We're happy to announce that we're now working in partnership with US local media group Forum Communications, delivering robot written match reports from two junior leagues for their ice hockey vertical The Rink Live in the US upper Midwest. This is our first delivery of automated sports content to a US publisher.
The Rink Live is using robots to cover the USHL and NAHL junior hockey leagues, with the aim of providing expanded coverage of ice hockey in the region. The site, which is operated by a dozen staff from parent company Forum Communications, publishes stories, videos and other unique content about youth, high school, junior, college and professional hockey across Wisconsin, Minnesota and North and South Dakota.
Says General Manager Neal Ronquist, “I am excited to partner with United Robots to expand our content offerings to our readers. Nothing can replace the work of our talented journalists. Technology does, however, afford us unique opportunities to cover more teams, more players, in an efficient and creative manner. As we learn more about what our audience members value, we will continue to explore all avenues to increase the amount of unique, engaging hockey content we deliver.”
In parallel with the deployment of content automation, The Rink Live has added reporters to focus on youth, juniors and prospects, as well as staff and resources to increase social media presence on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, including through several new video shows. The additional staffing, the expanded unique content and the deployment of robots, all adds up to provide what The Rink Live describes as “more robust hockey coverage for fans.”
Forum Communications is one of a number of publishers in North America and Europe who have recently started automating sports reporting:
- DC Thomson in Scotland publish match reports from junior football leagues, complete with coaches comments submitted via SMS and automatically inserted in the texts.
- Brunswick News in northeast Canada use robots to cover local junior hockey leagues.
- In the Netherlands, NDC are covering all 60,000 local football matches in the first post-COVID season.