MLS Digital Video Metrics “Off the Charts” With WSC Sports’ AI Power

David Villa scores his first career MLS goal in the inaugural home game for New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Major League Soccer has been working with AI-powered digital video platform WSC Sports to generate fast, custom highlight reels since 2017.

If an MLS writer needs, say, a two-minute package of New York City FC striker David Villa’s goals, all he or she needs to do is click a few options. The machine learning mechanisms powering WSC Sports will scour through the database of footage and generate the clip almost immediately.

“The system puts it together, spits out the video, and my writer just turned into a video editor,” said MLS Digital’s SVP and GM, Chris Schlosser, in an interview at the Hashtag Sports conference. “That’s been incredible, really empowering the whole content team to create video content based on what the storyline is.”

WSC Sports is a product of the Los Angeles Dodgers and R/GA tech accelerator and has received funding from the likes of Intel Capital, the Dodgers’ owners, and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. WSC has so far worked with the NBA, the Basketball Champions League, and a recent deal with the United Soccer League. Its collaboration with MLS began in 2017.

“We worked with them to train the algorithms and then, in the middle of last year, they started being the engine behind all of our highlights,” Schlosser said.

Among other benefits, there are players from 73 countries competing in the MLS this season, so the league can tap WSC’s machine learning prowess to produce highlights for distribution in each of those markets.

In all, MLS expects to create about 20,000 videos for its digital properties this year, and has seen soaring engagement.

“All of our digital video metrics are off the charts,” Schlosser said.