Home Deep DiveInnovations Wimbledon Prepares for Greatness, Re-shaping the Fan Experience with IBM Cognitive

Wimbledon Prepares for Greatness, Re-shaping the Fan Experience with IBM Cognitive


IBM and The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), today unveiled new technologies for The Championships 2017, marking the next phase in the AELTC’s journey, cementing digital as the gateway to their brand with unique data insights and cognitive solutions.

Sports and entertainment companies compete on compelling content, which is why personalising and re-shaping the fan experience is a top priority for telecom, media and entertainment companies. Wimbledon is embracing this change in their pursuit of being the best tennis tournament in the world. It starts with making sense of data and realigning around fans: understanding and delivering on their needs and preferences.

To this end, The Championships, Wimbledon 2017 sees AELTC and IBM reveal four strategic innovation areas:

Changing fans’ perceptions – A new real-time insight powered by a bespoke solution from IBM, which seeks to highlight matches of particular interest and quality. By providing real-time insights and analysis around breaking match records faster than anyone else, IBM supports Wimbledon in being ‘first to market’ with content, helping Wimbledon rise above the noise of other global media outlets.

The use of a new competitive margin metric will help the Wimbledon editorial team to tell the stories of the matches in new ways as play unfolds. This will provide added insight to fans, with the aim of creating not just context, but a connection that will encourage them to delve deeper.

IBM SlamTracker with Cognitive Keys to the Match is a cross platform application that provides real-time scores, stats and insights for all matches in progress. The updated Keys to the Match will be more detailed, including insights such as pace-of-play, serve placement spread or baseline proximity. The solution also uses Watson APIs to refine and update the player style based on match data.

Wimbledon fans will have an unprecedented level of analysis, insight and engagement as the match unfolds, particularly with mobile devices in mind. Real-time data will be integrated from multiple sources including courtside statisticians, chair umpires, radar guns, ball position, player location and even Twitter for social sentiment.

At the beginning of a match, fans can launch IBM SlamTracker to check out players’ keys (ie what are the tactics to look out for on two particular players in a head to head match) and follow their progress against their keys in real time—point by point. The end result is a richer, more engaging experience before, during, and after each match.

IBM will produce additional insights based on “pressure situations” within a match (down 0-40 in a game, down 2 sets). These insights will show the historical performance for a player when in the specific situation, revealing hidden patterns in player and match dynamics to determine the pressure situations.

Leveraging AI to assist the Wimbledon visitor – In 2016, Wimbledon developed the award-winning “My Wimbledon Story” feature in the official apps. The apps have been enhanced this year with the new Watson-enabled bot, ‘Ask Fred.’

IBM Watson is revolutionising the guest experience at Wimbledon, offering a cognitive assistant to answer a variety of questions from fans visiting the event. The new mobile app will serve up information about dining options, features a natural language interface and the app also provides an interactive map of the venue. The new assistant is available to visitors to Wimbledon within the Official Apps for mobile and tablet.

New AI-powered automated video highlights for Wimbledon fans – Fans don’t just want to know what happened, they want to see it. The Wimbledon video production team is responsible for serving up all the best highlights from across the tournament for their own digital platforms.

New for 2017, AI-powered automated video highlights will be generated using IBM Watson and other video and audio technologies to bring to life the most exciting moments of The Championships from the six main Show Courts. With an average of three matches per court per day, video from the matches can quickly add up to hundreds of hours of footage which could take hours to pull together into highlight packages.

The AI system created by IBM Research scientists and IBM iX consultants will auto-curate highlights based on analysis of crowd noise, players’ movements and match data to help simplify the highlight video production process and focus on key moments in the match. This will allow the Wimbledon editorial team to scale and accelerate the video production process for highlight packages and expand the number of potential matches that are turned into timely highlight videos for fans to watch and share. A 360 camera view will also be provided from the practice courts to give fans a unique view of The Championships they have not seen before. All innovations have been designed to help Wimbledon deliver high value content in the moments that matter to connect with fans everywhere.

Helping fans understand what it takes to be the greatest of all time – IBM is leveraging all of the data and cognitive capabilities put in place for The Championships to delve into what it really takes to be a great champion at Wimbledon, adding social listening to debate who is the greatest of all time.

New for 2017 is ‘What Makes Great’, a solution powered by IBM’s data and cognitive capabilities. This provides fans with a new perspective on greatness from an analysis of 44 years of sports coverage. IBM will use its detailed historical data to identify key tennis performance measures against a set of topics that are collectively required to make a great champion. There is more to being great than simply looking into statistics. Attributes such as a great serve and return, to more emotive drivers such as passion and performing under pressure, helping a fan understand who is the greatest of all time and therefore enhance the fan experience.

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