Wisehockey Tampere Cup 2020: How to harness tech for fan entertainment

 

Last weekend Wisehockey sponsored the traditional pre-season tournament of the Finnish Hockey League (Liiga) called Tampere Cup, organized this year by the Liiga team Tappara. We introduced our brand new fan engagement features including automated real-time statistics on LED displays – something the fans had never seen before.

The goal was to introduce a completely new kind of hockey viewing experience. Although the arena was not full due to Covid-19 precautions, the new kind of use for LED screens and real-time data made a lasting impact on the audience. The games were also streamed online by Aamulehti for tens of thousands of viewers.

Until now our automated real-time sports analytics platform has mostly provided features for TV broadcasts, teams and coaching. Now it was time to show the fans in a concrete way how real-time tracking data makes watching hockey more entertaining,” says Wisehockey CEO Tomi Mikkonen.

Tamhockey’s Manager of Sales and Business Development Aki Hautamäki believes that traditional elements of a hockey event are gradually taking a digital form. Practically everyone has a smartphone and can use a mobile app that combines game tickets, food orders and even live betting based on real-time statistics. “Digital marketing solutions also have a crucial role in connecting with people and providing them with informative content about what is going on,” Hautamäki remarks.

Nowadays it is crucial to put a lot of effort into fan engagement. Offering unforgettable sports events is important because people’s attention is divided between many different service providers. The event as a whole must be interesting enough to attract viewers to the arena.

A mobile app in a hockey fan's phone
A mobile app can combine tickets, food orders and even live betting based on real-time statistics.

Turning real-time data into real-time entertainment: Momentum shows who’s likely to score next

Wisehockey Tampere Cup demonstrated how Wisehockey data becomes entertainment during a sports event. Momentum graphics were designed specifically for the modern LED displays around the rink. Fans could make a guess of the final momentum score of each game via a simple mobile app, bringing more excitement to the game.

The momentum score showing which team is currently more likely to score the next goal was not only a basis for a fan contest and a gorgeous visual background for events in the rink, but also an infographic for the viewers interested in analytics.

Hockey rink with Wisehockey's momentum graphics on LED screens
The momentum graphics around the rink illustrate the changes in real time. The higher momentum, the more likely a team is to score the next goal.

In addition to the momentum score, the Wisehockey Tampere Cup featured real-time game statistics on LED displays in the arena for the first time in the world. Until now, visualized real-time data has been used during games only in TV broadcasts and on Jumbotron screen as informative features such as TOP lists of the fastest players.

Players’ individual statistics make the most interesting live entertainment: is a goal shot looks fast from the stands, how high a speed did the puck in fact achieve? In Tampere Cup, Wisehockey data including shot and player speeds was shown immediately on LED displays.

Wisehockey’s real-time statistics have been shown before on Jumbotron screens in the form of TOP lists and other visualized statistics. New ways to display content also bring new possibilities to attract sponsors, Hautamäki believes. For example, a company may want to show its name next to the player who skated the longest distance of the game thus attracting more potential customers.

According to fans at the arena, some of the most interesting game statistics are players’ speed, ice time and puck control. Now it is possible to integrate this into the live experience. Showing live statistics in events is a natural development of the Wisehockey platform that visualizes game data automatically and in real time.

After the tournament Wisehockey CEO Mikkonen states that there’s no return to the past: ”LED displays in hockey arenas are not just for advertising, but for gluing viewers to their seats. Real-time data brings endless possibilities for fan entertainment. I am certain that everyone who experienced this event will agree.”

Hockey rink with Wisehockey's shot speed stats on LED screens
Wisehockey’s real-time analytics platform allows showing statistics such as hardest shots automatically on LED displays of an arena.