Take Me Out To the Ball Game: Ai & AP Automate Baseball Journalism At Scale

The Associated Press, one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent news-gathering, has teamed with Ai again for yet another milestone in automated journalism. Using our Wordsmith artificial intelligence platform, AP is turning Minor League Baseball game data into stories that go straight to the wire.

Automated Insights began automating corporate earnings stories for the AP two years ago. AP called the reaction to that project “overwhelmingly positive” and noted that “we have far fewer errors than we did when we were writing earnings reports manually.” Wordsmith now produces 3,700 corporate earnings stories per quarter, 12 times the output of their previous manual efforts.Now, Ai’s Wordsmith platform is automatically producing game recaps for every single Triple-A, Double-A, and Class A game. That’s 142 teams across 13 leagues for a total of nearly 10,000 game stories per year.Before Wordsmith, the AP wasn’t covering any Minor League Baseball games at all, meaning our content automation added new value without displacing any human tasks. While the AP did cover some Minor Leagues games until 2006, it wasn’t able to cover “nearly as many teams and leagues.”

You’ll be able to find the stories on MiLB.com and the website of your hometown team. They’ll also show up on major sports media sites, such as ESPN. You can find a number of them via Google, too.

Here are some of the reactions to the news:

TechCrunch:

[I]f you’re worried that technology is "stealing jobs" from promising sports writers, rest easy. According to the AP’s deputy director of sports products, Barry Bedlan, the AP actually hired automation experts to develop, manage and integrate MiLB coverage.

With the help of natural language algorithm company Automated Insights, the Associated Press announced Thursday that it will be publishing written content created by computers.The articles… tend to be relatively straightforward, but have all the necessary information to recap a game.

Jayson Aquino tossed a three-hit shutout and Quincy Latimore had three hits and two RBI, as the Bowie Baysox topped the Akron RubberDucks 6-0 in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday.That’s the kind of straight-ahead, no-nonsense, get-the-new-upfront lede that comes from a professional journalist at the Associated Press. This particular lede, however, was written by a computer.

I would also add that I found it easier to read the story written by a robot. All the information was right up front. No fancy language-just the facts.

So, what does an automated minor-league baseball recap look like? About what you’d expect from a reasonably competent human reporter, minus any telltale signs of abject boredom, self-loathing, or stifled literary ambition.

From a publisher’s perspective, Wordsmith’s appeal is understandable – rather than paying for dozens or hundreds of journalists to attend events, it can instead generate countless stories and articles in the same time it would take a person to write one.

We also saw coverage in the Daily MailEngadgetSportsBusiness DailyPoynterTech.CoThe News & Observer, and WRALTechWire. In all, dozens of publications from across sports and tech media covered the story.

The best news of all is that you can use the same NLG platform that the world’s most trusted name in media uses. Request a demo of Wordsmith today.

And by the way – the story of our work with The Associated Press isn’t over. We continue to explore new journalistic frontiers and are looking forward to automating additional story types in the future.