Game, set and match to Kournikova on the web

Story by Jack Foley

NOW that the final ace has been served, and Tim Henman embarks on another year-long wait for that elusive Championship trophy, the statisticians at the All England Tennis Club have been counting the hits for another reason.

Over 2.6 million unique website users logged on to the sights and sounds of Wimbledon 2002, using the official site, www.Wimbledon.org. The popular site enabled millions of fans to enjoy a 'virtual seat' at the world-famous grass courts this year, thanks to the site, which was designed, managed and hosted by IBM, the official supplier of Information Technology to the All England Lawn Tennis Club since 1990.

The average amount of time people spent on the site during the Championships was 2 hours 9 minutes, an increase of 80 per cent from last year, while the most popular player biography to be accessed was, unsurprisingly, Anna Kournikova - a real love match for fans.

Jeff Lucas, IT Director for the All England Lawn Tennis Club, said: "Every year, the Club is pleased to see the continued popularity of the official website. IBM sustains the online traffic by continuing to develop our robust and flexible IT infrastructure."

Popular features included the IBM real-time scoreboard (which provided live point-by-point scoring for visitors); as well as player biographies, weather updates, robotic cameras, and audio and video.

Highlights of the 2002 Championships were:

l The busiest time on the official Web site was on July 4 at 3:52 pm BST when 168,811 IBM Real-Time Scoreboards were simultaneously in use following the Venus Williams vs Justine Henin and Lleyton Hewitt vs Sjeng Schalken matches;

l The most popular players biographies requested were Anna Kournikova, Daniela Hantuchova, Richard Krajicek, Lleyton Hewitt, Tim Henman;

l The IBM Media Console received close to half a million launches during the event. This IBM developed application combines the live video from the Wimbledon Channel, the live audio from Radio Wimbledon, player interviews and archived video from previous Championships into a single application;

l Over 153.9 million images were served to site visitors using NetCam, a system developed by IBM to capture live video images and deliver them to the Web, and SlamCam robotic cameras located around the grounds. The SlamCam application allows visitors to move the cameras - zoom in or out - for real-time pictures at the event.

Mark McMurrugh, IBM Wimbledon project director, said: "The IBM team has again made a significant achievement, helping the Club deliver an excellent service to all its audiences - here at the Grounds, on TV and on the Internet. This is a clear demonstration of what can be achieved using IBM's e-business infrastructure and e-business on demand solutions, which have ensured that the Club's Web site could cope with the level of use by tapping into IT applications and processing power as and when needed."

Great stuff for internet junkies and a blatant excuse to run a picture of number one tennis Internet babe, Ms Kournikova.

RELATED LINKS: Click here for the official website of Anna Kournikova
Click here to get to Wimbledon.org