Strawberries, Pimms and… Data at Wimbledon!

Everyone, whether it is the local supermarket, newsagent, school, hairdresser, sports club or a Fortune 500 global company, they all have one thing in common – the ever growing pressure to make better use of data. The analysis of raw data, data analytics, has become such a prominent activity across a plethora of industries but as Albert Einstein once said,

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

With what can sometimes be an overwhelming pressure to collect data, the priority should always remain in the initial evaluation of what data is important and valuable to the business and/or end user, then collecting and presenting it in a desirable format. Ultimately, the data captured will help to drive decision making. Unsurprisingly, Wimbledon is no different.

The data collected during the course of a match is essential for both the average viewer on TV, and the players. This short summary of how in-play data is collected and processed highlights just some of the key uses of this information, which is most definitely taken for granted now:

  1. In the far corner of each outside court, there is a person sat with a laptop capturing what the TV producers and players deem as valuable data. The data includes information on the serve and position, the return and how each point is won. This information in turn alters the score. In addition to this, on the show courts the service speed and rally count is also captured by additional data collectors.
  2. All the data input into the laptops from the side of the courts is then made available to those working in TV Graphics and Production, as well as being used to update the scores online, on TV and around the grounds at Wimbledon.
  3. The TV producers, who decide and manage which camera shot to be put on TV, then have these stats available to use. Working with their TV graphics animator, and to support the commentators, they can select which statistics to be displayed at appropriate times during the match, and a summary page of statistics at the end of each set and/or match.
  4. At the conclusion of each match, all the data that has been collected is made available for the players and their coaches. This information may then help to inform decisions that are made, for example, on where a player needs to focus attention on in their next practice session or match.

Next time you’re watching Wimbledon on TV see if you notice the use of data through the statistics being displayed or, if you’re lucky enough to be there in person, look out for the person collecting all the data. Either way make sure to enjoy some strawberries, Pimms and, hopefully, another Andy Murray win!

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