Feb 16, 2023 - Sports

Alexa is a sports nerd

Illustration of an Alexa wearing a sports fan foam finger

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Amazon pushes further into live sports programming, the company has been investing resources to ensure that Alexa, its AI virtual assistant technology, is a sports expert.

Why it matters: The strategy appears to be working. Alexa-enabled devices received hundreds of millions of sports queries in 2022, up 40% from the year before, per Amazon.

  • The increased sports push means Alexa can provide more information than ever before, whether you have a simple question about a score or need to settle a historical debate with stats.
  • Amazon wants Alexa to be the go-to technology for in-game updates, allowing fans to get real-time info without having to pull up a second screen and look away from the game.

What they're saying: "Our team is fanatical about launching new, personalized experiences with sports fans in mind," Kevin Davis, director of Amazon Alexa Information, tells Axios.

  • One example: "Follow Updates," where Alexa can proactively let fans know when there's breaking news or a score update from their favorite teams.

Between the lines: So how exactly does Alexa "improve" its sports knowledge and answers? According to Amazon, it's a combination of machine learning and more data inputs.

  • Machine learning helps Alexa understand questions even in noisy environments and instantly retrieve and analyze information before providing bite-sized answers.
  • Alexa also simply has access to more data now thanks to Amazon's growing league partnerships, either as a broadcaster (think: "Thursday Night Football") or service provider (think: Amazon Web Services).

Snapshot: Here were some of the most popular questions customers asked Alexa during Sunday's Super Bowl, per Amazon…

  • "Alexa, how old is Patrick Mahomes?"
  • "Alexa, how many passing yards does Patrick Mahomes have?"
  • "Alexa, is Rihanna pregnant?"
  • "Alexa, what position does Jason Kelce play?"
  • "Alexa, how tall is Jalen Hurts?"
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