How the Australian Open uses data to connect with armchair sportsmen

Data has become one of the key fan engagement tools for this year’s Australian Open, with match statistics, player histories and social media insights used to connect with the armchair sportsman.

Tennis Australia’s 20-year partnership with IBM has seen additional layers of data-driven content added to the event’s website each year, to the point where fans can now analyse players’ game plans, track turning points and monitor player popularity as matches unfold.

Samir Mahir, CIO of Tennis Australia, says data is being used to give fans a connected experience with the tournament. “The ultimate aim of our technology solutions for the Australian Open is to deepen our fans’ engagement and enjoyment of the event. Analytics continues to change how Grand Slam tennis is viewed and played.”

IBM’s ‘SlamTracker’ tool enables fans to analyse match ups between players, track key performance indicators and turning points in the match on the second screen while they watch at home.

The KPIs were developed for individual players in the draw using over 41 million data points that look back at the players’ performances at grand slams over the past eight years. The analysis reveals ‘keys to the match’ that have helped players win in the past and tracks how they are delivering on those keys while their game unfolds.


Social media sentiment is also monitored and displayed in a ‘Social Leaderboard‘ on the Australian Open website which players are the most popular and viewed the most favourably. Tweets and ‘likes’ of stories about player on the site drive the social rankings.

“Consistent with the worldwide trend, we are seeing a huge increase in the volume of fan conversation via social media,” Mahir adds. “Social media insight has an increasingly important role in how Tennis Australia and other organisations make decisions and engage consumers.”

Fan Centre

IBM’s software will also help predict when demand on the tournament’s website will spike to help with provisioning capacity.