Yesterday morning I made the journey west to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (aka. the home of Wimbledon).
Naturally, it bucketed it down with rain.
But thankfully it’s still a little early for any actual tennis. I was merely there to hear how the club and partners IBM are gearing up for the big championship on 27th June.
On the back of last year’s successful website relaunch, Wimbledon is determined to make the tournament far more than just an excuse for Pimms.
With continued efforts in digital transformation, here are just a few ways The All England Club and IBM are using new technology to make this year the most interactive yet.
Launch of the Apple TV app
As Commercial & Media Director Mick Smith explained during the talk, Wimbledon is keen to use digital as a ‘gateway to the brand’.
For a lot of people, Wimbledon is synonymous with so much more than sport. From strawberries and cream to the all-white dress code, it is a distinctly British event.
So, how can it become more accessible to a global audience?
The challenge is not to do with branding, but in simply finding ways to combine the club’s great history and tradition with new and modern forms of technology.
By creating accessible and engaging consumer content, it aims to not only attract a wider or younger audience, but an international one.
As a result of this continued focus, IBM has developed a new Apple TV app, designed to bring the unique atmosphere of the event into viewers’ living rooms.
It will allow users to listen to three radio channels, keep up with scores as well as browse a ton of related video content.
With greater access to all aspects of the championship, Wimbledon is hoping that fans will be more inclined to interact rather than simply watch on television.
Increased personalisation in apps
This year, Wimbledon is launching new Android and iOS apps with the aim of enhancing the individual fan experience – regardless of wherever they might be.
For visitors to SW19, the unique ‘Plan Your Visit’ feature will provide a countdown to the event as well as news and information tailored to specific matches.
But the personalisation does not stop there. With the ‘Wimbledon Story’ feature, visitors to the championship will be given their very own shareable slideshow, made up of photos and social media posts from the day itself.
As the All England Club’s Head of Communications, Alex Willis, explained, the idea is that technology will not disrupt or distract from the main event.
Instead of fans walking round glued to their smartphones, the apps are designed to complement and enhance the unique experience of being inside the grounds.
For viewers at home, mobile provides a similarly bespoke experience. Users will have the option to select their favourite players (getting tailored news and alerts) as well as real-time scores and analysis without having to go looking for it.
With the aim of providing content ‘on any platform, anywhere, anytime’, the apps look set to build on the success of the main website.
Utilising social listening tools
Instead of just using social media to gauge fan reaction, Wimbledon plans to use it to determine the type of content it produces.
IBM has created a new command centre that will monitor conversations surrounding the championship across various social media platforms.
By learning about and understanding the most relevant and up-to-date topics of conversation, the program will then feed the editorial team with unique insight about what kind of content fans are eager to hear, watch or read.
During yesterday’s discussion, a few questions were raised about whether the technology will actually uncover any original talking points.
However, the benefits do seem to be in the speed of the platform, and its ability to crawl through thousands of mentions in a fraction of the time it would take a real person.
Turning data into real-time insight is just one way Wimbledon aims to give the fan a better experience.
By offering more personalised and location-based content than ever before, and with a continued focus on making the tournament (both on screen and in SW19) an interactive experience, it hopes to give all tennis fans a truly memorable two weeks.
Econsultancy’s Masters of Marketing Awards has categories for Experiential & Events and also Outdoor/Location-based Marketing.
The deadline for entry is this Friday, June 17th. Don’t miss out!