Events are becoming more and more web connected, and at one of Australia’s biggest tennis events, the broadcasting of the game now collides with social media more than ever, writes Valens Quinn.
Anyone can watch the Australian Open on TV, but if you don’t have time to hang around the set, you’ll be pleased to know that social media has taken hold of tennis like never before, delivering comprehensive coverage, right to your handhelds, wherever you are.
And also for the first time, you can interact with Federer, Nadal, Williams, Sharapova and other faves, thanks to some very clever social media integration.
The nexus of the Australian Open’s social coverage is Twitter’s Social Shack, located at ground zero in Garden Square at the Rod Laver Arena.
The Shack is a touch point for fans, offering them a number of activities and broadcasting the latest @australianopen developments on a giant 12 metre LED screen. This includes 24-hour news, behind the scenes moments, score updates, and highlight videos via Vine.
The Social Shack also includes a multi-media studio for player visits, live tweet-ups and Q&As as well as a daily AO Radio social show. There’s even a handy help feed, which you can follow @AOHelp.
Also at the Social Shack, and via large social summary displays, fans can get involved in the virtual “tug of war” game between their favourite fans by tweeting support to get their favourite player over the line, and there’s a real-time Social Scoreboard for keeping track of who is getting the most social coverage on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and who will be awarded the number one spot at the tournament’s end.
There’s even a Live Cheer system that tracks player Trends in twitter conversation, match by match.
The social feeds can also be accessed through the Australian Open iPad app (below), which is free and offers a cornucopia of stats, highlights, player bios and match schedules of the event, and “The Slam Tracker” is particularly impressive, especially during live matches as it provides an in-depth analysis of the game you’re following.