Sloan Hackathon with the WTA and Ticketmaster hints at a new era of second screen analytics

Posted 07.03.2019

Fan experience takes centre stage at the 2019 Sloan Hackathon

At the 2019 MIT Sloan Sport Analytics Conference in Boston, Perform the WTA and Ticketmaster partnered in a Hackathon which tasked participants with using data to meet the rising demands of a new breed of sports fan. The outputs were then presented to a group of industry judges:

  • Simon Farrant, SVP Marketing at Perform
  • John Carnahan, EVP Data Science & Engineering at Ticketmaster
  • Sam Ebb, Senior Consultant at Deloitte Sports
  • Mike McGraw, CEO of WTA Networks & Co-Founder of The Social Channel
  • Kevin Brilliant, Senior Manager Business Strategy & Analytics at Chicago Bulls


Participants had access to scoreboard, optical tracking data and video from the 2018 Indian Wells tournament and had the choice of presenting concepts which improved fan experience either in-stadium or on a second screen. Whilst originally planned to be divided into Student and Open categories, following the first set of presentations the categories were reworked to cover User Experience and Gamification, allowing deeper focus in the two areas.


User Experience Winner: Choose your own highlight package

Aligning Hawkeye data to video, the concept allows users to click on any serve or point and immediately see the shot placement, speed, spin etc along with the related video clip. Building on that, the team then incorporated a ‘momentum index’ which visualises how exciting a match is and helps fans choose which highlights to watch, simultaneously putting the user in control, driving more engagement for the Rights Holder and offering further opportunities for fans to specify players, courts etc.

Gamification Winners: A WTA Fan App

A WTA app that gave in-arena and at-home viewers the opportunity to earn ‘Fan Coin’ through a variety of gamification approaches leading including fantasy player performance-based ‘stock’ trading, in-game predictions and Guess the Hawkeye outcome. All of which could in turn be exchanged for prizes and tickets from the WTA.

Simon Farrant, SVP Marketing, Perform who hosted the Hackathon commented ‘We wanted to see how existing data sets could be used to drive new forms of engagement and what we’ve seen has been incredible. Each team has successfully shown how fan engagement can be deepened whilst opening up opportunities for the Rights Holder’.

Mike McGraw, CEO WTA Networks & Head of Marketing added “The WTA’s digital mission is to find ways to tell compelling player stories and make this broad reaching tour an engaging and personal experience for our growing global audience.  What this very bright group of data scientists came up with over the course of one day was truly impressive.  I’m also pleased to announce that we are currently planning a follow up hack with the winners next month.”

The judges presented both sets of winners with $100 Ticketmaster vouchers and year-long DAZN subscriptions.