NEW YORK — Working with automation from HERO Sports and data from Sportradar, The Associated Press announced today that it will offer data-driven text stories previewing all National Basketball Association games.
AP staffs all 1,230 NBA 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 Wednesday, Jan. 23.
“We continue to leverage automation technology to expand our content offerings for the many customers around the world that rely on AP for complete and timely sports coverage,” said Barry Bedlan, AP’s director of sports products. “We’ve been pleased with what we’ve been able to do with the HERO Sports team.”
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 games for AP.
“We’re excited to expand our work with The Associated Press to include the NBA in addition to our MLB coverage,” said Brad Weitz, CEO of HERO Sports. “The AP wrote the book on journalism, so their decision to trust HERO Sports to produce content is an enormous vote of confidence in our team and platform.”
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’ve had a long and successful relationship with the AP, and we are pleased to offer our data for NBA previews to continue increasing reader engagement,” said Jason Sukhraj, senior vice president of business development at Sportradar. “As fans clamor for more information before, during and after games, providing relevant data is paramount to keep them on-site longer and to keep them coming back for more.”
AP also uses automation technology from Automated Insights to produce recaps of all MLB-affiliated minor league baseball games, as well as nearly 4,500 stories about U.S. corporate earnings each quarter.
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. The news agency rolled out automated corporate earnings reports in 2014.
AP continues to explore ways to use automation to expand its content offerings and improve its news coverage.