Wimbledon’s individual based content
At the beginning of June, after the end of Roland Garros, I wrote an article about innovative digital communication that French Open had during the more than two weeks of the tournament. I wrote that Roland Garros had moved boundaries in creating content for social media platforms, and that would be interesting to see how the Wimbledon, the Grand Slam with the longest tradition, will respond.
Wimbledon started on June 27, so let’s see how they handled their digital marketing, communicated on social media platforms and compare it to the French Open’s communication. I would like to hear your opinion on this topic. But first, check out my analysis.
“Social media is growing exponentially and is increasingly becoming the primary voice with which we communicate with our fans,” – Alexandra Willis, Wimbledon’s head of communications, content and digital.
million site visits wimbledon.org had during last year's tournament
million pieces of data IBM will collect across two weeks of the tournament
“We can come up with insights much faster than humans can and inform the media team so they can decide what kind of content they should be offering” – Sam Seddon, IBM Client Executive for Wimbledon
Wimbledon is considered to be the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world (and one of the most prestigious sporting events of all time). The first Wimbledon Tournament was held in 1877, four years before US Open, 14 years before Roland Garros and 28 years before Australian Open.
Since 1990, IBM has been Wimbledon’s Official supplier of Information Technology and consultant. After releasing the new, modernised wimbledon.com before last year’s tournament, IBM has gone even further this year. They introduced “Cognitive Command Center” based around IBM’s Watson „machine-learning“ platform. This supercomputer scans facial expressions and emotions of the crowd at All England Lawn Tennis Club’s courts, and it can find out, by only monitoring their facial expressions and emotions, for which player the fans are supporting and rooting.
It also collects million of feeds across multiple social media channels and automatically understands and collects the most relevant topics of conversation related to Wimbledon. In a matter of seconds, received information is available on TV, social media channels and millions of digital devices around the world.
That gives them the opportunity to serve individual and most relevant articles, posts and images to fans, and at the same time enrich the overall fan experience. As it states on the official website, Wimbledon and IMB deliver „unparalleled content in a design that has story-telling at its heart, exclusive scores and statistics presented in the context of photos and videos to deepen engagement”.
The official mobile app
This year Wimbledon and IMB released a really great, personalised mobile app. You can download it at the Google Play and App Store.
Wherever you are, don't miss a point…
Download the official #Wimbledon apps – iPhone, iPad and Androidhttps://t.co/mwf49Hqv0K
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 30, 2016
You can personalise the app and receive everything you want to know about your favourite players, events and countries, choose what content you would like to receive about them and lots of other options. You even have an opportunity to create a Snapchat-inspired story in section “Create your story”. Take a look at my screenshots to get a better insight into the possibilities of the application.
Social media communication
Just like Roland Garros, Wimbledon was very active on three biggest social networks. On Facebook, Wimbledon has 3.4 million followers, on Twitter 2.2 million and Instagram 764 k followers. Look at some of the examples on how Wimbledon communicates on social media platforms (I should point out, my analysis was made on 2nd July, when Sam Querrey made the biggest surprise of the tournament by defeating Novak Đoković, the raging champion and four consecutive Grand Slam winner, after a delay the day before).
For communication on Twitter, Wimbledon uses the hashtag #Wimbledon followed by an emoji of a tennis ball:
He may have lost today, but Novak Djokovic enjoyed a remarkable run… #Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/p06BlyfeCH
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 2, 2016
Instagram was used mostly for behind the scenes photos:
million followers more than Roland Garros Wimbledon has on three social media networks
Dominika Cibulkova faces Eugenie Bouchard in an intriguing battle on No.2 Court. The breakdown…#TennisInsightshttps://t.co/Bg3ClQaBOO
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 2, 2016
Another great usage of Snapchat
Unlike Roland Garros, which implemented Snapchat in its communication strategy for the first time this year, Wimbledon started using one of the fastest growing social media platforms at last year’s tournament. Snapchat is very popular for showing live and behind the scenes content. And Wimbledon has fulfilled the expectations of its followers on this platform. Take a look:
Wimbledon is considered to be the most traditional sporting event in the world. But besides focusing on its own and British traditional values, Wimbledon made a huge step in modernization last year and went even further this year.
Wimbledon’s Cognitive Command Center uses IBM’s Watson “supercomputer” which analyses tons of data, social media communication, and facial expressions of fans. In a matter of seconds, it delivers analysed and relevant information to media, and million of digital devices around the world. Fans can customise Wimbledon’s official app to receive individual and personalised data, made exclusively for them. They also showed significant usage of social media platforms, including the fast-growing Snapchat.
On the downside, Wimbledon didn’t enable fans the Wi-Fi access at the All England Tennis Club . Therefore, fans could follow those exclusive details only via their mobile networks, many of which are inadequate. It was especially a big problem for foreign fans.
My opinion is that Wimbledon is the winner in this digital match against Roland Garros. I would say that French Open had better communication on social networks, mostly because they were really working hard to maximise fan engagement. But the Watson supercomputer was Wimbledon’s leverage (it is fascinating how much individual based content you can receive by using Wimbledon’s official app). In tennis terms, I would say that Wimbledon won with 3:2 in sets. I am looking forward to their rematch next year!
We would like to know what’s your opinion on who was better in digital marketing and communication. Roland Garros or Wimbledon? Please contact us and get the conversation started.
“Excited by real-time intensity, we predict that the reach of this year’s biggest sporting events – from the Euros to Wimbledon and the Olympics – will extend far beyond the stadium and into the workplace, as connected sports fans live every second of the game, wherever they are.” – John Paul, VenueNext’s chief executive
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Very interesting article concerning the long-term partnership between IBM and Wimbledon. It has been now 26 years that IBM keeps being the digital leader to sponsor the greatest tennis tournament thanks to great activation – for example last year the company allowed the global audience to follow the matches and have access to real-time data via their cloud services. If you’re interested in this topic, here are more info:http://blog.optimy.com/cloud-services-sport-sponsorship-ibm-wimbledon/
Thank you for shared article. I agree, it is fascinating to see how the cooperation between Wimbledon and IMB has developed since 1990 🙂