arduous task to be completed much more efficiently. FOX Sports recently announced an expanded partnership with Google Cloud, which aims to seamlessly unlock the full potential of its content archives. 

Google Cloud's generative AI technology through Vertex AI Vision will be able to sift through millions of pieces of MLB content, archived NFL footage, NASCAR video and other assets in a fraction of the time that previous methods have allowed for. 

"We are super-excited about the work we've done with FOX Sports," Google Cloud's Global Managing Director of Strategic Consumer Industries Anil Jain told Fox News Digital.

"They're using what's called the intelligence assets service, which is a solution we built together using Google Cloud's and AI's search capabilities to really change the game, if you will, in terms of how they produce content." 


Retrieving a specific piece of content via traditional methods would sometimes even require a person to go to a different physical location.

"We had a media management system, and we didn't have everything in it. We had records from the last four or five years, but if you were looking to go back to 1995, you would have to drive down to a vault that was 15 to 20 minutes away… you'd have to pour through tapes, and look through an antiquated database system to try and find things," FOX Sports Senior Vice President, Production Operations Dustin Myers told Fox News Digital.


FOX Sports went through an extensive process to find a company that would help the company transform the way people approached their work.

"We went on a mission to find a new system… we probably talked to 20 or 30 companies. [In 2017], ‘cloud’ was kind of the big buzzword… and through our sales contacts and some other people, we ended up talking to Google, and we pitched them the idea. It wasn't, ‘Hey, let’s build a new product.' It was, ‘Let’s change how people work.'

"We explained to them that it's really a miserable process to tell stories, and it's very labor-extensive."

Live sporting events oftentimes call for specific live video and images to be produced in real-time. Vertex AI Vision is a tool FOX Sports can use to quickly ingest content, while also analyzing millions of hours of game footage. The technology also allows users to search for content via commentary — meaning, a key moment from a World Series from several years ago could quickly and easily be found via the words the broadcaster used at the time.

Once video content is found, it can be used on a variety of different platforms, including but not limited to broadcast television, social media and marketing assets.

"The idea was to take our entire library and dump it into the cloud, run machine learning models on it and essentially use [Google's] search power to find what we need. Fast-forward to 2022, and we rolled it out in the World Cup in Qatar," Myers added.

"When [Philadelphia Phillies slugger] Bryce Harper hit that home run last year in the NLCS, we searched by [announcer] Joe Davis' call. It was ‘the swing of his life.’ So we just went in the interface and typed ‘swing of his life’ and we got the clip from the game, we got the other angles of it because it does speech to text."


Late last year, the OpenAI-developed chatbot ChatGPT was released, which helped introduce generative AI to the general public. Google incorporates AI technology into virtually all of its product offerings, and Google Cloud uses technology to help organizations and individuals who use its service to create a transformative experience for their respective industry.

"Since November, the world has woken up to generative AI — the power and potential of this newer AI technology to almost appear human-like in terms of the ability to communicate and leverage vast amounts of knowledge and data to provide better answers, better guidance, better assistance along the way," Jain told Fox News Digital.


"Google Cloud is the organization that provides technology developed at Google to enable our customers, enterprises, companies across all different types of industries to leverage that cloud computing… to drive transformation of industry."

The expanded partnership introduces automation into the daily workflow, which is expected to have a long-lasting and positive impact.

"With Google Cloud, we're able to utilize video search, advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate one of the most manual processes in sports media: tagging and searching video content," FOX Sports President of Production/Operations and Executive Producer Brad Zager said in a statement.

"Compared to previous media management workflows, our team is able to swiftly find relevant content, which is critical in the business of live sports."

Keeping the audience engaged has only become more challenging over the years, but the power that AI technology provides helps to keep organizations like FOX Sports on the cutting edge.

"Fox Sports is committed to providing its viewers the best possible experiences across platforms, and that starts with the technology that powers them," Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said in a statement. "By choosing Google Cloud’s AI technologies, Fox Sports is not only maximizing its content production capabilities, but also delivering transformative viewing experiences that keep its audiences engaged and entertained."

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