Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Rick Singer, Vice President of IBM Worldwide Sports Marketing


Ever since Augusta National Golf Club hosted its first Invitational event in 1934, a commitment to history and tradition has permeated the fabric of the Masters Tournament, which began play this week.

While the Masters has delivered many thrilling, magical moments among the Georgia pines of the Augusta National golf course, many people may not be aware of the Tournament’s unwavering dedication to enriching the game of golf. From playing 18 holes on each of the Tournament’s four days — instead of 36 holes on the third and final day, which was the standard 80 years ago — to introducing the first cumulative over/under scoring method, the Masters has consistently established innovative practices that became and remain standards in the sport.

In recent years, several of Augusta National’s new innovations have focused on using digital technology to enrich golf fans’ enjoyment and experience of the Tournament. First and foremost, the Masters strives to be a service to the game of golf by presenting the competition in the most compelling way possible through the innovative use of digital technology. Recently, we’ve seen Augusta National create new ways to feel a part of the Tournament, wherever they are around the world, and through many different types of mobile devices.

Whether you prefer following the competition via interactive apps on an iPad, iPhone, Android or other mobile device, there’s a way for fans of the Masters to watch live HD-quality video on eight channels, follow real-time scores, read the latest news and see highlights. This is just another way the Masters has changed the way fans can stay close to the Tournament, and it is proving to be more important than ever.

While many Masters enthusiasts will be sitting at home watching the Tournament on TV, an increasing number of people will catch the action on a tablet or other device at the same time or when they’re on the go. In fact, last year more than 14 million patrons visited all the digital platforms, a 19% increase over 2012, accounting for an amazing 342 million page views.  And the innovation doesn’t stop at the informative website and enhanced apps. Delivering what a fan wants, when they want it, requires an advanced predictive cloud computing infrastructure that can automatically assign the appropriate level of computing power based on an analysis of the real-time traffic, live video coverage schedule and other sources to predict future traffic to the infrastructure, automatically adjusting the computing resources as required.

And don’t be misled by the simple and historic hand-operated white and green leader boards we see on TV. They may be operated manually, but there’s highly sophisticated technology behind the scenes that delivers up-to-the-second scoring electronically to these locations on the course at the Masters. The same information is offered immediately to mobile and web users, and to the CBS, ESPN and International TV broadcasts.

Entering its ninth decade in existence, the Masters remains devoted to developing and adopting new technologies — from creating state-of-the-art greens to producing and distributing HD quality live video feeds to smartphones – that deliver an unparalleled experience to its fans. Clearly a pioneer in the game of golf, Augusta National also is a leader among organizations around the world that are seeking new ways to innovate and integrate cloud and mobile computing technologies into the foundation of their business, so they can use technology and data as a resource to engage, inform and better serve their fans.


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Although it would appear from the score-line that England secured a comfortable victory against Wales at Twickenham on Sunday, the stats from IBM TryTracker reveal something quite different. For the game as a whole, possession was 50:50, with the Welsh fullback, Leigh Halfpenny, keeping Wales in touch for the majority of the game. The momentum chart below shows how closely matched momentum was for the two teams throughout the encounter:

‘Momentum Chart’ 

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 1.40.01 PM


‘Keys to the Game’

However, where England dominated was the number of metres they made with the ball in hand, covering more ground than their Welsh opponents (570m compared to 420m).

Even though Wales hit one of their ‘Keys to the Game’; a crucial area of performance that increases a team’s chances of winning, they failed on their targets around tackles completed and number of set pieces won.

Meanwhile, England smashed two of their three ‘Keys to the Game’ which included making at least 5 line breaks (securing 6) and forcing penalties from their own scrums against a target of 20 percent (forcing 50 percent), ultimately bringing home a win for the team.

Key Influencers

England’s three most influential players were Luther Burrell, Mike Brown and Ben Morgan. Mike was England’s most potent attacking threat, making 156 metres with ball in hand and beating seven defenders. Luther also put in a strong performance, making six gainline breaks and 44 metres, and of course weighing in with the all-important second try.

England Highlights:

  • Hit two out of three ‘Keys to the Game’
  • Most influential player: Luther Burrell

Scotland Highlights:

  • Most influential player: George North
  • Hit one of their ‘Keys to the Game’

The Data: 

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 1.41.12 PM


England travel to Rome next weekend, knowing they will need a big win if they are to reel in Ireland’s points difference. We’ll be releasing the ‘Keys to the Game’ on Thursday 13th March so keep on the lookout.


If you’d like to find out more about IBM TryTracker and how it works please click here

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Maintaining momentum

In a match that was always going to be close, a superb defensive display by England in the last 10 minutes of the match saw them hang on to beat Ireland at the mighty Twickenham.

The momentum was evenly matched throughout the game, particularly in the first half with both sides threatening the try line, but not crossing it.

The second half saw the game really come to life, with Ireland taking the lead, before England countered, holding on with a strong defensive play, as seen in the IBM TryTracker momentum chart.

