Business challenge

To immerse themselves more fully in the events of Wimbledon, fans look to The All England Lawn Tennis Club to provide the most up-to-date and relevant statistics. How could IBM help them deliver?

Transformation

IBM combines IBM Analytics technology, expert consultants and agile processes to extract insights from millions of data points, responding to questions from the AELTC and media to help engage fans.

Results

Dramatic

improvement in response time to queries

Enhances

AELTC and media reporting through unique perspectives on the action

Helps

the AELTC and media boost fan engagement

Business challenge story

Sparking a desire to know more

When you follow a sport, some of the biggest joys lie in analyzing the players’ performance and using those insights to predict what might happen next. Some fans are keen to see expectations overturned, others want to see the greats of the game break records and consolidate their legacies. For both camps, sport statistics can provide the context that helps them connect more deeply with the action.

Players at Wimbledon compete on one of the world’s largest stages: thousands of spectators within the Grounds and millions of viewers globally watch their pursuit of tennis glory. For 29 years, IBM has been the Official Supplier of Information Technology Consultancy to The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), organizers of The Championships.

IBM is at the front line of information gathering and analysis at Wimbledon, and each year’s event adds to the wealth of historical data that it holds on behalf of the AELTC, which includes information dating back to the very first Championships in 1877. This unique position makes it the ideal font of knowledge for questions posed by the AELTC and media, who are continually seeking to seize a greater share of fans’ attention and tell the story of the matches in more compelling ways. With sports and other major events around the world finding new ways to attract and retain viewership, Wimbledon competes in an increasingly crowded arena, making it essential that organizers continue to innovate.

The team in IBM’s data bunker at The Championships receives more bespoke, ad hoc queries each year, ranging from player win rates to shot placement and beyond. Facing rising demand, the IBM team wanted to ensure it could answer increasingly complex questions and help the AELTC and media build a more detailed picture around everything that happens on the courts for fans. The team set out to build a comprehensive and agile analytics solution to assist alongside its other artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

The AELTC relies on our partner IBM to provide us with accurate and timely statistics and insights so we can tell the story of The Championships in the most compelling way to our international audience.

—Alexandra Willis, Head of Communications, Content & Digital, The All England Lawn Tennis Club

Transformation story

Diving into data

To step up its ability to serve up interesting insights fast and efficiently, the IBM team deployed IBM Cognos Analytics. Using this solution, the team can trawl through the huge amounts of historical data stored in its IBM Db2® database, which is continually updated during the event with information collected from multiple real-time data sources including the referees' office, chair umpire and IBM’s own data sources amounting to millions of new data points each Championships.

This year, IBM upgraded to the latest version of IBM Cognos Analytics and developed more agile processes to enable easier ad hoc, interactive reporting. As a result, the team was able to generate much larger volumes of statistics at greater speed. During the 2018 Championships, an infrastructure architect worked with the solution full-time, using a combination of 120 pre-built reports and spontaneous queries to uncover intriguing statistics and respond to questions from the AELTC and media.

For example, in the run-up to the 2018 World Cup football match between England and Sweden, the IBM team was asked for the last time an English player competed against a Swede in the Quarter-Finals at Wimbledon. Using Cognos Analytics, the team provided the answer – 1973 – much faster than would have been possible with previous solutions. As a result, the AELTC and media were quickly able to tap into World Cup fever to spark sports fans’ interest.

Results story

Ramping up fan engagement

Equipped with IBM Cognos Analytics, the IBM team can respond to queries in minutes rather than hours, and sometimes almost instantly. During the 2018 Championships, a single IBM consultant answered hundreds of questions from the AELTC and worldwide media, and proactively identified a range of interesting statistics for the AELTC to use in its social media posts. Fortifying its reputation as the place to come for Wimbledon data, the IBM team is ready to meet even more demand in upcoming years.

By providing insights gleaned by IBM Analytics technology, the IBM team helps the AELTC and media enrich their coverage of the event. Because the solution enables genuinely new analysis, it aids members of the media in finding fresh perspectives to capture and retain audience interest.

For the AELTC and media, a continual supply of relevant statistics and noteworthy facts helps them immerse fans more deeply in The Championships. With the 2018 event seeing a number of records smashed – such as the most games played by a single player at a single Championships (349, by Kevin Anderson), and the longest semi-final match (six hours 36 minutes, Kevin Anderson versus John Isner) – there were plenty of twists and turns that IBM capitalized on with analytics solutions to help its partner organizations drive fan engagement.

Next year, the IBM team will return to scouring the action of the tournament to find unique insights, a practice that helped make the 2018 Championships a vintage year for spectators. It has laid another foundation in its efforts to become even more responsive and agile as it enters its 30th year supporting The Championships.

Using the latest version of IBM Cognos Analytics, IBM may offer members of the media the ability to self-serve queries and reports, empowering them to uncover interesting facts and statistics independently. Drawing on powerful analytics technology, IBM continues to push the envelope when it comes to delivering the experiences that make Wimbledon one-of-a-kind.

Alexandra Willis, Head of Communications, Content & Digital at The AELTC, says: “The AELTC relies on our partner IBM to provide us with accurate and timely statistics and insights so we can tell the story of The Championships in the most compelling way to our international audience. In addition, the service IBM provides to the international media covering The Championships is invaluable. The IBM team draws on its deep knowledge of Wimbledon results dating back to the first Championships in 1877 in order to enrich the media coverage of the event, whether it be providing context to match statistics or benchmarking players’ achievements against the best in history.”  

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About Wimbledon 2018

Known to millions of fans simply as “Wimbledon”, The Championships is the oldest of tennis’s four Grand Slams, and one of the world’s highest-profile sporting events. Organized by The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) it has been a global sporting and cultural institution since 1877.

Solution components

Take the next step

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