How can tennis, with its rich tradition, continue to stay relevant and be even more successful in this rapidly evolving world shaped by consumer experience and driven by technology?
Tennis, like all sports, has immense opportunities to use technology to reach more people. From social media to big data to the internet of things (IoT), people are connected to each other and to their world like never before. This is true in all industries, and it is true in tennis. Tennis is a centuries-old sport that has evolved in step with technological advances and social change. The Open Era began in 1968, and was the start of professional tennis.
Today, the world does not look the same as it did at the beginning of the Open Era, and neither does tennis.
This report draws on a comprehensive set of perspectives across the tennis ecosystem. We assess the current state of the game, covering everything from prize money at the elite levels to grassroots participation numbers. We then narrow our focus to discuss innovations in analytics and experience. Throughout, we identify challenges and opportunities as tennis reaches new markets and the next generation. The heart of our argument is that tennis can become even more successful when it increases access to playing, watching, and understanding the game, and that technology — especially social technology and analytics-based experiences — will play a vital role as tennis enters the next big era.
The experience of attending a Grand Slam event today is exponentially more interactive than a decade ago, and incredibly different from attending an event at the start of the Open Era 50 years ago. Today, fans can try out VR, share their experiences on social media, and understand matches better via apps that deliver insights from statistics and analytics as visuals, and take part in festival-type experiences like concerts and pop-up restaurants. VR experiences include watching and playing tennis, shopping, and recently, social VR, in which fans use twin VR headsets to communicate with each other and with avatars in a virtual environment.
Analytics and experience are now fundamental to tennis. To better understand how these factors impact fan enjoyment, we asked fans multifaceted questions about match technologies, player statistics, and match statistics. We analyzed and scored their responses from 0 to 100, where a higher score indicates stronger positive feelings about analytics improving the game experience.
We developed this measure into what we have named the Analytics Experience Index. To our knowledge, this is the first index that quantifies how analytics and experience influence fan enjoyment of tennis. We divided fans into three clusters based on their scores: Skeptics (17% of respondents), Moderates (56%), and Enthusiasts (27%).
Today’s world demands that tennis keep up, and it is. Its big investment in cutting-edge digital technologies is paying off. Backing up some of our interviewees’ statements about the impact of digital on reaching younger audiences, a recent study reported in Sports Business Journal found that the age of women’s tennis fans has gone down. The decrease was small — from 58 to 55 — but this incremental step is a good sign.
Technology is helping increase access to tennis and changing who plays tennis, how they play it, and how it is consumed. Tennis organizations and grassroots programs are increasing access to the game for anyone, everywhere across the globe.
The sport of Tennis is as intense, as it is engrossing. But the times are changing, and so should the approach to the sport. Jeff Kavanaugh, VP - Global Head of Infosys Knowledge Institute, shares his thoughts on the role of technology in Tennis, and what it can do to better the performance for the players, as well as the experience for the viewers. He talks about how democratization of data can help expand the geographic reach of the sport. Watch more in his conversation with Semra Barutchu, Vice President, Infosys on InfyTV.Download the report