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Last year we wrote about how Wimbledon had reached new levels of digital innovation, using a well structured social media strategy which was far more engaging with fans, including clever use of emoji’s. There were even Periscope hosted guided tours from Roger Federer and content shared during the tournament and Twitter votes comparing #TheHill with #TheWorld.
Wimbledon also teamed up with Jaguar to create the hashtag #feelwimbledon. This measured the biometric, sociometric and atmospheric feelings of the crowds at Wimbledon and globally on Twitter.
The previous year Wimbledon redesigned their website including live streaming (even using drones for the first time), live radio, scores/updates, videos and social media links. Furthermore they redesigned the ‘Slamtracker’ feature, providing 3 performance indicators likely to affect a player’s performance along with every real-time statistic you could possible wish for.
This has created an immersive, device specific, personalised experience which many other rights holders could learn from.
Wimbledon’s video content is subject to strict copyright, a factor they overcome by posting rich, high quality videos via their YouTube channel and Google+ account. No stone left un-turned it seems, all the while maintaining the tournament’s traditional and prestigious image.
However, Wimbledon have not basked in last year’s success, instead pushing on with more innovative ways to engage with fans worldwide, whilst adding value to the brand. In a move to engage a younger audience the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and Snapchat announced a 3 year partnership in May 2016. This allows the organisers and Snapchat users to share live videos and images from SW19. Snapchat claim to have in excess of 10 million users in the UK (2nd only to USA), making this a match made in digital heaven. Snapchat will also sell ad space to tournament partners including Häagen-Dazs and Stella Artois.
The AELTC have a history of collaborating with their partners, cleverly ensuring they add value, whilst encouraging them to adopt a particular theme. Another collaboration with long standing partner with IBM Watson (since 1990), has created the ‘machine-learning’ platform tracking spectators facial expressions and emotions with the aim of establishing who each individual is rooting for. This then allows Wimbledon to expose them to tailored tournament content based on player(s) or countries an individual may be following. Very little else is known about the technology due to its need for legal approval and privacy concerns.
Beyond this platform, since last year IBM have been monitoring social media activity, with last year’s final producing 400 million tweets per second, not to mention Facebook, Instagram and other long form content (www.digitalsport.com).
Despite the 2015 championship returning 71 million site visits and 542 million page views, up 13% and 14% on 2014 (www.digitalsport.com), the organisers do not intend to install Wi-Fi in a bid to balance tradition with technology.
Hats off to Alexandra Willis, Wimbledon’s head of digital and content, with the tournament’s appeal continuing to go from strength to strength on and off the court. No doubt 2017 will see even more exciting digital innovations and I for one cannot wait.
*feature image www.manforhimself.com