To help guests at Wimbledon capture and share one-off moments, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) wanted to introduce high-quality public wifi services.
Determined to ensure exceptional service while maintaining the classic event aesthetic, the AELTC successfully rolled out a limited public wifi deployment seamlessly connected with analytics tools.
2.3 million unique sessionswith high levels of guest satisfaction
Enhances guests' experienceby helping them share once-in-a-lifetime moments
Delivers valuable insightto optimise the future full-scale deployment
Business challenge story
Keeping up with connected sports fans
With mobile devices becoming more and more ubiquitous, guests have increasingly come to expect public wifi connectivity at major events and venues. Escalating mobile usage is also changing the way people enjoy and interact with sports, and it’s vital that organisers take note.
The AELTC, responsible for the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, is paying attention to this trend. With plans to deploy public wifi across the grounds at Wimbledon in phases, the AELTC wanted to make sure the implementation was exceptional, both in terms of meeting high performance standards and aligning with the unique aesthetic of The Championships.
Tim Wilson, IT Director at the AELTC, comments: “It was critical that we got this first stage of the project right—it is paramount for us to deliver excellence in everything that we do. But the environment presents some challenges. We need to be able to support tens of thousands of users simultaneously, which outstrips the capabilities of traditional mobile network operator models. Also, any equipment needs to fit into the limited space and aesthetics of the grounds.”
To ensure high-quality service delivery would be possible without disrupting the event’s “tennis in an English garden” ambiance, the AELTC envisioned a limited initial deployment of public wifi for testing purposes. The organisation also hoped to gather insight into the behaviour of wifi users throughout the trial to optimise the future rollout across The Championships and further enhance the guest experience.
Serving up a successful launch
The AELTC looked to IBM—its trusted advisor of 28 years—for help and to collaborate closely with its own IT team in planning and deploying a successful public wifi project.
“As part of our continual drive to maintain Wimbledon as the best tennis tournament in the world, we introduce new capabilities every year in collaboration with IBM,” explains Wilson. “In 2017, we decided to gather information about wifi performance and user behaviour in selected areas at the event as part of our multiyear deployment effort.”
Identifying three strategic locations to serve as distinct use cases, IBM® Global Technology Services® built network architecture to provide public wifi services in these areas. Incorporating a passive optical network overlay architecture, the solution enabled high-density coverage over a greater distance than traditional copper, alongside quicker, easier deployment. Also, in contrast to conventional implementations, it offers carrier-grade uptime, integrated network services and unique subscriber management.
“The IBM team worked hard to blend the wifi equipment into the environment, which was very important to us,” comments Alexandra Willis, AELTC Head of Communications, Content and Digital. “The team buried access points, experimenting with real grass and artificial turf, to help us preserve the classic surroundings that are so central to the Wimbledon experience.”
Willis continues, “IBM also ensured that the offerings we were delivering over wifi via the Wimbledon app and wimbledon.com were tailored to enhance an individual’s day at Wimbledon and provide true value.”
The self-contained solution integrates with IBM Cloud™ environments to provide login capabilities, while seamlessly connecting to an IBM Live Event Analytics platform and third-party analytics tools to enable anonymised key insights.
Scoring big with tennis fans
The first iteration of the AELTC’s public wifi project was a positive step forward, with thousands of fans accessing the service to enhance their overall experience at The Championships and share favourite moments online.
“The 2017 tournament saw 2.3 million unique sessions on our public wifi service, 30,000 unique devices and 8.3 TB of traffic,” recalls Wilson. “IBM worked closely with our IT Operations team to provide a robust, stable solution that delivered the connectivity our guests expect in a very demanding environment. The primary guest survey revealed a high level of satisfaction with the public wifi service, as well as enthusiasm and support for a wider deployment.”
“By providing a reliable platform for guests to create and share experiences, we hope to add to their enjoyment of their visit,” elaborates Willis. “IBM is helping us support our guests in capturing and sharing the once-in-a-lifetime moments that Wimbledon affords tennis fans.”
Armed with new insights into their guests, the AELTC can better target its ongoing efforts to optimise the fan experience. The organisation recently launched MyWimbledon, a guest relationship programme designed to create an online community and deliver personalised content to fans throughout the year.
Wilson concludes: “Every Wimbledon tournament involves planning on a massive scale, and the more we know about our guests, the better we can ensure an exceptional experience when they visit. The insights generated by the public wifi project are another example of how partnering with IBM is helping us deepen our relationships with our guests.”
All England Lawn Tennis Club
Known simply as “Wimbledon,” The Championships is the oldest of tennis’s four Grand Slams and one of the world’s highest-profile sporting events. Organised by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and based in London, Wimbledon has been a global sporting and cultural institution since 1877.
Take the next step
To learn more about the IBM solutions featured in this story, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following websites:
For more information about IBM’s 28-year relationship with the AELTC, please visit ibm.com/Wimbledon.