Australian Open ‘Social Leaderboard’ – Future of Datatainment?

At the end of last week I took a look at the different ways in which fans can keep up-to-date with events (on and off court) across various social platforms.  One which particularly took my interest was the IBM powered ‘Social Leaderboard’.

2012 saw the advent of ‘Datatainment’ from Man City’s Richard Ayers and we are seeing more and more visualisation of social media data around sporting events.  There was much talk but little action last year but Tennis Australia and event partner IBM have picked up the mantle at the start of 2013.

It is not 100% new, they ran a similar social leaderboard at last years event with Rafa Nadal, Roger Fereder and Novak Djokevic taking the top 3 places after more than 220,000 tweets were measured.  This year it looks like they have improved upon what they had experimented with the ability to take a deeper dive into the stats and a smoother looking interface.

Australian Open Social Leaderboard

Not only can you take a look at the overall leaderboard to see who is the top 10 but click on each player to see the graph showing sentiment and total tweets.  You can then look at the full event or the last 24 hours to see how they’re popularity has changed during different times.

This is a great way in which to give fans as little or as much data they want from the event in an easily digestible format.  They have obviously taken on learnings from last years event and used the 11 months imbetween integrating advances in technology to improve it functionality and usefulness.

Not only is it good for fans but commentators and reporters can take this info to help in their roles in covering the Open.  The addition of Twitter statistics and last updates from players on their accounts has become something we have become used to on sports and news programmes.  This is an area and set up I can see working for events and sponsors across a number of properties.

Australian Open Social Leaderboard

“We’re concentrating more than ever on engaging socially with our fans,” Daniel Lattimer, who works on the digital team for the event, told Mashable in a recent article. “We were the first Grand Slam on Twitter, and engagement has been going up there and on Facebook, so it’s important to provide people with that complement to the actual watching of the tennis during the tournament.”

Concentrating all these new platforms and social networks into one area within the site, the ‘Fan Centre’ is the way in which the organisers are using to create a ‘Social Media hub’ (something we have discussed in length here at UKSN).  Somewhere fans can go to discover different ways in which they can consume content and an aggregator for everything they are doing digitally.

Will we see more of these data driven microsites?  Yes, we definitely will.  Twitter works hard with sports and entertainment brands and events to constantly push the boundaries and integrate Twitter more and more into what they are doing.  We know people use it especially around big events so this is the next step on.

It may be a quiet year for sport – compared to 2012 – but expect to see more innovations coming our way and planning for the World Cup in 2014 very much in mind.  For now lets enjoy this new platform at the Australian Open (come on Andy!) and wonder what is going to come up next in sport and digital.  Something around the Superbowl I have no doubt!

Australian Open Social Leaderboard

About author

Daniel McLaren
Daniel McLaren 820 posts

Dan is the Founder & CEO of Digital Sport. Can be found at sports industry events and heard every week on the Digital Sport Insider podcast. @DanielMcLaren

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