Creating new revenue streams, identifying untapped audiences and better engaging fans onsite and all year-round are just some of the wins iconic Australian sporting events are chalking up thanks to human-centric digital innovation.\n\nIf there\u2019s any lesson brands should have taken from the last three years of the Covid-19 pandemic, it\u2019s that investing in digital can deliver even more engagement \u2013 online and in-person. And with increasingly immersive technologies such as virtual reality, data-driven insight using artificial intelligence and creative video delivery coming to the fore, opportunities to unite digital with human-centred design principles to win in both physical and digital realms are growing.\n\nThe power of human-centric digital experiences is particularly apparent in the work Infosys has been doing to ensure leading sporting brands create unparalleled customer experiences. Here, we explore two stellar examples in the Australian Grand Prix and Australian Open.\n\nServing up digital innovations for the Australian Open\n\nUsing digital, immersive technologies and data to ensure fan engagement is even more immersive is also a long-term imperative for Infosys and Tennis Australia around the Australian Open. And this year\u2019s event proved an unparalleled showcase of how physical and digital are coming together in innovative ways.\n\nAmong the highlights of the 2023 Australian Open were a revamped Match Centre 2.0, available on the AO website as well as mobile app for all matches throughout the tournament and providing fans with immersive insights such as Matchbeats, Stroke Summary, Rally Analysis, Courtvision and AI Commentary. A \u2018win predictor\u2019 also gave fans real-time predictions as each match progressed. Accessibility was equally in the spotlight, while an enhanced Infosys MatchBeats presented simplified game data and visualisations thanks to contrasting colour combinations that met Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 AA.\n\nA host of AI Video Insights further powered on-court strategy and media reporting while giving fans, players and coaches unprecedented insights into every game.\n\nIn addition, an enhanced Player's Portal with AI-generated videos democratised the level of insight available to players and coaches around game and competitor insights for post-match reviews and pre-game analysis. For example, Get into the Zone served up video montages of a player\u2019s former winning performances, while an opponent tendency feature allowed players to view and analyse the statistical playing tendencies of their opponents.\n\nAnd AI Shot of the Day also boasted of enhancements, enabling Tennis Australia\u2019s media team to quickly analyse and post social media ready clips from the best shots of each day.\n\n\u201cFor us, this has been a monumental and strong partnership with the Australian Open since 2019. Post each edition, our team takes a step back through an empathy led approach and assess data from all stakeholders engaging with the AO. This follows design thinking workshops to reimagine how our digital innovations can further enhance the stakeholder experience with the Happy Slam, make it more accessible, immersive and engaging. Our strength is digital whether it is AI, digital learning platforms or mixed reality and we combine it with a passion for tennis.\n\nWe\u2019ve seen over 50 million fans engage with the digital innovations built by Infosys over the years with MatchBeats alone seeing 7.2mn views this edition, witnessed over 100 million views of footage generated by our AI driven innovations, launched physical platforms such as the virtual hub to engage 10,000+ key consumers of AO during the pandemic and are now going beyond with Infosys Springboard to nurture future leaders and Engage to leverage digital for sustainable futures. Over 11,000 fans engaged with our VR experiences which has doubled from 2022, highlighting a strong appetite for digital experiences. And being conscious of the future, our entire footprint this year onwards at AO 2023 was and will continue to be carbon neutral\u201d, says Navin Rammohan, Vice President, Segment Head Marketing, Sponsorships and Events at Infosys.\n\nOnsite, Infosys itself harnessed virtual reality in its fan zone activation. This allowed attendees to experience tennis in several creatively themed metaverse worlds, from a ride into hyperspace with moon tennis and battling thousands of flying tennis balls in a spaceship, to sparring with AO superstars avatars on centre court.\n\n\u201cWorking with Infosys over the past five years has enabled us to set new benchmarks in fan engagement using digital technologies,\u201d says Tennis Australia CEO and Australian Open Tournament Director, Craig Tiley. \u201cThis partnership has enabled us to deliver new innovative digital experiences year after year for everyone associated with the tournament. We remain committed to making the Australian Open a global standard for a digitally-enabled sport that is inspiring, engaging, inclusive and sustainable.