The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), hosts of The Championships and known for its signature mix of historic tradition and innovation, has streamed live audio coverage of matches to social media for the first time, registering almost 750 000 views and generating direct engagement with just under 60 000 fans.
The Wimbledon Radio Channel, Wimbledon’s live radio broadcast of The Championships, produced by IMG and encoded by official technology partner IBM, was delivered to Facebook using Visual Radio, a new component of the browser-based production platform Grabyo Producer. The rich listening experience displays custom graphics and animations on an audio frame, and enables radio distribution to Facebook, Twitter, Periscope and YouTube as well as websites and mobile apps. Viewers are then able to discuss the action with other listeners through comments or posts, connecting the wider fanbase and community.
Using Facebook Live, fans of The Championships were able to listen to the ladies’ final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber, the men’s semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal and the men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson. These live match streams received almost 60 000 comments, shares and reactions from fans, hosted on the Wimbledon Facebook page.
Alexandra Willis, head of Communications, Content & Digital, The AELTC, said: “The popularity of the Wimbledon Radio Channel across our Visual Radio broadcasts exceeded all expectations. The Wimbledon Radio Channel performs incredibly strongly across Wimbledon.com and our official apps, and to be able to extend that audience is fantastic. 500 000 people alone listened to the Nadal-Djokovic semi-final which demonstrates our commitment to offering the best access for our fans to enjoy The Championships and engage with our content, and we believe the response shows we have achieved this.”
The popularity of live streaming on social media has increased exponentially in recent years and sports has been a major part of this growth, sports fans want to feel connected to each sporting moment as it happens. Visual Radio from Grabyo meets this demand, enabling production teams to manage multiple live audio streams collaboratively in the cloud, publishing directly to social and mobile platforms that do not offer options for radio broadcasting.
Visual Radio publishers have the added option of activating campaigns for sponsors and media partners. Grabyo’s Producer platform allows users to insert branded graphics, animations or visualisations into the stream. Editors can also insert crowd-sourced comments, conduct live polls with fans and layer imagery and data within the frame to deliver a highly-engaging experience for listeners.
Gareth Capon, Grabyo CEO, said: “We developed Visual Radio to meet the growing demand from fans for live audio broadcasts on mobile and social platforms. Building participation and community features into the product was important, fans want to feel involved with the action whilst communicating with each other. This service also creates new opportunities for brands to connect with different audiences beyond traditional TV. The AELTC has led the way in what is an exciting new step for audio streaming, and we expect Visual Radio to play a major role in live social content in the future.”