LaLiga’s new AI-powered voice assistant lets fans explore the beautiful game like never before

Football player bending down to place ball on field

Fans of Spain’s LaLiga football league can now use a new artificial intelligence (AI) voice assistant to easily and more naturally access all the information they need, in different channels.

Created with Microsoft, the new LaLiga assistant can be interacted with via voice or text through three different channels – Skype, Google Assistant and Cortana (in development,) and could be expanded to 11 channels in total, including Telegram, Teams, Slack, and native applications in Windows, Android and iOS.

“For LaLiga, it has been a pleasure to work on this innovative project together with Microsoft, satisfying an ever-growing demand among our fans – to be able to answer questions about our competition through voice,” said Alfredo Bermejo, Director of Digital Strategy at LaLiga.

Here to help
The assistant allows fans to receive team overviews, and detailed stats of over 1,200 players. It will also offer minute-by-minute match updates, while providing summaries, statistics and videos of past matches, for those who missed out on the action, or for fans who want to dive deeper.

The assistant can also help fans prepare for upcoming games, with information about where to watch them from different countries and time zones, ensuring that no supporters get left behind. Those who want to pit favourite teams against their rivals can also compare statistics and line-ups to see how they’ll fair on the field, along with the addition of videos, images and data to help answer questions.

soccer pitch corner, white lines painted on green grass

Intelligent design
The LaLiga assistant communicates with users using natural written or spoken language expressions, powered by Microsoft’s LUIS (Language Understanding Intelligent Service). LUIS is a machine learning-based service which enables users to build natural language into apps, bots and IoT devices, allowing companies to improve their customer service and communication.

Active learning also means that the system is continuously improving the quality of its natural language models, allowing it to continuously update and improve, as it’s being used. Currently, the assistant can be expanded to nine more LUIS application languages ​​with a further 29 languages ​​based on Microsoft’s cognitive services.

The system is also intelligent enough to respond differently depending on the channel being used, while able to discern between similar names and typos, providing a more seamless experience.

The assistant is connected to LaLiga’s existing Microsoft-developed platform, collecting information on all teams, players, statistics and results. This will allow fans to continue using their existing accounts enabling them to receive personalised content and rewards, helping LaLiga with user retention and loyalty.

Sebastian Lancestremere, Global Managing Director of Microsoft Sports states that “The LaLiga assistant is another step in the collaboration between the two organizations, which began in 2016, when Microsoft became an Official Technology Partner of LaLiga. The use of artificial intelligence tools and the application of Microsoft’s cognitive services will allow LaLiga to enter a new dimension in its relationship not only with fans, but also with its partners and sponsors.”

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