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What Can Data and Insights Offer Wimbledon Fans?

What Can Data and Insights Offer Wimbledon Fans?

From the World Cup to Wimbledon, London is alive with a summer of sport. With one just down the road, and the other ‘coming home’, both big events share plenty of similarities; die-hard fans, world-class athletes and, of course, a nod to the numbers. Coaches, players, and pundits have spent years analysing every stat and offering their expertise, but now artificial intelligence is providing fans with brand new tailored experiences.

At the start of the start of the FIFA 2018 World Cup, we wondered if data analytics could deliver world cup glory and, with a couple more weeks to go, we’ll learn soon enough. But a little closer to home, Wimbledon is using data and insights to curate their audience’s experience…

AI Offers Tailored Fan Experiences

For the past few years, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) have been partnering with IBM to develop an AI experience that analyses emotions and creates instant highlights.

IBM’s Watson has entered the game and will curate match highlights by recording the movements, emotions, and even noises of both players and the crowd. As Federer reaches for his 20th Grand Slam and Nadal looks to replicate his success at Roland Garros, emotions will run high, giving AI the emotional intelligence stats it seeks. This is where AI meets EI.

Whilst Wimbledon will be filled with people on the grass and in the stands, the highlighted packages will be purely based on data, with zero human involvement. These are then sent to the AELTC, who will upload the clips to their website, apps, and social media accounts.

What Will Watson Look For?

  • In the crowd - any gesticulation – raised arms, fist pumping, yelling, and cheering
  • In the players – tensions and emotions

Delivered within 10 minutes, the highlights are reviewed by an editorial team who ultimately decide what gets published.

From Chatbot To Storyteller

Wimbledon.com, its Facebook page, and Messenger app offers offsite users the opportunity to interact with Fred, a social assistant. Named for Fred Perry, and powered by Watson, Fred operates through Facebook Messenger to allow access to tournament news and information.

The original, first generation Fred, a primitive chatbot from just three years ago, could talk to people and answer questions about Wimbledon’s history, player data, or fixtures. These days, however, he can send you curated highlight packages and clips, using the vast amounts of collected data by Watson.

An Optimised Digital Experience

Beyond Fred, AI is working on “bringing stories to life” on the Club’s revamped website, mobile app and social platforms; the redesigned Wimbledon.com offers more adaptive capabilities whilst the app now includes an offline mode for ease of use.

Their digital toolkit, however, goes far beyond fan experience. There is also a personalised website specific to the players, providing them with match schedules and offering insights into how they’re performing and what they can do better.

According to Alexandra Willis, head of digital and content at the AELTC, “63 million people visited the site (via mobile) during the Championships last year alone, while 80% of users also access Wimbledon.com through a desktop.”

Though the AELTC plans to continuously innovate, surprise and delight their fans, media director Mick Desmond believes its important to keep content “on brand.” By fusing quality data with advancing technologies, they can create a brand experience that is truly tailored for the individual, without losing what makes Wimbledon unique.

If you’re interested in data and analytics, Harnham may have a role for you. Check out our current vacancies, call us at +44 20 8408 6070, or email us at ukinfo@harnham.com.