For the first time by any sports organisation in Europe, European Athletics is partnering with Eurovision Sport to use cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology to bring more content to more people at the forthcoming European Athletics Team Championships.
Using the cloned voice of 2011 World Athletics Championships 1500m silver medallist and European Athletics commentator Hannah England, AI will replicate the content of European Athletics’ live blog for this year’s European Athletics Team Championships in Silesia from 20-25 June.
The live blog has been a popular addition to the editorial content provided at European Athletics' recent major events, including the Munich 2022 European Athletics Championships and Istanbul 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships.
At Silesia 2023, it will also be available in audio form, thanks to an initiative by Eurovision Sport, as part of the 24-hour live audio stream on the European Athletics YouTube Channel.
Hannah England said: “I am excited to work with European Athletics and the EBU to explore using AI to bring even more content to our fans, speaking with one voice. We are always looking for innovation in athletics and I believe this use of my cloned voice can enhance the fan experience by giving them another incentive to follow our sport.”
Hannah England at the Zurich 2014 European Athletics Championships
This audio innovation will allow European Athletics and Eurovision Sport to test the latest AI technology and demonstrate how it can be used effectively within a supervised framework to give people more choice in how they follow their favourite sport.
European Athletics and Eurovision Sport have a media partnership dating back over 40 years and share the values of integrity, inclusiveness, and innovation.
European Athletics CEO Christian Milz said: “Athletics is arguably the most inclusive sport in the world, but we want to expand it further, making the sport available to everyone and customised to their needs – however they wish to engage with it.
“That’s why we’re constantly exploring how we can leverage advances in technology to achieve this and now, thanks to the wonders of AI and our partnership with Eurovision Sport, we have another innovative way to bring athletics to more people.”
Head of Summer Sport at Eurovision Sport Andreas Aristodemou said: “Everyone is excited about the possibilities offered by AI in extending access to our content. We believe that well-tailored AI strategies can help both public service broadcasters and our partner sports federations connect with wider audiences and will be looking closely at the results of this experiment.”
Stadion Śląski photo by Marta Gorczyńska