Australian Open officials are optimistic of breaking an online record after the re-launch of the ausopen.com website, with hopes of smashing the record 15.5 million unique visitors from 2013. The expanded site is up and running in time for the start of the Australian tennis summer next weekend with the Hopman Cup in Perth and Brisbane International on the other side of the continent.
The online experience is expected to beat anything previously offered by the first grand slam of the season. “This is the most exciting digital program we have ever delivered,” said manager Kim Trengove. “Our aim is to put the tennis fan in the box seat for Australian Open 2014, whether they are here on site at Melbourne Park, or watching from the other side of the world on their iPad, phone or online.
The digital reach of the website will stretch across online, mobile, social, video and radio. One new innovation will be the real world SOCIAL SHACK in Garden Square onsite.
Onsite fans can participate live in the coverage and support their favorite players in a virtual tug-of-war. Players will battle each other in the social world and fans will have the final say as they spread messages of support across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Open website is powered by tournament technology partner IBM and is hosted on the IBM private cloud. Popular features making a return include Slamtracker, and the event’s YouTube channel. Fans can also see free, live action from seven courts at Melbourne Park (though no promises are being made by officials who claim territorial restrictions apply). There will also be highlights of every televised match, day and night session round-ups and player interviews.
Mobile apps are also expected to be big business for event, with Android and iPhone app downloaded 1.1 million times in 2013, with 2014 downloads available in January, AO Radio will also provide ball-by-ball coverage and will be streamed in Melbourne on 99.7 FM.