"Alexa, what's a touchdown?" NFL launches voice-enabled app

By Folake Dosu  |  January 9, 2019

IoT-NFL-Alexa

Need to brush up on your NFL knowledge for playoff season? Now you can ask Alexa. Forbes reports that the league recently announced a partnership with Amazon’s Alexa for a standalone voice-enabled app ready to answer all your burning questions about major league football.

Called “A Rookie’s Guide to the NFL,” the new Alexa skill is designed to get casual football fans up to speed through the entire 2019 NFL Playoffs, up to and including the Super Bowl to be held on February 3, 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.

The league’s Digital Lab, within the NFL media group, built the app’s underlying technology. The development is the latest in the league’s efforts to engage fans through voice-related technology and the NFL says this is just the beginning of its extensive voice strategy.

To build this Alexa skill, the Digital Lab assiduously tackled (pun intended) the entire rulebook, which spans over 2,000 terms, so it can field (last one, I promise) questions about players, formations, terms, and league rules, says Forbes. This way, football jargon is more approachable for those less familiar with the sport and the league has a better chance of converting casual playoff game watchers into consistent fans.

“The idea was what if we created kind of a decoder that while you’re watching the game you could just ask the NFL anything you wanted to know about football,” Dan Hogan, vice president of engineering, media services for the NFL, said to USA Today.

“This is the first skill we launched as a league and certainly the most ambitious. This really is a bit of a test pilot for us. Our thought is really anywhere where the technology exists – you have a microphone, speaker and a screen perhaps – we think ultimately you’re going to want to use your voice.”

“This is the first skill we launched as a league and certainly the most ambitious,” Hogan added. “This really is a bit of a test pilot for us. Our thought is really anywhere where the technology exists – you have a microphone, speaker and a screen perhaps – we think ultimately you’re going to want to use your voice."

Not surprisingly, if you ask Alexa, she’ll let you know that her #1 pick is the Seattle Seahawks.

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