While most of us know Hawk-eye as the “assistant referee” during Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the British sports innovation company’s technology has been applied in soccer, football, hockey and many other sports more recently.(1)
After Sony bought Hawk-eye in 2011 (2), the company kept extending its product offering with smart solutions allowing venue managers to fulfill the their stakeholders’ requirements and brands to interact with fans while attending big events.
Hawk-eye also added another new product to its portfolio: Hawk-Eye Tennis Coach. This coaching system combines data visualization and broadcast-quality video enabling top athletes and coaches to biomechanically analyse technique and investigate on-court performance through ball tracking data. With the help of Hawk-eye Tennis Coach, coaches and players can compare and evaluate their data and video to that of current, past and future professional opponents.(3) As such, the assistant referee now also is a coach and scout.
Figure 1: Tennis Coach screen shot
It goes without saying that transitioning from a B2B sportstech company combining hardware with a SaaS-component into a B2C data platform is a big challenge. Hawk-eye not only had to review its business model and customer base, it also had to deal with several data ownership issues.(4)
Data ownership of the data generated by Hawk-eye is not clear: is it Hawk-eye itself, local tennis federations, an individual tournament, ATP/ WTA or the player that owns these data? The answer is… it depends.
Depending on the type of tournament and the location of that tournament, either the local tennis federation or the individual tournament is the owner of the Hawk-eye data.(4) Needless to say that negotiating with these different and diverse parties is time-consuming and expensive while reaching a critical amount of data is a key success factor for Hawk-eye’s Tennis Coach. The fact Hawk-eye did not share any information on this hot topic publicly, proofs the company had to walk on eggshells.
Hence… why did Hawk-eye take the risk of launching a new product, not fully in line with their core business and in a different market? The answer: to generate value, to bring tennis to the next level.
Hawk-eye stimulated “internal value creation”. Tennis coach triggers new revenue streams, allowing Hawk-eye to continue its steep growth curve and confirm its reputation as a sports innovation company. Next to that, additional value is created for the Tennis ecosystem. Federations and tournaments have an additional source of income (data), players a new tool to further improve their performance which leads to an improved overall level of the game. This in turn, boosts fan engagement and thus… revenue for the players, tournaments, federations and ATP/WTA.
These additional revenues in the ecosystem are then used to generate more data by… installing SmartCourts, Hawk-eye’s technology also to capture data during training sessions(5). Result… even more value created. A traditional reinforcing loop enhanced with machine learning technology as soon as the tipping point was reached (6).
Or how an “assistant referee” can not only boost fan engagement but bring a whole ecosystem to the next level.
- pdf on www.hawkeyeinnovations.com