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 1.07.45 PM




‘Keys to the Game’

Ireland met one of its three ‘Keys to the Game’; a crucial area of performance that increases a team’s chances of winning, while England failed to achieve any of its three, but still walked away with the win. England managed a tackle completion of 86% compared to its target of 93%, and an average carry of 2.3 metres compared to the 3.5 metres needed by its forwards. Ireland on the other hand won all of their own lineouts against a target of 89%, but only managed 2 attempts at goal when they needed 7.


Key Influencers

England’s key players were again were Mike Brown and Jonny May. Brown’s 88 metres made, four defenders beaten and three gainline breaks were crucial to England’s win, also making him man of the match. May’s 67 metres gained and 6 defenders beaten meant he was close behind, with Dylan Hartley taking the third spot with 4 tackles made.

Ireland’s Number 6, Peter O’Mahony, took the top spot for the opposition, with a strong performance, while Gordon D’arcy was sturdy in defence making 12 tackles, but it wasn’t enough to unlock England.


England Highlights:

  • Most influential player was Mike Brown
  • Kept the momentum going throughout the game


Ireland Highlights:

  • Hit one of its 3 keys
  • Most influential player was Peter O’Mahony
  • Second most influential player was Gordon D’arcy


England’s next match is against Wales, where England is looking for revenge following a crushing 30-3 defeat at the Millennium Stadium in 2013.  We’ll be releasing the ‘Keys to the Game’ on Thursday 6th March.

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After suffering a disappointing defeat at the Stade de France, England were keen to hit back at their critics in the Calcutta Cup match. Leading the charge for England were Luther Burrell and Mike Brown, securing possession early in the game. Scotland barely threatened England’s line of defence, who held the momentum throughout, depicted in the IBM TryTracker graph below:

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 10.34.32 AM


‘Keys to the Game’

Scotland didn’t hit a single one of their ‘Keys to the Game’ target; a crucial area of performance that increases a team’s chances of winning. One of Scotland’s ‘Keys to the Game’ was to win 88% of their set pieces, but they fell short with only 70%. Another was to achieve a tackle average of at least 91%, but the team didn’t reach this, averaging just 80%. Finally, Scotland needed to beat 16 or more defenders but only managed 11.

England, on the other hand, were able to capitalise on Scotland’s poor performance, hitting two of their three ‘Keys to the Game’ which secured them a win. These included forcing 14 turnovers against a target of 14, and making nine linebreak exceeding their target of four.

Key Influencers

England’s two most influential players were Jonny May, securing 65 metres and beating six defenders, and Man of the Match, Mike Brown, who made 92 metres and beat five defenders.

Chris Fusaro was Scotland’s most influential player making 14 tackles and three gainline breaks. However, it wasn’t enough to dent England’s clean sheet and Scotland have a lot of work to do to avoid the wooden spoon.


England Highlights:

  • Hit two keys to the game to secure a win
  • Most influential player was Jonny May
  • Secured momentum for the majority of the game

Scotland Highlights:

  • Most influential player was Chris Fusaro
  • Second most influential player was Dave Denton

The Data: 

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 10.37.24 AM


England’s next match is against unbeaten Ireland who have won both their opening games. We’ll be releasing the ‘Keys to the Game’ on Thursday 20th February.

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 For the second year running we’ve teamed up with England Rugby to give fans real-time insights into the Six Nations, including team and individual on-pitch performance. Following the close match on Saturday February 1st, the IBM TryTracker has revealed how France stole a win from England, ultimately winning 26-24 in the dying minutes.

The ebb and flow of the pulsating match was tracked on the ‘Momentum Chart’ which shows that momentum shifted on several occasions in the game. France started out as the stronger team, with superb tackling for the first 35 minutes. From this point, England proceeded to counter and exceeded their offload target of 13, achieving one of their ‘Keys to the Game:’ a crucial area of performance that increases a team’s chance of winning. This was reflected in the French tackling which dropped from 94% in the first half to 84% in the second:

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 10.29.16 AM


However, France gained the competitive edge with its rock solid scrum, continuing to secure the ball under pressure. France achieved two out of three ‘Keys to the Game,’ averaging 4.1 metres per carry in the forwards out of a target of 3.2 metres, and an average scrum win of 100% exceeding their target by 10%.

England were not creating enough scoring opportunities and suffered a defeat because they were unable to convert two out of their three ‘Keys to the Game.’ England only made 5 kicks at goal out of a target of 8 (shown below), and averaged just 5.8 metres per carry in the backs with a target of 7.7 metres:

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 10.30.15 AM


England Highlights:

  • Owen Farrell most influential player with 30 passes and 5 gainline breaks
  • Mike Brown second most influential player
  • Offloads ‘Key to the Game’ target reached (14/13)

France Highlights:

  • Hit two out of three ‘Keys to the Game’ to secure a win
  • Yannick Nyanga most influential player
  • 94% Tackle Success in 1st half

The Data:

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 10.31.28 AM

Looking towards England’s next match with Scotland it is prudent that they keep their scoring ticking over, taking the easy 3 points rather than push for the more difficult 7. Keep your eyes peeled for the ‘Keys to the Game’ that we will be releasing on Thursday 6th February.

If you’d like to find out more about the IBM TryTracker and how it works please click here


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