In the first week of the customer discovery process the interviews took the shape of a general conversation about tennis which led to more specific questions about BTS and its appeal to sport fans. I was able to interview seven people covering a broad range in ages with all of them having a similar level of familiarity and interest in the sport. Four of the interviewees were between 20 -28 years of age with two over 40’s and one thirty year old. They all followed tennis during Grand Slam Tournaments and had a good understanding of the rules of the game . A couple of them had been to a tennis tournament in the past and followed the men’s game a bit more closely by watching the top tier ATP tournaments called the ATP World Tour Masters 1000.
All of the interviewees shown positive enthusiasm to the proposed event with the main reasons being that shorter matches give you a better chance of seeing all the top players in the world competing and a random draw creates a more exciting atmosphere as uncertainty on matchups builds the drama. A couple of them liked the idea, drawing parallels with the success of similar innovations in other sports to encourage high attendances and TV broadcasts by revamping games to fit in the modern world where time is at a premium and society craves instant gratification. Examples included Twenty20 Cricket, Table Tennis and Snooker. Conversations lead to ideas on having a play clock to speed up the matches in between points. The play clock would be on display in the arena for all fans to view.
During this week, I was able to interview 10 more people with a similar structure of the chats as in week 1. The age range was narrower than in week 1 with 60% of interviewees between 18-25 and the rest were in the bracket of 27-34; this was because it was conducted at Bond university campus in Robina on the Gold Coast of Australia. Two of the interviewees had no interest in tennis but did say that if the price was attractive then the short format and focus on fan interactivity may encourage them to attend BTS and experience tennis for the first time. The rest of the interviewees possessed a good knowledge of the game and as in week 1 only took notice of the sport during the major events i.e. the grand slams especially Wimbeldon .
The response to BTS was favourable from the majority of those interviewed with the opportunity to watch more top players and the random draw being highly prominent in the reasons for positive impressions of the event. Another factor which materialised was to place emphasis on off-court activities to help encourage more families and kids to attend. Examples could focus on have opportunities to try tennis around the grounds of tournament. Another suggestion to increase crowd atmosphere and support was to have players wear football style jerseys as this could help generate more fan affinity with players.
During the week the website was finalised and published for public viewing with the creation of a Facebook page for the event. This would lead the customer discovery over the next two weeks.
Weeks 3 & 4Edit
Unfortunately no more interviews were conducted due to other work and personal commitments of the team. However the amount of positive feedback from the interviews has generated useful results which can be found in more detail in next steps section. So for these two weeks the basis of customer discovery was analysing website use and social media interaction on Facebook. From comments given to me by local viewers of the website the idea has garnered mostly positive responses because certain aspects of the tournament appealed to general sport spectators. These were the innovative elements such as a random draw which creates extra spice to tournament and likelihood of seeing all top players compete.
The survey on the website was produced to gather more information on what attracts people to attend sporting events, the key selling attributes of the event and the innovations the public would like to see at the event. The survey was completed by thirty people mostly between the ages of 19-35 with a couple of respondents in their fifties. Only five of the respondents were tennis players and only seven had recently being to a tennis event in the last three years. Tennis is often a sport that’s grows in popularity and interest during the Grand Slam Tournaments which are the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbeldon and the US Open. For example in the UK during Wimbledon everyone becomes hooked into tennis for two weeks watching games after they finish work. The survey results support this where the majority were only interested in the sport when these major tournaments are in play. The aim is get these people attending BTS because they are familiar with the sport and enjoying watching the big tournaments even if just on television.
The survey showed that the key reasons behind people attending sport events live inside stadiums and arenas were the type of sport played and who is participating. Other secondary factors were the live atmosphere generated and ease of access to the event location. This shows that there has to be interest in the sport and elite player involvement is an important element to gain a peak crowd audience. Therefore an important step to progress the event is getting the backing of the sport’s governing bodies and gaining player support. The key selling attributes of the event, based on the survey, are the random draws, one set match format and the fact players will play multiple matches each day in order to progress through the tournament. Innovations that fans would most like to see at the event are players & official being miked during matches and a play clock to speed up the games in-between points. The latter innovation has become important as recent issues surrounding the length of time players take in-between points which inhibits the flow of the game. This has generated complaints’ from fans and commentators in the sport. Respondents raise cautions on incorporating too many innovations as many disrupt nature of tennis with the event becoming less of watchable spectacle.