MOST INNOVATIVE BUSINESS RESPONSE TO COVID 19 – INTERNATIONAL
Hawk-Eye Innovations – Hawk-Eye Live at the US Open 2020
Due to the impact of Covid-19, the suspension of the tennis tours in March 2020 led to the cancellation of over 80 elite tennis tournaments over 6 months.
Amongst all sports, Tennis in particular faced a specific challenge with regards to officiating, being one of the most intensively officiated sports, in terms of number of officials on court compared to athletes.
The US Open 2020 was the first Grand Slam scheduled to restart the tour and so the USTA had to lead the way in defining solutions to reduce their operational footprints to ensure that their tournaments could safely return.
With this, Hawk-Eye developed and deployed Hawk-Eye Live, a real-time electronic line calling system which has the ability to determine whether a shot has landed in or out immediately after the ball has landed.
The real-time and automated nature of Hawk-Eye Live allowed the USTA to conform with strict restrictions on staff numbers on-site and on the court, whilst also greatly increasing the quality and consistency of officiating across the entire tournament, simultaneously.
OnePlan – Venue Twin
Venue Twin is the hyper-realistic, fully interactive 3D digital twin of stadiums and arenas. It’s a ground-breaking way for venues to create new value with fans, sponsors and broadcasters. For Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, it’s a ‘game-changer’, allowing them to plan events in the stadium remotely and see how their venue will look as a potential FIFA 2026 World Cup venue.
Venue Twin has been created by OnePlan, the event planning technology used by over 2,000 events in 50 countries including Arsenal, Chelsea, Wolves, Brooklyn Nets, World Triathlon and many more sports organisations. It enables fly-throughs from any angle and virtual site visits, significantly reducing the time and cost associated with planning events – as well as providing substantial sustainability benefits.
Fast-tracked in response to the pandemic, Venue Twin provides operational and commercial benefit to venue owners. With the most advanced 3D SeatView and SuiteView available, Venue Twin is used by sales and ticketing teams to enhance a stadium’s commercial offer. Other features include the ability to easily change signage and branding to showcase the venue to potential advertisers, plus collaborating with broadcasters on TV views.
Venue Twin enables sports events to be planned virtually, delivering cost reductions and sustainability benefits.
Sportdigital – Predictions Eredivisie – Who will be Champion?
The 2019/20 football season in the Dutch Eredivisie was terminated prematurely due to the COVID 19 pandemic. There was no champion and no relegation.
Not for the German licensee Sportdigital Fussball. The Hamburg-based pay-TV operator developed an innovative broadcasting format using a mix of match data, virtual reality and real archive match images and simply continued to play the cancelled season. How did it work?
For this innovative “Predictions Eredivisie” format, Sportdigital Fussball cooperated with 2 specialist companies. The sports simulation company AccuScore provided the exact match data to realistically simulate the further results of the Eredivisie up to the last match day. The video game manufacturer Konami supplied the virtual match images for the highlight summaries of the remaining match days via the football simulation “Pro Evolution Soccer”. These virtual clips were skilfully mixed in post-production with the real archive match images from the Eredivisie and absolutely new and unique highlight summaries were created of the outstanding matches at the time – which had never actually existed in this form.
Who was champion in the Eredivisie 2019/20? The answer was only available in the innovative studio broadcast format “Predictions Eredivisie” on Sportdigital Fussball!
Super League Triathlon – SLT Arena Games
Super League Triathlon (SLT) is the world’s premier swim-bike-run Series, pitching the very best athletes against each other in quick and exciting race formats in fantastic destinations The regular Championship Series takes place from August-November with the best triathletes on the planet doing battle over game-changing formats which are redefining the sport for a modern audience.
With COVID-19 wiping out the vast majority of the triathlon race calendar, Super League came up with an innovative new concept to get athletes back racing again in a COVID secure environment while bringing a new audience to the sport by harnessing technology to produce a unique format.
The debut event of the SLT Arena Games was held in Rotterdam in August 2020 and blended in real life and virtual racing to deliver a new level of immersive viewing experience. It was developed by Super League Triathlon in partnership with eSports platform Zwift to add an exciting and fresh element to the sport, with live data and in your face cameras bringing viewers closer to the athletes than ever before.
It’s huge success meant it expanded further in 2021 including an event at the London Aquatics Centre and the addition of para-triathlon racing.
USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews has utilised his key change management and turnaround skills to great effect over the past six months, helping to ensure the long-term future of USAW and its staff.
The first key decision Andrews made was to take a 100% pay cut at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure USAW’s employees all retained their jobs. He was also at the forefront of the Covid-19 relief fund that the organisation created to help protect the weightlifting community and fund members whose livelihoods were endangered by the pandemic.
Another highlight of Andrews’ work this year has been his role in supporting his athletes. The Hawaii training camp has helped competitors not only with their physically health but also mental health, of which support has increased by more than 200% during his tenure at USA Weightlifting.
Andrews also successfully launched a scholarship fund for African American coaches which has so far seen 20 new coaches receive their Level 2 weightlifting qualification, as well as working to ensure that any existing bias is eliminated from USAW’s selection and recruitment procedures.