Advanced Television

IBM serves up ace fan experience at Wimbledon

June 17, 2014

By Colin Mann

Technology giant IBM is marking its 25 year partnership with The Championships, Wimbledon, by bringing tennis fans even closer to the prestigious event, with new ways to access and interact with the latest Championships news and court-side action as it happens.
IBM is serving numerous innovations to Wimbledon fans, including an enhanced interactive mobile experience; redesigned and simplified SlamTracker analytics that encourages engagement; and a new Social Command Centre powered by IBM SoftLayer cloud that will provide The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) with insights into social media conversations about The Championships.
The engaging Wimbledon 2014 experience continues a tradition that has existed since IBM became AELTC’s technology supplier in 1990. Over the years, the partnership has consistently delivered innovative technology solutions, enhancing The Championships’ experience for players, coaches and fans around the world.
“We continue to look for new ways to innovate and strengthen our leadership position in the sports industry, and one of the ways we will do this is by delivering content and information about The Championships to fans in the way that they want to consume it, no matter where they are,” said Mick Desmond, Commercial Director at AELTC. “Working with IBM is a winning partnership because it allows us to create a unique digital environment that delivers stats, video and information to our fans whenever they want it on all devices and is the next best thing to being there.”

Innovations for 2014 build on the inclusion of live video on in 2012 as well as wider platform coverage and iPad app in 2013. “What stood us in good stead was what we did with our digital assets,” explained Desmond. These innovations include:

  • Redesigned interactive mobile experience for Wimbledon fans – IBM and the AELTC have transformed the Official Wimbledon iPhone and Android apps and added new functionality to the iPad app for 2014. The result is a visually engaging, immersive, personalised and social Wimbledon experience that delivers comprehensive mobile coverage across all three platforms, as well as easier access to live scores, results, news, live blog, photos, live video and radio, video highlights, and much more. The personalisation in the phone allows fans to tailor their own unique feed getting the information and experience they want. No matter where they are located, fans can connect to the action on the Wimbledon courts – including scores, stats, live video and match analysis – via their smartphones, tablets, PCs and other devices.
  • Enhanced IBM SlamTracker – For 2014, SlamTracker has been redesigned and simplified, featuring a new interface that encourages engagement and dynamically delivers insights to Wimbledon fans. SlamTracker is a multifaceted aspect of Wimbledon’s digital presence that leverages historical and real-time data to add depth to The Championships’ experience. SlamTracker’s ‘Keys to the Match’ predictive analytics offers ‘fan-friendly’ insights into about a match by identifying three performance indicators that will likely affect a player’s performance.
  • Wimbledon Social Command Centre – Powered by IBM SoftLayer cloud technology, the new Social Command Centre at The Championships 2014 will boost fan experience on digital platforms by helping the Wimbledon content team understand and respond to fans’ needs in real-time. The Social Command Centre will deliver insights into current and evolving social media conversations taking place on and off the court. This insight will not only help to inform AELTC but also provide them with compelling and unique content to draw people back into Wimbledon’s digital channels.
  • The Wimbledon Social Command Centre will consist of:

    Evolving topics – Understand what topics are growing or reducing in focus and their relative importance to fans in order to make editorial decisions about content priorities
    Key social statistics – Discover core data points around volume and reach of fan conversation, where it is focused in terms of location, which players it isfocused on and what is appealing to fans
    Player conversations – Get insight into what participating players are discussing, what fans are saying about them, and who has the greatest share of voice.
    Social heat-map – Representative world view depicting popularity of topical discussion points surrounding players, performance and results.
    Hill vs World – A global social conversation which will encourage the audience onsite to respond to match-based questions, and compare their responses with the audience offsite.
    Social court – Insight into which topics are being discussed about specific courts around The Championships, and why.
    Influencers – Understand who is driving the Wimbledon social conversation, why they are influential and what are they saying. This is delivered using complex network algorithms from IBM’s Customer Experience Lab that taps into IBM’s $6 billion annual research and development investment.
    Wimbledon Sentiment – Real- time analysis of how Wimbledon’s own social brand is being perceived, informing adjustments to content and style

“Social media has become important; it’s a fundamental part of our digital strategy,” said Alex Willis, Content and Communications Manager, AELTC.

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