Sport Innovation/BTS Tennis
A New Form of the Game
BTS Tennis is a proposed new style of Tennis event focusing on innovation and fan interaction. The three day event will feature the best tennis players from both men’s and women’s games’ incorporating both singles and doubles competitions. The goal is to get the best 32 players in the world participating in the tournament. The players will take part in both singles and doubles matches over the three day event. Matches will consist of one set shootouts due to the short timeframe of the competition, fans will have the opportunity to watch more players and the drama should be intensified with only one set of play. Each player to progress through the tournament they will play multiple matches each day which increases fans’ chances of seeing a greater number of players when attending a session of play.
The draws for the competition will be made at random after each round is complete and there will be no seedlings i.e. anyone can be drawn against any other player. This means that two of best players in the world could meet each other in any round, for example Novak Djokovic versus Roger Federer in round one. Doubles pairings will be chosen at random in a draw conducted by fans. The main aim of the tournament is fan fun with plenty of interactivity and off court entertainment for the spectators. The event is likely to take place in 2013 in Australia with the exact date and location still to be finalised. More information on the event can be found on the website and/or Facebook page. The event will focus on bringing innovations to the courts as in the example from a charity match at the Australian Open where microphones were fitted on the players . The innovations which will be implemented will be assessed based on research during the customer development phase.
The customer development plan for the project is to gain insights on prospective customers ,within a target market of general sports fans, to formulate the structure of the event and to see if there is a strong demand for a quick fire tennis tournament. The customer discovery will be used to establish the innovations to implement in matches, on-court activities and format of doubles matches including the draw structure for double pairings.
Customer development will take place over a four week period which will be split into two halves. In the first two weeks the focus will be on local face to face interactions with general sport fans to learn the degree of interest in the event using informal chat to lead discussion with a target of 25-30 people. During this period the website will be finalised and a social media presence established by creating a Facebook page.
In weeks three and four, traffic on the website will be reviewed and analysed alongside the interaction on social media. A survey will be produced for the website to help establish demand levels and the innovations and amenities fans would like to see at the event. These results will be collated with information from the face to face interactions to assess the viability and the proposed elements to incorporate in the event.
The Customer Discovery process has shown that the proposed BTS Event will appeal to existing tennis fans and generate demand for tickets from general sport spectators. The elements of BTS drawing in the fans are the random draw and big name players competing in the event. The draw structure means that the fans could see two of the top players in world like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic face off in the first round creating a buzz around the arena.
The BTS Tennis Business Model Canvassfor BTS Tennis has been amended to reflect the results from the customer discovery. One of the key changes is adding in speed of play to the value proposition because too much time taken by players’ in-between points upsets the flow of the game. The fans would like to see a play clock introduced in the event in-between points to speed up matches as tennis viewers complained that some of top players take too long to start points which affects the flow of the match. A further key activity is to get the governing bodies backing and support for the event because a significant attraction is the participation of the top tennis stars. In order to achieve this both the Association Tennis Proffesionals (ATP) Men's Governing Body and Womens' Tennis Association (WTA) Women's Governing Body would need to authorise BTS Tennis to draw players’ interest and entry in the event.
Activities to gain ATP and WTA backing will focus on two areas which are generating player support for BTS while the other is staging of trial mini BTS Format tournaments. The first one is important as if we can have some elite players communicating to governing bodies keenness will help persuade them on its viability. Trial events will give a better idea to governing bodies and all potential stakeholders the shape of BTS, its operation and the likely demand and can feel more informed when making a decision on BTS. . The Trial events will be beneficial with opportunity to establish greater fan demand and attracting sponsors & broadcasters because visual representation will help displays the features and benefits of the event.
Every single respondent in customer discovery conveyed positive reactions to the idea demonstrating that the event can breed wider interest into tennis. This is without displacing current tennis fans who will consume the event because the key fundamentals of the sport in terms of how it is played are maintained. A key finding from customer study is that basic principles of tennis are widely understood in the western world because of the publicity and media attention given to the Grand Slams tournaments which are often the only times people tune in to watch the sport.