Following last year’s launch of Patterns of Play, an added feature to the SAP Tennis Analytics that helps coaches and players identify and analyse patterns used in match rallies, WTA’s innovation partnership with SAP continues, this time, leveraging the Qualtrics XM platform.
SAP and Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) partnership began in 2015 when they developed the WTA-exclusive SAP Tennis Analytics software, which runs on SAP HANA, to enable players and coaches to access real-time performance data during live match play. With SAP Tennis Analytics as a springboard, WTA has continued its strategic partnership with SAP in pursuit of advancing the elite sport of tennis.
In a BBC Storyworks feature, WTA president Micky Lawler shared the organisation’s efforts towards innovation in all areas of tennis to adapt and thrive in the modern, agile business world. He highlighted how technology has been a game-changer in women’s tennis with SAP Tennis Analytics and recently, with Qualtrics Experience Management (XM) technology to benefit not only the coaches, players, and management but also the media and the fans.
“It’s not only imperative to stay in the game, but in order to lead women’s tennis into the future and thrive, innovation is paramount,” Lawler said.
“We already know how incredible tennis is, but without embracing novel ways to play, consume and market the sport, we can’t inspire a new audience to invest,” he added.
Focusing on the global marketing strategy of the WTA, Lawler has been uncovering new connections and overseeing an impressive portfolio of long-standing partnerships, including SAP.
“Before SAP Tennis Analytics, professional tennis did not have access to real-time performance data during live match play…This vital information delivers fact-based feedback to the player that can really shape how a player adjusts and manages the outcome of the match.”
With innovation as the cornerstone, the WTA and SAP went beyond single-point analysis with the rollout of the new coaching tool called Patterns of Play sometime in October 2019. The added feature provides coaches with data-based insights on how a rally unfolds while analysing the reaction of the player and the opponent to match situations.
“It also enables coaches to personalise insights for their player’s next match by going deeper into the data and applying various filters and customisations, spanning opponents, opponent’s rank, playing hand, playing surface and more,” he explained.
The Latest Innovation
Lawler shared a bit about the WTA’s latest innovation with SAP through Qualtrics XM technology. He hinted:
“We’re particularly excited about our latest endeavor in using SAP’s Qualtrics experience management technology.
Without giving too much away, it’s a highly advanced survey tool that we recently started using and it will certainly play an integral role in fuelling women’s professional tennis into the future, including how we work with players, staff, coaches and how we operate with tournaments, media and especially fans.”
The WTA President highlighted how the organisation keeps its fanbase engaged while at home as well as a new avenue for growth through over-the-top (OTT) video streaming. He said:
“OTT has allowed us infinite ways to engage fans. It has unlocked new possibilities for how we can work with our rights holders, how we manage our digital channels, and how we collaborate with our partner, players, and tournaments.”
A Trusted Partnership
With COVID-19 creating major dents across industries including sports, Lawler remains hopeful and grateful that the association’s alliance with SAP will help them adjust and grow even in these uncertain times.
The WTA’s player development team and SAP quickly launched a new learning management system for its players, coaches, and staff. Powered by SAP Litmos, the WTA University interactive platform supports specifically designed personal and professional wellness tools– a technology much needed in today’s unpredictable environment.
“With SAP, we’re extremely fortunate to have partners who truly work through that stage of the game with us,” Lawler stressed.
In the upcoming virtual event e’ffect 2020, WTA number 1 player Ash Barty will share her insights on innovation on and off the court and how to stay ahead of the competition in relation to the business world.
For a free pass for e’ffect 2020: The Ultimate Innovation Experience Event, register here