Live broadcasts for fast-paced sports are an important component to consider when evaluating the user experience of captions because the captions for these types of broadcasts tend to contain many errors, and are the most difficult content to caption due to the fast pace. For this study, we explored the user experience for fast-paced, live sports broadcasts, with a focus on hockey and basketball. Because these broadcasts typically include two off-screen commentators who are commenting on the play-by-play (PBP) action taking place during the game, as well as contributing commentary between the gameplay, there tends to be an extremely high word-per-minute rate associated with captions that are verbatim.

In some cases, like basketball, there are easily over 200 words per minute (WPM) being presented as captions, which is effectively too fast to support a comfortable level of reading, not to mention leaving enough time to also enjoy the live-action gameplay. In this project, we explored several aspects of the user experience associated with watching fast-paced live sporting events, including the readability of the captions, the user’s ratings for satisfaction and quality of captions, the level of comprehension that is possible either from captions or gameplay areas between the conventional captions style and a novel style where only the captions for the commentary. The results of an eye tracking study designed to monitor eye movement and focus that the users exhibit while watching live captioned sporting events are presented.

We also explored a novel strategy to reduce the WPM of captions in sports broadcasting, by displaying only the commentary captions. Results suggested that there were no differences found in viewer preferences between the two styles of captioning. Given the viewers were already familiar with the Play-by-Play style (PBP), our findings suggested that the commentary only style (CO) gave positive impacts on perceived quality satisfaction rating, viewing experience, and supported understanding of the game/flow. A longitudinal study that would allow viewers to become acclimatized to CO captions was identified as necessary to understand the long-term impact and experience of these types of captions.

Final Report – PDF