By Andrew Nichols, IBM Communications
By Patrick G. Childress
One of my favorite parts of summer, much to my wife’s chagrin, is watching golf on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes it’s on in the background while I’m tending the grill, and other times I’m parked on the sofa seeing who can sink that 30-footer to win the tournament. I enjoy watching the pros hit shot after shot that I can’t ever seem to pull off myself.
Working at IBM, I am fortunate to be able to combine my love of golf with my day job of managing and designing new mobile applications as part of the IBM Interactive design team. Over the past 15 years, this team has been developing unique digital experiences for clients. Most recently, we were tasked with designing and building a new iPad app for the United States Golf Association (USGA), to launch in conjunction with the 2013 U.S. Open, the largest golf tournament in the U.S. Continue Reading »
By Elizabeth O’Brien
Big Data is a term we hear a lot about in the business world. But these days, thanks to the insatiable hunger for player, team and league stats and analysis, it’s also becoming widely used in the world of sports.
In tennis, for example, Big Data includes tournament, match and player stats, things like serve speeds, rally counts, winners and aces. But more important than what Big Data includes, is how it is used to enhance and, in many ways, transform how we experience and enjoy the sport of tennis.
This week marks the 28th year of IBM’s partnership with the French Tennis Federation in support of Roland Garros (also known as the French Open). IBM brings a suite of solutions to Roland Garros, all centered on real time and historic Grand Slam data. We capture, analyze, secure, store and distribute the data—in fact Big Data is the heart of our collaboration with the FFT. Continue Reading »
By Jon Zerden
It’s the time of year when holiday decorations go up, temperatures drop, and people huddle indoors and gather for feasts of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pie and much more.
But when the feasting comes to an end, people begin to think of their New Year’s resolutions. In addition to the occasional over indulgence in holiday comfort foods, people are more wary than ever of the risks associated with a lack of exercise.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the annual estimated medical expense associated with obesity in the United States is $61 billion. Diabetes costs $116 billion, while cardiovascular disease and strokes amount to $313.8 billion in expenditures.
The era of the connected consumer is forcing many media organizations to rethink not only how they operate but also how they remain relevant. Today’s audiences are exposed to more content across more channels than ever before. The way this content is discovered, shared and consumed is also changing.
Standard forms of TV viewing are no longer the norm as more and more consumers turn to the Internet and catch-up services to access the latest in programming. As a result, delivering differentiated live content such as sports, concerts, reality shows or news across an expanding set of channels and devices is a challenge broadcasters need to tackle quickly and claim their rightful place in this rapidly changing landscape.
As an example, today at the International Broadcasting Conference in Amsterdam, Canal+ announced it is using IBM technology and services to launch and manage new multi-channel and services platform delivering on-demand, web and mobile TV to enhance the customer experience. This demonstrates how broadcasters are seeking to differentiate in a world where they no longer have audiences – they have consumers.
Broadcasters must continue to innovate and look for news ways to engage this connected consumer and the growing phenomenon of ‘second screen’ is becoming an integral part of this strategy. How many times have you caught up on your Facebook or Twitter feed whilst watching TV? Consumers tweet, comment, play, blog and surf the Internet all the while watching television, therefore, broadcasters need to work even harder to engage viewers.
This challenge is an extraordinary opportunity in disguise and broadcasters can use it to enrich experiences and engage viewers. Television stations are beginning to tap into how audiences are second screens whilst watching TV, and are encouraging consumers to provide feedback and create an online buzz by providing Twitter hashtags at the start of a show.
Broadcasters can also integrate and capitalize on second screen functionality in other ways.
For example, the boundaries between television, Internet and gaming are blurring – simply look at EA’s FIFA 2012 football game, which now offers a replay of any action from any angle. Consumers expect to navigate and experience live sports in the same way with the ability to replay a sequence from the vantage point of any player via a second screen embedded in live programming.
