Foxtel attributes double-digit growth to wicket-predicting cricket-mad AI bot

Foxtel has unleashed the greatest cricketing mind ever created

An AI bot that can predict when wickets will fall in a game of cricket, has delivered a double-digit increase in weekly sales growth for Foxtel.

Monty, a cricket-mad custom machine learning model, was designed in collaboration by Foxtel, Fox Sports, Google and Mindshare, in a bid to identify and predict how and when wickets would fall in real time during live games.

Featuring a bespoke ‘Wicket Warning’ system, Monty can spot an approaching wicket up to 5 minutes before it falls and alert viewers and cricket fans to watch the coverage live.

The alerts are delivered via dynamic display, pre-roll and digital outdoor alerts and Monty's predictions have also been integrated into the Fox Cricket app during the Boxing Day Test. A Google integration also enabled Google Home users to ask about the upcoming play conditions.

Dubbed "the greatest cricketing mind ever created", Monty has watched every single ball bowled by the Australian National Men’s team the past 18 months more than 500,000 times to study the patterns of player behaviour and pitch conditions to predict wicket falls.

The AI machine was conceived to deliver on Foxtel’s strategy to provide viewers with a cutting-edge and innovative customer experience.

The bot has already predicted close to 498 wickets across international cricket games and Foxtel attributes its presence to a double-digit increase in weekly sales growth.

Christopher Pocock, senior marketing manager, Foxtel, said, “Monty’s exceeded all expectations and earned his spot on the team by delivering results every match. This media innovation is a perfect demonstration of how creativity and data can combine to create a totally new experience for fans.”

Jack Smyth, head of innovation, Mindshare, said: “We’re at the cutting edge of creativity and data. Monty’s proof that a new era of analytics is here and we’ve ensured Foxtel and FOX SPORTS are leading the way. Monty’s learning more with every single ball and working with Foxtel and FOX SPORTS we’re going to build on our first-mover advantage. To see an idea leap from messaging all the way through to a totally new way to watch the game is incredibly exciting – and only possible thanks to the Foxtel team’s appetite for innovation.”

The companies behind Monty are currently exploring how to evolve the technology for the winter sports season.

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