Infosys wants to increase ATP’s online tennis audience by 300%

Infosys aims to triple the number of tennis fans following the ATP World Tour online by offering them in-depth player and match stats based on ATP's vast stores of information.

The Indian analytics firm has had access to ATP's data for 60 days now, and is 90 days into its three-year deal to apply analytics to this data, using it to improve both the players' and the fans' experiences.

It believes that doing this could grow ATP World Tour's digital audience of 35 million by three times, closing the gap somewhat on the billion people tuning in to watch ATP tennis matches on TV.

"We think from 35 million we should take it a couple of times more actually, not even 100 per cent, maybe even 300 per cent more, because 35 million is such a small number compared to the billion-plus TV fans we have for tennis," Mohamed Anis, head of energy and services for Europe at Infosys, told IT Pro.

Stressing such an increase was not an official target, he added that Infosys would try to encourage more fan engagement on social media channels by improving the quality of fan interactions.

"TV fans are also engaged but it's a one-way communication between the TV and them, they can't communicate back," he said. "Whereas on social media we are making them get more engaged.

"There is a lot of things people do to make fans come and watch tennis but there is no incentive for fans to engage in social media for the game of tennis."

Infosys wants to use ATP's tennis data to improve this fan engagement, such as by offering viewers detailed stats on players' performances as extra detail to improve their viewing experience, to let them predict match outcomes, for instance.

Infosys ATP Scores and Stats Centre

It would do this by leveraging its new Infosys ATP Scores and Stats Centre, which offers insights and predictions about every tournament, match, and point, to give fans far more detail to dig into.

The centre is underpinned by the Infosys Information Platform (IIP), an open source analytics platform for data visualisation and analysis.

Anis also posited the idea of creating a fan leaderboard on Twitter, ranking fans in a similar way to how a tournament's players are ranked.

"Just like we have an ATP tennis players [leaderboard] can we have one for the tennis fans?," said Anis. "Can we do that in a fair and quantitative way by measuring the power of their tweets and so on? These are not things we have started working on but definitely these are in our plans."

Other examples of data-fuelled fan experience plans IT Pro saw at Infosys's offices in Canary Wharf included an app providing mobile tickets to people attending matches, that also pings them when their friends arrive, and offers travel routes home based on the latest traffic and transport information.

Proposals for expensive virtual reality tickets were also shown to press, with fans unable to attend a match offered the chance to pick their virtual stadium seats instead, and watch the match using Google Cardboard a Royal Box seat cost 89.99, while a wandering "drone cam" view cost 59.99.

However, Anis told IT Pro that making ATP more money from its data is not Infosys's primary aim.

"Monetisation is a longer term goal, especially in social media. The first thing is get the fans engaged in the game, make them engage back, by commenting, by tweeting, by interacting with the players and the matches," he said.

Picture credit: Jaideep Vaidya