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World Sailing and SAP bring Sailing Analytics to broadcasters, commentators and fans for first-time

by World Sailing 30 Sep 2021 22:56 PDT
World Sailing and SAP bring Sailing Analytics to broadcasters, commentators and fans for first-time at the Olympic Games in Tokyo © World Sailing

World Sailing and long-time partner SAP recently collaborated to provide rights-holding broadcasters, their commentators and fans around the world with insights into real-time data and analytics from SAP Sailing Analytics during sailing competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

This level of detail was previously unavailable. However, for the global sailing community closely following the action on Enoshima's waters this summer, SAP Sailing Analytics provided added depth to live broadcasts, a wind-based leader board for greater accuracy in-race and the opportunity for fans around the world to follow the races in real-time with a broader range of statistics and insights to draw from.

The new tools were introduced during Tokyo 2020 to great acclaim, marking the first time that the power of SAP Sailing Analytics, the largest and most robust sailing platform and database in the world, has been used at the Games. The project brought together Swiss Timing, Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), SAP and World Sailing to deliver the upgrade, which was then distributed globally to Olympic broadcast rights holders and Member National Authorities.

More than 30 Rights Holders such as the BBC, ZDF, SkyNZ, Eurosport and CBC, tapped into the power of SAP Sailing Analytics to provide their commentators with more informed and detailed data and analysis that would enhance the experience of their viewers.

In addition to accessing live data that was utilized by broadcasters and commentators, rights holding broadcasters utilized widgets on their websites that provided users with real-time data from SAP Sailing Analytics such as wind speed/direction, boat speed, gaps between boats and live rankings.

Scott Over, World Sailing Commercial Director, said, "The use of SAP Sailing Analytics to enhance the broadcast and viewing experience during the Olympic Games added a richness and depth to the coverage, post-race analysis and the same high quality 'second-screen' interaction the media and fans are accustomed to at World Sailing's events. The partnership with SAP has allowed us to bring this feature to the Olympic Games and reach a global audience of millions. This really is a landmark achievement for the sport and we look forward to a widespread roll out across more of our activities in the coming months."

Alastair Fox, World Sailing Tokyo 2020 Technical Delegate & Event Director, said, "Sailing has the potential to become a fully-immersive experience for the viewer and a data-driven sport. Leveraging SAP Sailing Analytics to access real-time data allows audiences around the world to better understand and appreciate the sport, and we hope this will lead to further growth across sailing."

Olympic sailing commentary teams praised the added insight and the results were excellent both from OBS as well as producing record-breaking engagement numbers for SAP. Previously, the highest number of unique users on SAP Sailing Analytics was just below 50,000 at the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus in 2018, while visitors to the platform surpassed 450,000 unique users during Tokyo 2020. It is also estimated that more than 250 million people worldwide watched sailing events during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, beating the figures released for Rio 2016.

"Using SAP Sailing Analytics during the Games gave me detailed insights into what was happening second-by-second behind the visual story and allows a commentator to see not just who is winning, but exactly why they are," said BBC sailing commentator, Niall Myant.

"This gives the opportunity to dig deeper into our sport with accuracy and the viewer gets the real story, and with it a deeper appreciation of why these athletes are the best in the world. More data isn't enough, it needs to be collated and presented in the right form which SAP Sailing Analytics does. If you want to know who is gaining an edge over their rivals, it's just a click away. In the past, we would shy away from the complexity of our sport, but with this system it is easy to show just how much these athletes are doing to win."

Virtually all Olympic-bound sailors use the SAP Sailing Analytics to review their performances during the Sailing World Cup, as well as many European and World Championships. The added transparency has also improved the overall structure of the game which has led to a recognisable drop in post-race rule disputes.

SAP and World Sailing are now focused on the provision of more technology at the Offshore World Championships and the Youth Sailing World Championships later this year as well as planning to implement the service at all international events in 2022.

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