The Associated Press announced today that it will preview all National Hockey League games with data-driven text stories generated by automation from HERO Sports and data from Sportradar.
AP staffs all 1,250 NHL regular-season games and all playoff games each season, but the global news agency has never before delivered previews of every game.
The automated, data-driven stories will begin moving on AP lines on March 7.
“The launch of the NHL previews is part of our ongoing efforts to provide even more content of value to our customers around the world,” said Barry Bedlan, AP’s director of sports products. “Our collaboration with HERO Sports and Sportradar is helping make the AP Sports report even more comprehensive than before.”
AP Sports editors worked closely with the automation team at HERO Sports to craft the preview templates, using game, seasonal and historical data from Sportradar. The automation technology enables the text stories to be produced directly from data without the intervention of editors.
HERO Sports uses automation to generate previews and other content for all levels of nearly every competitive sport, ranging from Division III college lacrosse to the NFL. It also generates automated previews of MLB and NBA games for AP, using Sportradar data.
“Our collaboration with Sportradar and The Associated Press has been phenomenal. With the launch of NHL previews, we continue our commitment to expand coverage to all sports,” said Brad Weitz, HERO Sports CEO. “Whether it is helping universities, publishers, or leagues, our mission is the same; to reduce the cost of content production and enable people to be more valuable to their organizations.”
Sportradar is the AP’s primary sports data provider and holds official data partnerships with top U.S. leagues, including the NFL, NBA and NHL.
“We are delighted to provide our data to the AP to help inform all automated NHL previews,” said Brian Josephs, vice president of digital sport at Sportradar. “Fans continue to demand more information beyond actual games, so they can get closer to the teams they love. Data plays a crucial role in satisfying that desire and ultimately increasing the overall fan engagement.”
The AP Sports report first tapped automation technology in 2012 and now provides most of its sports agate to subscribers through automation, primarily from Sportradar.
AP also uses automation technology from Automated Insights to produce recaps of all MLB-affiliated minor league baseball games, previews of men’s college basketball games and nearly 4,500 stories covering U.S. corporate earnings each quarter.
AP continues to explore ways to use automation to expand its content offerings and enhance its news coverage.