AP, NCAA to grow college sports coverage with automated game stories

March 4, 2015
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Vanderbilt shortstop Vince Conde hits an RBI single against Virginia in the sixth inning of the last game of the best-of-three NCAA baseball College World Series finals, in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
The Associated Press, working with data from the NCAA, plans to use automation technology to provide thousands of stories about college sports previously not covered by the news organization.

Rollout of the automated game stories will start this spring with Division I baseball. Division I women’s basketball, Division II and III football, and Division II and III men’s basketball will be added during the next 20 months.

The expanded coverage will be made possible through an arrangement with the NCAA, which will provide game statistics, and Automated Insights, which developed the technology that AP already uses to generate more than 3,000 stories about U.S. corporate earnings each quarter.

“This new partnership will allow AP to cover more college sports of interest to our members and their audiences,” said Barry Bedlan, AP’s deputy director of sports products. “This will mean thousands of more stories on the AP wire, which will remain unmatched in the industry. Every college sports town will have some level of coverage.”

The stories also will appear on NCAA websites related to the teams being covered.

”We are excited to enter into this relationship with the Associated Press and Automated Insights as it will result in increased exposure for teams and student-athletes in several more sports across all three divisions,” said David Worlock, the NCAA’s director of media coordination and statistics. “Our staff has worked with our membership to increase the frequency with which we update our statistics, and the ability to get game files from the schools soon after the competition concludes will lead to additional content for NCAA.com and the AP wire.”

With Automated Insights and Zacks Investment Research, AP started producing automated quarterly earnings reports for its business report in July. The success of that initiative prompted AP and Automated Insights to look for other opportunities to leverage the automation technology.

“We are thrilled to advance data-driven journalism with such a forward-looking organization,” said Robbie Allen, CEO of Automated Insights. “Our partnership with AP exemplifies the benefits of our Wordsmith natural language generation platform for businesses, employees, and customers.”

AP’s sports report first tapped automation technology several years ago and now provides most of its sports agate to subscribers through automation. In 2013, AP also introduced automated NFL player rankings on its Pro Football Digital News Experience, http://pro32.ap.org, which it hosts on the websites of newspapers and broadcasters. That ranking included automated text descriptions of player performances each week, which were provided by Automated Insights.

The AP is actively exploring other automation technology solutions, and recently hired an automation editor.

About AP
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world's population sees news from AP. On the Web: www.ap.org.

About the NCAA
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 450,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.NCAA.org and www.NCAA.com for more details about the association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes.

About Automated Insights
Automated Insights (Ai) uses its patented Wordsmith natural language generation platform to transform big data into written reports with the depth of analysis, personality and variability of a human writer. The platform generates insightful, customized content on an unprecedented scale for clients like The Associated Press, Samsung, Edmunds.com, Yahoo!, and Comcast. Automated Insights is a subsidiary of STATS LLC, a Vista Equity Partners company. Learn more at http://www.automatedinsights.com.

Contact
Paul Colford
Director of Media Relations
The Associated Press
212-621-1895
pcolford@ap.org

Erin Madigan White
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Associated Press
212-621-7005
emadigan@ap.org


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