Wimbledon 2027: how will fan engagement and marketing change?

Centre court at Wimbledon

Wimbledon is here again, but let’s take a moment to reflect on how the ways that we consume sports has changed over the past 90 years since the BBC's first broadcast live from Wimbledon on the radio.

Since then, we’ve seen some amazing developments, from the revolution of colour TV to watching Federer and Nadal battle it out on our laptops

In the video industry sports isn’t just the most lucrative content out there but is also a bellwether for customer trends and engagement. We had a think about how fans could be watching tennis in 10 years’ time and the technology which will power that.

These ideas could hit the baseline or be far out of bounds by 2027, and only time will tell. No matter what the future looks like, the technology is already there for sports broadcasters and producers to revolutionise how fans view and engage with tennis.

So, what could the next 10 years hold for tennis fans?

Real-time fantasy leagues - we all know how important it is for brands to get closer to their fans and they’ve already started to do this, from fantasy leagues and user generated content to social media tracking. At Wimbledon 2027 forget about getting making decisions and checking stats for your fantasy league line up on the web. With the new integrated fantasy tennis league that came with your sports package, you can expect real time pop-ups and overlays providing data so that you can drop players and monitor your progress on your screen. Is the next Nadal on the way to winning? Add him to your line-up in real-time as you watch.

Many courts, many devices – Forget the days of watching Wimbledon on your TV, it’s unlikely that Millennials will ever go back to TV as their primary device. Instead expect Wimbledon 2027 to be watched through every device you have. View the main match on your laptop while you get video highlights from the other courts on your phone. Viewers could also use their phone’s touch screen to access the viewer-controlled camera for the best angles letting eagle-eyed line-watchers hover over the baseline. We’re seeing younger generations demand more international live streams of games while simultaneously rejecting the big prices of many established brands, in 10 years’ time this contrast between generations could be even more stark and broadcasters must find a way to adapt.

Strawberries, cream and money - Monetisation of content will continue to evolve, with new ad placements, hybrid business models, and even crowdsourcing. Immersive, interactive and data-driven offerings are increasing fan engagement and ultimately expanding revenue for sports. Customers could tap on their favourite player mid-game and shop their outfit, while broadcasters team up with food-delivery services so that fans can get strawberries and cream delivered to their door when rain inevitably stops the match. With more data than ever before, Wimbledon 2027 gets the best ads to the right consumers, with more monetisation opportunities than ever for producers.

Artificial Intelligence gets the content to the right consumer – Fed up of seeing your least favourite player advertising during the game? Well, with artificial intelligence, which recognises the faces of players and knows who you support, you’ll be served up unique ads which are tailored to what you want to see. Bolstered by an integrated and intelligent video production system, broadcasters can get content out even more quickly, with the right highlights sent out to their partners around the globe as soon as it happens.

Oscar Wall, general manager EMEA at Ooyala

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Oscar Wall

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