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.