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Wimbledon tests Periscope

News, 22 June 2015

LONDON: When the annual Wimbledon tennis championship starts next week fans will be able to engage with it on a wider number of platforms than ever before, including Periscope and Snapchat.

Alexandra Willis, the tournament's digital head, explained that "We will be using it [Periscope] in a targeted way to capture unique moments", but added that spectators would be discouraged from using the app.

Apart from the etiquette issues – users could be holding up a phone or tablet and blocking other people's view – one of the conditions of entry is that mobile phones aren't used. And in any case, Willis said, the current quality of Periscope video did not rival that of broadcast.

And as part of a wider push into social media, the Wimbledon digital team will also create content for Snapchat.

"It's all about trying to show Wimbledon to a different audience," Willis told The Drum.

"It's about engaging with a younger generation. We wouldn't want to get to a point where our audience is getting older and we haven't found an entry point to them."

They will be using the more established platforms of Facebook and Twitter as well and will be investing in paid social media for the first time.

"Sometimes if you put a little bit of spend into social media you can rise above the noise," Willis observed.

Wimbledon's efforts to shed a somewhat stuffy image and embrace the digital world will also feature the use of iBeacons, which have been installed at local stations. Fans arriving at these will be sent messages through the app with directions and advice on where to queue.

Other sports are much further advanced in the use of technology to engage with fans. Sport Techie recently highlighted the ways in which analytics are being used both on and off the field.

Many US venues, for example, already have iBeacons and geo-fencing in place and digital teams can now combine their knowledge of fan preferences and behaviours with geo-location and predictive analytics to deliver targeted content to fans in real-time during a game.

Data sourced from The Drum, Sport Techie; additional content by Warc staff