Case Study: Visualising the BMX Freestyle Park Championships

A graphic for the Dutch National BMX Freestyle Park Championships.

The Royal Dutch Cycling Federation (KNWU) approached Dutch design company CLEVER°FRANKE to create the first ever live data visualisation of their National BMX Freestyle Park Championships. In order to attract more people to this thrilling urban sport, with riders showing all they’ve got. A great example of Dutch Digital Design, giving the audience a fantastic view, from all angles, of all aspects of this sport.

Background

BMX Freestyle Park competitions consist of various obstacles and ramps on which riders perform shapes and tricks. The riders are judged on the basis of style, difficulty and creativity. As it’s a relatively new discipline - although becoming an Olympic sport in 2020 - KNWU are keen to give an insight to all aspects of the BMX Freestyle Park competition. To make it more engaging, for both the audience as well as for the riders.

Therefore, they asked CLEVER°FRANKE to help raise the professional profile of the sport, by showcasing BMX racing in an exciting way.

Strategy

The target audience consists of three groups: spectators, cyclists and judges. Therefore, the agency’s solution needed to be comprehensive enough to address the interests of all three groups.

Data visualisation, the visual representation of data, is always challenging. And, even though the agency has been doing this for years, visualising real-time data of a fast sport like BMX, in 3D, poses an even bigger challenge.

Their approach was to create a digital showcase that would be informative, compelling and accessible to the target audience. To achieve this, CLEVER°FRANKE turned the challenge of live data visualisation into an opportunity to show detailed and crucial aspects of each performance.

Process

By placing sensors on the front and back of the bikes, the agency was able to gather data about the position, acceleration, height and rotation of the riders. These inputs were then used to visualise the unique path of each rider, in a 3D environment. This was presented on a large LED display during the event.

Also, the data visualisation included dashboards that gave a great overview of the performance of the riders. This made it easier for judges to watch and analyse the riders’ performances. In addition, it also displayed metrics about how high the rider jumped and how well s/he used the entire track. This contributed to a better understanding by the riders of their own performance - enabling them to improve their strategy and technique.

To turn the event into an exciting ‘front row’ experience for the spectators, the agency also implemented information about line-ups, rankings and sponsors on one screen – giving an easy overview of all that was going on. Making the event even more engaging.

Outcome

The slick live data visualisation - with 907,000 data points captured, and 35 unique rides tracked - won FWA of the Day, and won the Dutch Design Award in the Service & Systems category. The BMX Freestyle Park competition also received high media exposure – reaching an audience of more than one million people.

Pim Postel, KNWU’s Team Innovation said: "CLEVER°FRANKE helped us re-think how we could further develop and promote the BMX Freestyle sport. The result is a next level experience for spectators, riders and judges. Helping us to put BMX Freestyle on the map as a professional and engaging sport."

The agency envisages that the live visualisation of data can be applied to other sports in the future too, enhancing the experience for both spectators and athletes.

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