USTA's IBM Partnership Leads To Monetizing U.S. Open Mobile Apps
The U.S. Open's partnership with IBM has "become a test bed of data-fueled innovation that not only reaches consumers and media covering the event, but now even uses social-media data to influence how server resources are allocated," according to Kate Kaye of AD AGE. Courtside handheld devices "feed multiple data points such as serve speeds from each match into the system, where they hit a database that's accessible to announcers broadcasting the games, and reporters hunkered down in media lairs in the lower level of the stadium." Apple and Android apps developed by IBM "surface information on player matchups, and track event and athlete-related trends on Twitter." It is "only recently" that IBM and the USTA "recognized through analysis of previous efforts that the apps were popular and could be an additional revenue stream." USTA Dir of Digital Strategy & Partnership Nicole Jeter West said, "We had not monetized the mobile apps. ... There was not a lot of sponsor integration." Kaye noted the Twitter tracker, Trendcast, is "sponsored by American Express" this year, while Mercedes-Benz and IBM are "sponsors in the US Open app." IBM said that the USTA's IT infrastructure "must balloon 50 times its normal capacity to meet demand during the Open." Jeter West said the IBM partnership "allows us to be able to scale and reach the amount of global fans that we have." She added, "For us, there is no recovery time" (ADAGE.com, 8/29).