Data is a huge part of what makes sports so interactive. We've evolved from baseball cards and marking down scorecards with pencils to the SportsCenter ticker, fantasy sports, and mobile apps to keep us plugged into every aspect of the game or match. For a three-week pop-up event like the US Open Tennis Championship, each year presents a new opportunity to evolve the player, coach, and fan experience with new data tech.
IBM has been the US Open's technology partner for three decades. The company gave PCMag a behind-the-scenes tour of its data command center at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, to see how the company is using its IBM Cloudplatform and artificial intelligence services to equip everyone in the stadium (and those following remotely) with real-time player and match data, from broadcasters and line judges to coaches and spectators.
The US Open website and mobile apps for Android and iOS have been running on IBM's hybrid cloud infrastructure for years, but every year the tech giant integrates some new data streams and AI-powered services.
In addition to the streaming tech beaming match content and highlights around the world, IBM packs analytics into the tournament app with SlamTracker. It pulls in real-time and historical player, match, and tournament data to generate responsive data visualizations predicting the outcome of sets, break points, and other pressure situations based on data patterns like ball and player positioning on the court.
This year, IBM and the USTA brought this data for the first time to coaches and trainers with a new Coach Advisor app, which uses AI to analyze real-time video data on everything from play style to how much energy players are exerting.