Tennis Business: Wimbledon – IBM renews partnership, unveils ‘The Greatest Championships’

Global technology company IBM and the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), the organisers of the Wimbledon Championships, have extended their 30-year relationship with a new long-term contract.

IBM has been working with Wimbledon since 1990, as it has with fellow ‘Grand Slam’ the US Open, which designates the role as ‘technology supplier and consultant’.

AELTC & IBM launches ’The Greatest Championships’

Wimbledon 2020 was cancelled on April 1. However, since the cancellation, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has been working behind the scenes in partnership with IBM to deliver tennis fans a Wimbledon experience that could go some way to filling the void left behind by the event.

The pair has unveiled ‘The Greatest Championships’, a digital recreation of the famed tournament to take place over the course of two weeks, starting Monday June 29 (the original start date for Wimbledon 2020).

Using IBM technology, the AELTC has remastered a selection of the greatest matches to play out at Wimbledon, which will be released round-by-round to replicate the tournament format.

How IBM is supporting ‘The Greatest Championships 2020,’ a digital recreation of The Championships

According to a recent YouGov survey of 2000 UK adults commissioned by IBM, Wimbledon is the second most watched live sports event on TV in the UK, with 60% having watched live action, just behind the Olympics (62%) and just ahead of the FIFA World Cup (59%). This summer, despite Wimbledon being cancelled as a live event, the AELTC still wanted to give these fans of The Championships something to celebrate.

By recreating a live event in digital form, fans will have the opportunity to revisit old matches or discover ones they may not have seen before. The same survey (commissioned by IBM) uncovered a real appetite for re-watching “classic” sports matches and events, with 1 in 5 interested in doing so, of which the vast majority (89%) believe new technology can play a part in making them more engaging. Specifically, 62% want remastered picture quality, 40% value modern statistics and 42% would like access to additional archive content.

So, for 2020, Wimbledon will be celebrated through ‘The Greatest Championships’, an engaging digital experience for fans missing the sport they love. By providing a positive connection to happier times for millions of sports fans around the world, the AELTC can continue to promote the Wimbledon brand and build its reputation.

This digital recreation of The Championships will be brought to life via:

  • The Greatest Championships, a round-by-round compilation of some of Wimbledon’s greatest matches, to engage fans and prompt debate.
  • A digital experience to add value to fans above and beyond video on demand by providing highlights, interviews, statistics and supporting stories.
  • The remastering of large volumes of old video content to enhance the quality and match modern expectations across multiple platforms.
  • More data richness, including modern match statistics, and advanced search capabilities so fans can search for specific moments in archive footage, including individual shot types and moments of peak excitement.