AWS-MLSE game insights for fans tech way



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Amazon and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment sign partnership Image: Toronto FC

Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) (US), an Amazon.com, Inc. company, and the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) announced on February 23rd that they are innovating together to transform how some of Canada’s best-known sports franchises – the National Hockey League (NHL) team Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, the National Basketball Association (NBA) team Toronto Football Club (FC) and the Canadian Football League (CFL) team Toronto Argonauts – create and deliver extraordinary sports moments and enhanced fan engagement.

The ‘Amazon’ stated that MLSE selected AWS as its official cloud provider and official provider of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and deep learning cloud services. MLSE will use AWS’s comprehensive portfolio of cloud capabilities, including ML, advanced analytics, compute, database, and storage services to support their teams and lines of business.

For over 15 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud offering. AWS has been continually expanding its services to support virtually any cloud workload, and it now has more than 200 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), etc.

Seattle (US)-based Amazon is guided by four principles: Customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), one of the world’s premier sports and entertainment companies, owns the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto FC (MLS), Toronto Argonauts (CFL), Toronto Marlies (AHL), Raptors 905 (NBA G League), TFC II (USL) and Raptors Uprising Gaming Club, the Toronto Raptors esports franchise in the NBA 2K League. Its charitable arm, MLSE Foundation, focuses on funding initiatives to support youth through sport and recreational programs.

The ‘Amazon’ further stated that innovating together, MLSE will build solutions that will support how teams play on the ice, court, pitch, or field, how players stay healthy, how fans connect with each other and experience games, and how sports franchises operate internally.

The MLSE aims to offer its teams new AWS-powered insights to further improve the caliber of gameplay. Using Amazon Rekognition (AWS’s service for automated image and video analysis) and Amazon Kinesis (AWS’s service for easily collecting, processing, and analyzing video and data streams in real time), MLSE will be able to process and analyze video footage from cameras installed at team training facilities and game venues in real time to better prepare for crucial decisions during games. For example, the critical game data stored and analyzed on AWS can be viewed by coaches on the bench to help them strategize their next play.

Informed Humza Teherany, Chief Technology and Digital Officer at MLSE, “We built Digital Labs at MLSE to become the most technologically advanced organization in sport. As technology advances and how we watch and consume sports evolves, MLSE is dedicated to creating solutions and products that drive this evolution and elevate the fan experience. We aim to offer new ways for fans to connect digitally with their favorite teams while also seeking to uncover digital sports performance opportunities in collaboration with our front offices.”

Added Teherany, “With AWS’s advanced machine learning and analytics services, we can use data with our teams to help inform areas such as: Team selection, training and strategy to deliver an even higher caliber of competition. Taking a cloud-first approach to innovation with AWS further empowers our organization to experiment with new ideas that can help our teams perform their very best and our fans feel a closer connection to the action.”

Remarked Jordan Vader, Senior Vice-President, Global Partnerships at MLSE, “We are always searching for innovative organizations to partner with that will disrupt the norm and create the very best experience for our fans. Our partnership and what we plan to achieve with AWS will help transform Toronto’s sports and entertainment industry,” “Tapping into the technology developed by AWS will also enhance how we engage with fans, giving them exciting, personalized experiences in and out of our venues from before the puck drops in the rink to after the final buzzer on the court.”

MLSE will develop new technology for sports fans as well, using AWS’s broad portfolio of cloud services to create extended and unrivaled experiences for its teams’ supporters in the arena, at home and in the metaverse. MLSE will use augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications and Amazon Kinesis to power its planned ‘Game within the Game’ digital experience. With it, fans will be able to track their favorite players, access enhanced game insights in real time, take part in free-to-play gaming, and participate in on-demand sports betting.

Canadian hockey fans experienced the winning combination of AWS and hockey viewing with the June 2021 debut of the US National Hockey League’s (NHL) two new advanced analytics during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Shot Analytics and Save Analytics real-time stats, powered by AWS, appeared as on-screen graphics and data visualizations during NHL games, giving fans a better understanding and deeper appreciation of how their favorite players and teams perform during crucial moments.

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