This live television fusion phenomenon for sport does not stop there. The depth of statistics available for football matches and other sports is reaching unprecedented levels. Speed, pace and stamina can be captured, analysed and compared in real time offering viewers new insights. At the recent Wimbledon Championships, fans were able to view an additional layer of insight through SlamTracker on www.wimbledon.com that tracked points, player momentum and progress against each player’s ‘keys to the match’. Revenue opportunities can be realised through price-tiered ‘data’ packages, which enable customers to pay for additional insightful data related to the content they are viewing.
But the real payback for the CMO or broadcaster is that they do not need to guess who is watching, they will know who is actively interacting with them. Knowing it is Kevin Smith, the twenty-something football and cooking and fan rather than Susan Smith, Kevin’s mother who prefers cycling and gardening is invaluable information. From placing better ads to making more intelligent program suggestions, this interaction with the Smith household is changing forever. And we are beginning to see uptake of this strategy – TP Vision recently that it using data stored within IBM SmartCloud to provide new insight about consumer needs and behavior.
Using advanced analytics to better understand these evolving customers allows the CMO to capture and leverage valuable information that allows them to anticipate customers’ changing preferences and turn these insights into new offerings which drive customer loyalty. For broadcasters this information can help improve production, cross-channel distribution, customer service and implement marketing strategies that are in line with customer sentiment.
With the quantity of data and quality of computers rising at an exponential rate, the role of analytics in all industries is growing. Stores are using analytics to increase sales, pharmaceutical companies are using analytics to develop better drugs and human resource groups are using analytics to make smarter hires. The sports industry is no different.
Professional sports organizations across the world are using analytics to make better decisions. Successful front offices like the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder are using new data and analysis to make decisions on which players to draft and acquire. Successful coaches like the NBA Miami Heat’s Eric Spoelstra are using advanced statistical analysis to determine what plays to run and what lineups perform best together. Some coaches, like the Atlanta Falcons’ Mike Smith, are even starting to use analytics to break old traditions when the numbers say it’s a good choice to do so. And abroad players at major professional soccer clubs like England’s Manchester City are beginning to use data to help themselves improve while on the pitch.
Media companies are beginning to use analytics as well to help tell better stories. Data visualization is a great way to summarize a large number of data points into a picture that a viewer or reader can grasp quickly. In the specific Mariano Rivera case below, plotting thousands of Rivera’s pitches illustrates that he consistently keeps the ball on the inside part of the strike zone vs left-handed hitters, which limits the damage against him.
Analytics also help media put context around big events like the effect of free throw shooting in the NBA Finals or the pros and cons of onside kicking in the NFL. These are things that help fans better understand the intricacies of the games they love. Continue Reading »
The end of summer brings one of the most popular global sports events of the year — the US Open.
More than 700,000 fans are expected to attend the matches at the USTA’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, making the US Open the most-attended, single sports event in the world. Even more viewers are expected to watch this year’s tournament on TV, topping the 53 million viewers who tuned in last year on CBS and ESPN.
And a record number of fans are expected to follow the US Open matches on their mobile devices, or seek out the latest match results, news or live streaming of tennis matches at www.USOpen.org on their computers at work or at home. We’re expecting to easily top the 15.5 million visitors who caught the action last year via the tournament’s website. These are big numbers all around.
You might not realize, however, that major sporting events like the US Open are not only exciting to watch and follow, but are also a living lab for how “big data” can translate into big business. This year, the USTA is using business analytics to improve the experience for everyone: fans, tennis players, event organizers and broadcasters.
We’re all asking the same questions about the 2012 Open. What does Sam Stouser have to do to repeat last year’s women’s victory, or how can past winners Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova reign again? What can we expect from the men’s side? With Rafa Nadal sidelined by injury, will past US Open winners Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer win the men’s title? Or will Andy Murray break through, fresh from winning his gold medal at the Olympic Games in London. How can each of them outplay the others to bring home the trophy?