NFL Offers Fans a New Viewing Perk: Ask Alexa

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The National Football League made its first foray into voice-enabled tech last week when it launched a new skill on Amazon’s Alexa intended to help fans (or would-be fans) better understand the sport.

The “Rookie’s Guide to the NFL,” which has been made available just in time for this season’s play-offs, is programmed with 2,000 football-related terms that cover positions, formations, major players, rules of play, and other nuances of the game.

Viewers will be able to ask Alexa to clarify questions while they watch, with the added feature of asking her to expound on a topic by telling her to “go long.” The Rookie’s Guide also includes a five-minute podcast with insight about upcoming games.

Dan Hogan, vice president of engineering and media services for the NFL, told USA Today, “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.”

“This is the first skill we launched as a league and certainly the most ambitious,” he 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.”

According to SportsPro, the move marks the latest attempt on the part of the NFL to improve its viewing experience and diversify its audience in the wake of declining TV ratings. The skill will help the casual fan follow NFL terminology and will also be available outside the U.S.

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