Alexa Plays Ball With World Series Features
The World Series is on-deck and Amazon wants people to use the Alexa voice assistant during baseball’s biggest event. The company announced the nine innings worth of new and updated features for Alexa related to the championship in a blog post.
Alexa, Buy Me Some Peanuts and Crackerjacks
The simplest feature Alexa is adding is the chance to watch and hear game highlights after the game ends. The clips can be audio or video depending on if you are using a smart speaker or a smart display. Fire TV owners can also review the game on their TV by asking Alexa. The recaps include both how the whole team did and reviews of individual players. The Alexa MLB skill will play the games live in audio. Even if you aren’t following the games as they happen, Alexa can answer questions in real-time about who is at-bat or what inning it is.
Beyond the current World Series, Amazon is encouraging people to discuss baseball statistics with Alexa. The voice assistant’s database includes all of the numbers of the current and previous Major League Baseball seasons. Users can ask for details about who had the best stats in each year or how different players improved or declined from year to year. Alexa will also guess at how the World Series will go, and which team will be the champion.
Alexa Sports Fan
Amazon has been extending Alexa’s list of sports features seasonally for a while now. Alexa became something of a fantasy football coach last month when it added a new skill set from sports conversational AI developer StatMuse offering advice and suggestions for fantasy football players. As part of the football season kickoff, Alexa also added a lot of new information to its football database, including college and high school football players and statistics. Alexa initially began adding sports information to its answer list last year.
Like in most other arenas, Alexa competes with Google Assistant, Siri, and other voice assistants when it comes to sports features. Each company wants its voice assistant to be the go-to for sports fans. Alexa has an advantage in that it can leverage Amazon’s other arrangements. For instance, Amazon had exclusive rights to broadcast the US Open last summer and promoted Alexa as a “tennis expert” and Alexa recently became the only platform to support the official voice skill of New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team.
Major League Baseball is more agnostic about the platforms it works with, and a lot of information Alexa can provide can also be obtained on its rival platforms. That said, whichever voice assistant is able to offer the best angles on major sporting events like the World Series is going to have an easy marketing opportunity. Even if someone only buys an Amazon Echo for some unique sports feature, they are that much more likely to buy other Alexa-powered devices rather than mix-and-match with products powered by other voice assistants.