When Chinese tennis player Li Na won the women’s singles title at the 2011 French Open, more than 116 million in China watched her final-round victory over Francesca Schiavone of Italy. To give this a sense of scale, that is nearly twice as much as the previous largest Chinese TV audience for a sporting event. It is also double the number of American TV viewers who watched the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games last summer from London.
The growing global popularity and reach of women’s tennis makes SAP’s announcement of our new multi-year partnership with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) so exciting. Through the new agreement, the WTA and SAP will collaborate to transform the sport – developing innovative solutions which further engage with fans, provide players with the tools to analyze performance and optimize strategy, and better service the media. Using enhanced statistics and analysis, SAP will be providing insight into how each point in WTA matches was won, mapping out patterns of play, and highlighting player trends and tendencies. This invaluable information will be available to coaches, players, fans and the media – all of whom can get insight into tennis like never before.
Although helping players optimize on-court performance is the initial focus of our relationship with the WTA, a subsequent phase will explore increasing fan and media engagement with personalized, immersive experiences, delivered on mobile devices, online and in the stadium. Enhancing the fan experience is a priority for SAP in all of our sports and entertainment partnerships, and our involvement with the WTA will mirror our efforts with the NFL, the NBA, and other properties where fans use the power of SAP solutions to access and explore unprecedented amounts of data.
This new partnership with WTA also demonstrates SAP’s commitment to women’s sport on a global scale and provides us with the opportunity to engage with our key markets around the world. WTA tournaments are held in 32 nations around the world – from Australia, Brazil and China to Russia, Spain, and Turkey. The top 100 ranked players on the WTA currently hail from 36 different countries.
Our relationship with the WTA officially kicks off at their year-end championships in Istanbul, Turkey. We are honored to team with the WTA to help them become a best-run business and look forward to working together to truly enhance and grow the sport.
It’s game, set, and perfect match.