KANSAS CITY, MO — Edge Up Sports and IBM announced the company has become an IBM Watson Ecosystem Partner and is developing an app powered by Watson to help fantasy football team owners manage their team’s performance in an optimal way for their league. The announcement was made as part of Edge Up Sports launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise $35 thousand for continued product development, giving contributors early access to the app and a role in shaping the product.
Successful fantasy owners dedicate several hours per week strategizing for fantasy football. Still, with so much information available, it’s difficult to stay current on the latest news and information surrounding players. More than 33 million people play — obsessing over rosters, stats and injury reports for nearly six months of the year. Yet, as popular as Fantasy is, it could be even bigger if more of football’s 100+ million fans got involved. Now, Edge Up Sports is bringing the same Watson cognitive capabilities being put to work in business, patient care and citizen services to fantasy users — giving them the ability to unearth critical insights faster to help minimize the time commitment needed to maintain a competitive edge.
Edge Up is a one-stop shop of analysis and insights that allows users to supplement their current fantasy platforms on Web sites like Yahoo and CBS, with additional timely information, such as insights on a NFL player’s Twitter behavior, stats on coaches, and articles from a wide variety of football analysts. By embedding IBM Watson APIs from the Watson Developer Cloud, the app will access and analyze ever-growing volumes and sources of football and player-related data to generate evidence-based recommendations. This analysis will help fantasy participants reduce the time they spend on research to help them make more informed team roster decisions quickly.
“Edge Up grabs vast amounts of available NFL data and, with the help of Watson, team general managers are able to make informed decisions and adjustments to their fantasy football roster picks,” said Edge Up Sports CEO Illya Tabakh. “By leveraging Watson technologies, we’re excited to be able to transform the way fantasy football is played, and provide a platform that is assisting team owners with the necessary analysis and insights that could increase their chances in winning their league.
Edge Up’s mobile-first app powered by Watson will provide core mental, physical and situational insights on NFL players, which pulls from social media interactions, weather reports, injury history, analyst write ups, news stories and more. The app provides fantasy players with answers to questions on their team including:
- How well does the team perform on grass vs. turf?
- Is the team emotionally prepared for a big rivalry game?
- Given a player’s injury history, how will a recent sustained hit most likely impact a player’s performance?
No novice when it comes to sport and data, IBM has been advancing Sports Analytics for over 20 years, applying analytics in a variety of ways to improve the coach, fan and player experience across a variety of professional sports from tennis, to American football, to rugby. This includes better understanding fan sentiment through analyzing the Twitterverse for improved fan engagement decisions; helping to mitigate possible player injury based on detecting player performance patterns against game intensity; bringing real-time scores, statistics and analysis to life for the fans, event organizers, players and media broadcasters. IBM’s work in advanced analytics and cognitive computing, combined with the work of its Ecosystem Partners can continue to bring new innovations to the sports industry.
“The purpose of opening up IBM Watson capabilities to our Ecosystem Partners via an open developer platform is to accelerate creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, and Edge Up Sports is a perfect example,” said Lauri Saft, Vice President, IBM Watson. “IBM and its partners are driving innovation across industries with Watson and, while it has been applied to help with very serious societal challenges such as cancer care, Watson can also be applied in fun ways to improve fan experience in the sports and entertainment world.”
Edge Up Sports powered by Watson takes fantasy data to the next level. NFL players are some of the most watched humans on the planet, with thousands of data points captured every game and even more from channels such as social media. That data is captured, sifted and crunched into digestible and useful insights to help inform decisions. Edge Up shows you how your roster changes on multiple dimensions throughout the week, so you can make the decisions that matter. By parsing analyst opinions, mental insights, physical resilience and situational factors like matches and weather, you can see overall scores that let you know your rosters’ health anytime and anywhere: http://ibm.co/1L25hkg
Through Edge Up Sports’ Kickstarter campaign, Edge Up’s goal is to provide the most passionate fantasy football team managers with real-time updates on their fantasy, an opportunity to connect to a community, build a premium user interface and experience for a rewarding experience that evolves with users. Possible rewards given by Edge Up Sports for Kickstarter contributors include a season pass for a
supporter’s entire league, regular teleconferences, a unique fantasy football experience with the Edge Up Sports team in Kansas City, and a ticket to an NFL game during the regular 2015-2016 season.
Edge Up Sports will launch with the upcoming NFL season and start as a service available early for its Kickstarter backers.