AFC Bournemouth trials chatbot to boost fan engagement

AFC Bournemouth trials chatbot to boost fan engagement

Solution from Greenwood Campbell and Microsoft uses emotion recognition technology 

Richard Humphreys |

Premier League football club AFC Bournemouth is trailing a chatbot to boost fan engagement. CherryBot, created by UK digital agency Greenwood Campbell and Microsoft, interacts with fans through emotion recognition and intelligent conversation.

The solution, which is hosted on the Azure Cloud, leverages Microsoft’s emotion API – a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that analyses different emotions in people’s faces and grades them.

To encourage fans to interact with CherryBot, AFC Bournemouth asked fans to upload selfies during a recent match using Facebook Messenger. Microsoft’s emotion API then analysed the photos that are uploaded, first scanning for inappropriate content and then for the emotion on the fans' faces. It is able to identify anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, neutral, sadness and surprise, with CherryBot responding to the fans accordingly. It can also recognise group shots and pick out the emotions of the individuals.

In total, more than 370 selfies were uploaded, with more than 1,150 unique Facebook users interacting, sending an average of 17 messages per person, resulting in more than 19,200 messages sent through the chatbot.

There were also more than 3.2 million impressions across social media from launch through to midnight on matchday.

“A lot of hard work went into creating and implementing CherryBot… and I am delighted at the response from our supporters,” said Rob Mitchell, AFC Bournemouth’s commercial director. “As a club we are always looking to embrace new and emerging technologies and to have so many people interacting with it, in the form of questions and selfies, can only be a positive sign.”

With such a successful launch, discussions about making CherryBot a permanent fixture at AFC Bournemouth are well underway, which would include further developments, additional features and enhanced interaction.

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