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Insight 

Dimension Data needed to improve its global brand awareness and shift the brand from being seen as a systems integrator of yesteryear, to a trusted partner that delivers business outcomes in the digital era.  

It partnered with Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), owners of the Tour de France, to transform the greatest cycling race in the world as a means of showcasing its capability in digital technologies. 

Together, Dimension Data and A.S.O., set out to revolutionise the viewing experience of the Tour de France. 

More than a billion cycling fans watch each July as nearly 200 riders from across the world compete for top honours. A.S.O wanted to attract the next generation of cycling fans. To achieve this it needed to look beyond the live broadcast market across 190 countries to digital and social channels, where it can provide younger fans with free access to the real-time race.  

For Dimension Data, the answer lay in delivering a richer experience using social technology and real-time data – a feat never accomplished in the challenging environment of a Grand Tour cycling event.  

Younger people demand a second-screen experience. They are ‘data geeks’, who are looking for supplementary information of riders online. Empowered by social media and digital engagement platforms, these super fans want to take a seat at the table, once reserved for sports journalists.  

The partnership between Dimension Data and A.S.O. achieved something extraordinary for the sport: it transformed the way race information was visualised and delivered to fans via social media. 

Strategy 

Until now, fans of professional cycling had very limited access to information about the performance of riders. All viewers had access to was basic position and time-gap information based on the location of the motorbikes that followed the race to capture television footage. No information was available on the performance of individual riders. 

A.S.O. and Dimension Data set out to transform the way that race data is delivered on social media to fans, media and cycling experts.  

Dimension Data created a live data analytics solution – the technology needed to be sufficiently robust for a fast-paced stage event like the Tour de France, and the data it produced needed to ensure optimum fan engagement.  

Dimension Data also leveraged the reach and strength of the Tour de France brand by launching the #TDFdata campaign. Through the campaign Dimension Data aimed to:  

 Build the brand through association by providing live analytics reporting to fans on the co-created social: channel @letourdata. 
 Capitalise on reach and awareness provided by sponsorship (especially TV and media exposure) to build a social community to grow the younger fan base for A.S.O. 
 Provide new ways to improve the capturing, analysis and visualisation of real-time rider data to bring new insights into race tactics. 

¥ Associate the brand with race innovations and showcase their technical expertise in the areas of social, mobile, analytics and cloud. 

The partnership produced innovative, next-generation technologies that aim to revolutionise cycling as a sport. Headlining the 2016 innovations was ‘Race Center’, a web-based application hosted on Dimension Data’s cloud platform and developed in partnership with A.S.O. It combined live race data, video, photographs, social media feeds, and race commentary with the new live tracking website. This gives viewers an immersive digital experience that goes beyond the television coverage of the race. 

Execution 

Dimension Data’s live-tracking solution tracked each rider’s speed and location data in the race using GPS technology. A.S.O. fitted the bikes of all 198 cyclists with GPS sensors underneath the saddles. 

Dimension Data’s Big Data truck, which travelled all the stages of the race, then processed live-tracking information through a data analytics application running on its cloud platform. 

Data was interpreted and visualised by Dimension Data’s #TDFdata content teams before being published on digital and social channels: 

 A live tracking website allowed fans to follow the real-time progress of their favourite riders or teams on dynamic maps. 
 Additional data insights and visualisations were delivered, which demonstrated changes in the race, position of key riders, speed at key points etc. This data was shared via @letourdata, and the Race Centre (these platforms weren’t just a ‘live stream’ of the data).  
 Daily race insights supported by data and rich media were shared via a daily ‘Analytics in Action’ blog compiled and delivered by Dimension Data.  
 Data was also shared with broadcasters and the media for their own updates, and television and online shows. 
 Fans were encouraged to participate in live polls on @letourdata asking, for example: ‘What speed do you think Froome will hit on X descent?’. This encouraged fan participation rather than just consumption. 
 Dimension Data also published infographics via social channels that highlighted key data points, and evolutions of key riders across the tour in data. So this helped Dimension Data give insight, beyond live tracking.   

Results 

 Social media reach - the A.S.O’s social media fan base increased from 3.2 million (2014) to 6 million (2016).  

 The live-tracking website - attracted 17.8 million fans (approximately 360k per day); and supported 2,000 page requests per second. Users spent an average of 10 minutes per session.  

 @LetourData Twitter feed - by publishing race data on a dedicated twitter handle, Dimension Data built a community of over 30,000 followers. The A.S.O. now has an additional channel on which to engage fans. Improved data visualisations drastically improved fans’ understanding of the race. This handle averaged 320 retweets and 550 link clicks per day. This was achieved entirely organically - no media spend was used.  

 Content marketing - Infographics published made the race visually immersive. Popular infographics, such as ‘The fight for the yellow jersey’ (published during stage 1-16), received 6 000+ views. ‘10 Technologies transforming sport’ received 9 700+ views. 

 Dimension Data’s daily ‘Analytics in Action’ blog published data highlights and insights to a subscriber base of over 11,000 fans. Total pageviews reached 38,715 in 2016. 

 Videos - ‘Day-in-Data’ (2015) and ‘Live @letour behind-the-scenes’ video series (2016) engaged fans further, and cumulatively received over 1.3 million views. 

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Brand:
Dimension Data
Region:
Global
date:
June - December 2016
Media Channel:
Online
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