Finalist 2023

Australian Open Fan Engagement

WongDoody / Tennis Australia / Australian Open

Revolutionising fan engagement: Personalised experiences, immersive technologies, and enhanced accessibility transform the Australian Open.

A revolutionary approach for the future and what fan engagement for the Australian Open and sports.

Through navigating complex media rights, partner contracts, and evolving fan expectations, we aimed to grow and engage with digital fans across various platforms. We addressed challenges of fragmented digital channels, missed opportunities, opportunities to deliver personalised content, and unifying both brand and the approach to audience engagement. Through extensive data analysis, interviews, research, a human-centered design approach, we developed and implemented a fan-centric framework, revolutionising the AusOpen experience, creating an enhanced, personalised and bespoke engagement, through immersive technologies, interactions and enhanced storytelling.

Design Brief:

Develop a fan engagement strategy in time for the AO2023 that would address challenges faced by the AO and Tennis Australia (TA) both now and in the future. These challenges included fragmented digital channels, missed opportunities to maximise value from digital fans, the inability to deliver personalised content, and lack of a unified engagement approach.

Our intended outcome was to revolutionise the AO fan experience by creating personalised engagements, leveraging immersive technologies, and enhancing accessibility. By adopting a fan-centric mindset and conducting extensive research, we aimed to understand fan needs and preferences.

The final design solution aimed to provide tailored content and advertising, dynamic app and website experiences, targeted advertising campaigns, and relevant upsell opportunities during the ticketing journey. We sought to transform the AO into an immersive, digitally enhanced event, setting a new benchmark for fan engagement not only in Victoria, Australia and around the globe.

This project was developed by:

Design Process

For the digital fan engagement project at the Australian Open (AO) followed a human-centered design (HCD) 'double diamond' model. The process involved extensive global qualitative and quantitative research, engaging fans, industry experts, competitors, and stakeholders from TA.

The initial research phase encompassed comprehensive industry and competitor analysis, ensuring a deep understanding of the fragmented digital channel landscape and evolving fan expectations. Over 2,000 participants from various age groups and fandom levels were involved in the research, which provided key insights into fan needs and preferences.

Using the insights gained, we developed a fan-centric framework called DFE (Digital Fan Engagement) that served as a guiding principle throughout the project. The framework consisted of four layers: Motivators, Behaviours, Channels, and Content. Each layer contributed to a deeper understanding of fan engagement and facilitated the creation of targeted and valuable experiences.

Based on the framework, we identified opportunities to enhance fan engagement and implemented personalised strategies. The design solution included tailored content and advertising based on fan profiles and preferences, dynamic AO app and website experiences directing fans to relevant player interactions and content, targeted advertising campaigns optimising conversions, and offering relevant upsell opportunities during the ticketing journey.

The final design was implemented through collaboration with stakeholders, including AO organisers, TA, players, and technology partners. It involved the integration of digital platforms, immersive technologies, and data-driven insights to ensure a seamless and immersive fan experience.

Throughout the design process, we adhered to professional design standards, ensuring a comprehensive and systematic approach. The project met and exceeded the design brief by effectively addressing the identified challenges, developing innovative and personalised solutions, and enhancing the overall fan experience at the AO.

Design Excellence

Our approach and outcome not only satisfied but exceeded expectations. Fulfilling the fundamentals, functionality, aesthetics, safety, quality, and sustainability. The design solutions implemented in the digital fan engagement strategy for the Australian Open (AO) are highly functional, providing personalised content, dynamic app experiences, and targeted advertising campaigns. Accessibility was prioritised, meeting Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 AA, ensuring inclusivity for all fans. The aesthetic appeal of the AO was enhanced through immersive technologies and visually engaging features.

Secondly, a holistic, high-quality, fit-for-purpose user experience was central to the design deliverable. Through extensive research and a fan-centric approach, we gained insights into fan needs, preferences, and behaviours. These insights guided the development of personalised experiences, ensuring that fans feel connected and engaged throughout their AO journey. The design solutions were meticulously crafted to enhance the interaction between the service provider (AO) and its customers (fans), resulting in a seamless and enjoyable experience.

The outcome sets a new benchmark for design excellence not only in Victoria but also for Australia and internationally. By revolutionising fan engagement and leveraging digital platforms and immersive technologies, we have transformed the AO into a digitally enhanced event that is at the forefront of innovation. The project showcases the benefits of investing in professional design, demonstrating the significant impact it can have on business outcomes and the overall fan experience. The success and recognition of this project will undoubtedly inspire and influence other events and industries to adopt similar design approaches.

