Wimbledon Moves Into the Future

Wimbledon Moves Into the Future

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As Wimbledon reports that its mobile usership grew by more than three times in 2016, we explore what the brand is doing to help, inspire and entertain its rapidly changing audience.

Wimbledon is going ever more mobile. The official app was downloaded 1.5 million times in 2016. 21 million unique devices were used to access match highlights and social videos relating to the tournament were viewed 106 million times – up more than 20 million on 2015.

While mobile only represents 7% of its current audience, Wimbledon viewers are now more likely than ever to watch matches and highlights via the mobile app.


Meet Fred

As reported in Marketing Week, the brand has been taking big steps towards meeting the needs of its newly mobile audience. Following the successful rollout of its ‘stories’ feature last year, this summer has seen Wimbledon become one of the latest brands to experiment with Artificial Intelligence.

Meet Fred
Powered by IBM Watson technology and named after British tennis legend Fred Perry, in-app AI assistant ‘Ask Fred’ works by answering visitor questions on things like directions, where to eat, souvenir outlets and nearby amenities. According to head of communications, content and digital at the All English Lawn Tennis Club Alexandra Willis, “some people have no idea how much they can do at Wimbledon.” Willis goes on to say that Fred is there to help them, “make the most out of the experience.”

While the Fred chatbot tool in its current iteration has been developed with visitors in mind, Wimbledon will be gradually shaping it towards also improving the viewer experience in years to come. According to Willis, the Wimbledon team are planning to extend the capabilities of Fred in the months and years to come so that eventually it will be able to answer on things like the weather and players’ history with the same level of fluency as Apple’s Siri.


AI Highlights

Elsewhere, a new AI highlights system from IBM Research automatically recognises and curates the key moments of a match for viewers based on variables like crowd noise and player movements and facial expressions. This will enhance the viewer experience by significantly cutting the time it takes to put highlights reels together.

IBM have also introduced a bespoke ‘competitive margin’ metric to analyse how well-matched players are based on past and real-time performance.

According to the Telegraph, real-time data will be integrated from a number of sources including, “courtside statisticians, chair umpires, radar guns, ball position, player location” and will also incorporate Twitter for comment on how the match is playing out.

Wimbledon has also introduced more augmented reality and 360 video, for example, practice courts will be brought to life with an AR overlay to help viewers recognise who is training.


In the future, Wimbledon will be working to further the depth of its personalisation, making it easier for viewers to lose themselves in the tournament, as they wish and on their own terms.