Thursday, June 28 The Beauty or The Beast?

Reading through the plethora of Wimbledon-related comments on Twitter, there appear to be two things that have got some fans' blood simmering (boiling would be too strong a word; these are civilised tennis fans after all).

One is the roof. And the fact it wasn't closed on Tuesday evening. Well, I must say that I'm with the Officials on this one: Wimbledon is an outdoor Championship. Not an indoor one that happens to have grass growing inside. But I will be discussing the roof in more detail in a later post on this blog.
The other thing that has drawn mixed reactions from fans is the new website. This is looking like a real Marmite opinion generator; people seem to either love it or hate it.

The All England Club and IBM said has been completely re-designed to reflect the 'heritage and appeal' of the event and provide visitors with a more creative and immersive experience through improved content, more powerful imagery and intuitive navigation process.

Built on IBM’s Smartcloud infrastructure to meet surges in demand, the website integrates a new online broadcast channel, Live @ Wimbledon, alongside the interactive analytics-enabled IBM SlamTracker scoreboard.

Featuring TV and radio, Live @ Wimbledon will blend live action from around the grounds by dropping into matches at crucial points in play with the “off-court colour of a day at The Championships”. The resident presenters are former players Mats Wilander and Annabel Croft.

“We've created a new website which features increased options for people to personalise their Wimbledon experience," said Mick Desmond, commercial director, at the All England Club. "Visitors can follow the progress of their favourite players, view live match play clips of the day’s action, and access scores and results delivered in real-time.  We expect this increasingly engaging and personalised online experience to appeal to fans in ever greater numbers.”

Meanwhile, SlamTracker is designed to provide fans with deeper insight into matches through predictive analytics technology. It's a multifaceted feature of Wimbledon's digital presence that uses both historical and real-time data to add depth and insight to the Championship experience. The Momentum capability maps a match in real-time, visualising key turning points and their causes, such as winners, aces and so on.

The Keys to the Match feature in SlamTracker uses both historical and immediate data to determine the top three things a player must do in order to do well in a specific match. And it's proving to be very accurate.

And as mentioned in our earlier post about SlamTracker, it's an example of how analytics drives insights for tennis, the uses for businesses are almost infinite.

Personally, I love the new website. It gives far greater understanding and insight into the Wimbledon Championships. It feels like it has a lot of computing power behind it and it is giving a great experience for fans, players, coaches and officials alike.

But I can imagine that such technological advances may be too much for some. I guess there are those that find too much innovation and change a little daunting.

And you can probably spot them quite easily: They'll be the ones shouting "Come on Tim!" at their televisions. Which they probably bought from Rumbelows. In 1983.

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