Design Innovation

Tackling the challenges of fan engagement in a an innovative and original and forward thinking manner to solve a fragmented digital channel experience for one of Australia's largest and most iconic events took everything, and we have delivered, developing a unique and groundbreaking features in both sport and audience brand engagement has already begun to revolutionised experiencing the Australian Open.

One notable innovation is the implementation of the DFE (Digital Fan Engagement) framework. This framework, which integrates Motivators, Behaviours, Channels, and Content layers, provides a structured approach to understanding and targeting fan engagement. It is a world-first design solution specifically tailored to the AO context. The framework allows for a deep understanding of fan motivations, enabling the creation of personalised content and advertising strategies.

Another innovative aspect is the incorporation of immersive technologies. Features such as the Match Centre 2.0 with Matchbeats, Stroke Summary, AI Commentary, and AI Video Insights provide fans with unprecedented real-time insights and on-court strategies. These immersive features transform the way fans interact with the AO, creating memorable experiences and fostering a deeper connection with the sport.

The design process was highly user-centred, focusing on addressing individual fan needs and responding to their circumstances. Through extensive research involving fans, industry experts, and stakeholders, we gained valuable insights into fan preferences and behaviours. This user-centric approach ensured that the design solutions effectively met the demands and desires of AO fans.

Design Impact

From a social perspective, the project enhances the fan experience, fostering a sense of connection and community among AO attendees and digital fans worldwide. By providing personalised engagements and immersive technologies, the project contributes to the enjoyment and enthusiasm surrounding the AO and the sport of tennis.

From an environmental perspective, the design adheres to the principles of a Circular Economy. By leveraging digital platforms and minimising physical materials, the project reduces waste and environmental impact. The use of immersive technologies and digital content also promotes sustainability by minimizing resource consumption and emissions associated with traditional physical experiences.

From a commercial perspective, the project has the potential to generate positive impacts. The personalised engagements and targeted advertising campaigns drive business outcomes, optimising conversions and maximising the value derived from digital fans. This enhances the AO's financial sustainability and contributes to the growth and success of the event.

Furthermore, this project builds on and contributes to the reputation and status of Victoria's design and creative culture. By setting a new benchmark for design excellence in fan engagement, it showcases Victoria's innovative capabilities and positions the state as a leader in the field of design. This recognition and impact on the design industry in Victoria will promote the importance of investing in professional design, further enhancing the reputation of the state and attracting talent and opportunities.

Overall, the project has the potential to make a positive impact socially, commercially, and environmentally. It showcases the power of design to enhance experiences, promote sustainability, and drive business success. The recognition and promotion of this project will contribute to the reputation and status of Victoria's design and creative culture, solidifying its position as a hub of innovation and excellence.

Circular Design and Sustainability Features

The entry on AO Fan Engagement - Service Design represents a circular design and sustainable design principles through its comprehensive approach and focus on positive impacts for various stakeholders.

Circular design principles are in the project's consideration of sustainability throughout the design process. By leveraging digital platforms and immersive technologies, the project reduces the need for physical materials, minimising waste and environmental impact. The use of data-driven insights and tailored content aligns with circular design principles by optimising resource consumption and enhancing the overall fan experience without excessive resource utilisation.

We've emphasised on enhancing the AO fan experience fostering a sense of connection and community, which has positive social implications. By leveraging immersive technologies and personalised engagements, the project promotes a deeper connection with the sport of tennis and creates memorable experiences for fans, strengthening the overall social fabric around the event.

From a commercial perspective, the project's focus on targeted advertising campaigns and optimizing conversions helps drive business outcomes, contributing to the financial sustainability and success of the Australian Open. This financial stability is essential for the long-term viability of the event and supports its continued positive impact on the economy.

Overall, the project's comprehensive approach to sustainability, inclusivity, and positive social and commercial impacts aligns with circular design and sustainable design principles. It showcases the potential of professional design to enhance experiences, promote sustainability, and drive positive outcomes for various stakeholders. By adopting these principles, the approach sets an example for future events and industries, promoting the importance of investing in professional design and solidifying Victoria's position as a hub of innovation and excellence on the global stage.

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