The Rugby Football Union Boosts the Fan Experience with IBM Analytics and Big Data

The Rugby Football Union Boosts the Fan Experience with IBM Analytics and Big

PR Newswire

ARMONK, N.Y., Jan. 31, 2013

ARMONK, N.Y., Jan. 31,2013 /PRNewswire/ --The Rugby Football Union (RFU) and
IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a strategic five year agreement. As Official
Analytics Partner for the RFU, IBM will implement a leading analytics solution
to provide fans with real-time insights into the game, including information
about individual performance by players – the IBM TryTracker.


Click here to view a video on YouTube: The Rugby Football Union Boosts the Fan
Experience with IBM Analytics and Big Data

In a first for rugby, IBM's Predictive Analytics software will analyse
historic and current rugby data provided by Opta, the world's leading sports
data provider, to provide valuable in-game stats. It will give viewers access
to insights that will heighten their understanding of what to watch for in
each game and explain what needs to be done to increase the likelihood of a
team win against specific opponents.

The IBM TryTracker will include the 'Keys to the Game', to provide
play-by-play insights during the game, and predict three crucial areas of
performance specific to each team ahead of match day. For example, the system
may predict that if a side hits their target in these aspects of their game
then they are more likely to increase their chances of victory, for example
the proportion of scrums won or rate of successful kicks. The data collected
and provided by Opta for all England internationals is analysed by IBM, before
being hosted on

In addition, the platform will feature a new way to represent 'Momentum',
which depicts visual graphics of the match as it unfolds – and identifies key
moments, decisions and turning points based on every facet of the game. It
will also determine the match's 'Key Influencers' by analysing every action of
every player to reveal which three players are having the biggest positive
impact on their team's overall performance. Results are based on position
specific historical data, and will show the average performance of the
player's teammates.

As well as providing the analytics for IBM TryTracker, the agreement also
includes the implementation of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
transformational plan for the RFU. Using IBM Analytics will allow the RFU to
better understand information on rugby fans, their needs and preferences, to
enable the organisation to communicate with supporters and participants in a
more personalised way.

Sophie Goldschmidt, Chief Commercial Officer, RFU: "We're delighted to be
working with a company of IBM's calibre. This important new long-term
agreement will enable the RFU to give fans even more insight and understanding
into what's happening on the pitch and why, as well as ensuring we remain at
the forefront of new technology to enrich the overall fan experience. Our
plans also involve utilising IBM's expertise to further benefit the grassroots
game and enhance performance at the elite level."

"In sport and business, data is a game changer, "said Martin Guillaume, Media
and Sports Leader for IBM Global Business Services UK and Ireland. "IBM is
powering new consumer experiences with advanced real -time analytics. By doing
this, we offer a new way to enjoy the game, by uncovering insights that
matter, enhancing the fan experience and providing vital feedback to players
and stakeholders."

This technology builds on what is already in use in well known global tennis
tournaments such as Wimbledon, The Australian Open and The US Open. IBM is
tapping the power of predictive analytics to help deliver insights into
everything touching performance, sports injuries, key plays and more. By
delivering these insights directly to fans, IBM is driving a smarter sporting
experience, giving millions of rugby fans around the world the tools to a more
enjoyable game.

The world of sports, and many sporting teams alike, are finding new ways to
uncover hidden insights from Big Data to gain a competitive edge. Analytics
continues to change how sport is being viewed and played, ensuring that fans
have a complete interactive experience so they do not miss a moment.

The IBM TryTracker can be accessed by all mobile devices and tablets. The
three Keys to the Game will be released every Thursday ahead of the weekend
match day during the RBS 6 Nations tournament taking place from February 2 to
March 16 2013, in which England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy
will participate. The new platform is available at

This week's Keys to the Game are:

England Keys

  oWin more than 14 turnovers
  oGet more than 5 linebreaks
  oAchieve a successful goal kick percentage of more than 74%

Scotland Keys

  oAchieve a tackle success rate greater than 95%
  oWin more than 85% of own lineouts thrown
  oHave more than 6 attempts at goal

About the Rugby Football Union (RFU)
The Rugby Football Union is the National Governing Body for rugby union in
England and supports participants and fans from the grassroots to the national
team. For more information visit You can keep up to date with all
RFU news on @Official_RFU

About IBM
Explore this site to learn about IBM's solutions and success stories, and how
you can use data to make your business work smarter:

About Opta
Opta collect, package and analyse more live sports data in greater detail than
anyone else. The level of detail we collect brings an added dimension to the
world of sport. It allows for more innovative broadcast coverage, more
engaging online and print reporting and more intelligent professional

More information –

Media Contacts:

Emma Bennett
IBM Media Relations
+44 (0)7976 839109

Kristine Nalbone
IBM Media Relations

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