\u201d\n\nFocusing on the fans of the Australian Grand Prix\n\nAustralian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) General Manager of Marketing and Experience, Arthur Gillion, will never forget 13 March 2020. Just two days out from the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix sporting event in Victoria\u2019s Albert Park Circuit, and hours before practice sessions were to begin, the event was cancelled due to Covid-19. \n\n\u201cThe world was watching. It was a hard moment to go through,\u201d Gillion recalled during the recent Infosys Confluence event. \u201cFrom a strategic perspective, what we had planned for the following years had to change. The way we approached brand management, from diagnosis, to strategy to tactics all flipped on its head.\u201d\n\nYet even as the pandemic negatively impacted the physical race, it presented an opportunity for the AGPC to overhaul digital experience to create a more fan-fuelled approach.\n\n\u201cWe couldn\u2019t stop communicating or trying to provide some joy to the fans,\u201d Gillion said. \u201cThe emphasis had to be on the digital experience. We were very innovative in that space to stay connected.\u201d\n\nHelping AGPC was strategic technology partner, WONGDOODY, the global human experience company of Infosys. Together, the pair reassessed AGPC\u2019s digital ecosystem as a first step. Diving into data the organisation held about its fans to build insights that could be realised in added value and simplified, improved touchpoints was the overarching driving force.\n\n\u201cWhile AGPC had a lot of data, the team didn\u2019t necessarily know what it was telling them,\u201d WONGDOODY\u2019s chief experience and design officer APAC, James Noble, explains. \u201cThe key was to work out what information was relevant, versus irrelevant, then use that to understand the different audiences and what each of those fans wants.\n\n\u201cBeing able to convert that into a digital experience would make it easier for audiences to understand the Australian Grand Prix, lead them towards stronger engagement and in time, to purchase things like tickets.\u201d\n\nFocus shifted to digital content as the dominant mechanism for keeping fans connected, and to an annual timeline of engagement, rather than burst of activity surrounding the events. Owned platform articles, blog posts and a podcast series developed by AGPC took centre stage, with built-in capabilities making it easy for audiences to engage with and share content.\n\nWith the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix website the first point of touch from a brand perspective, giving fans what they want online is critical to any human-centric approach, Noble says. WONGDOODY helped AGPC understand its digital touchpoints, understood which customer segments AGPC were trying to attract, inform, educate and engage, and transformed this into a solution. The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix caters to diverse customer cohorts, from motor and F1 enthusiasts, to those who come for the spectacle, \u2018culture vultures\u2019 wanting to be seen; families on a day out; and corporate and sponsor delegates.\n\n\u201cIt\u2019s working out not only the user experience but the content strategy and experience and how that leads you through the funnel, as opposed to having people floating around with no direction,\u201d Noble continues. \u201cDo you want them to press that button? Or talk to that person? What is it you want to happen next?\u201d\n\nAs AGPC began work to bring its physical event back, digital experience took on another vital role. A major achievement was improving the ticketing pathway online for the returning five-day event.\n\n\u201cThere are lots of different permutations of tickets and it had been difficult for a consumer to understand what they\u2019re buying,\u201d Noble says. \u201cWe looked at the matrix of all the ticketing permutations and experiences you could have, put in a simpler interface and easier-to-use experience, and skipped all the doing it again to go straight to purchase. Just by that happening and knowing what ticket types were selling out, the AGPC team could make informed business decisions and understand where to adapt and create more of what\u2019s popular.\u201d\n\nThe work done as an organisation to lift digital innovation has without doubt delivered AGPC incredible growth. In 2022, almost 420,000 people came to the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, up from 324,100 in 2019, adding more than $170 million to the visitor economy. AGPC also saw a 154 per cent increase in digital traffic during event week and a 218 per cent increase in traffic in the months leading up to the event. It exceeded 2.6 million unique visitors to the site in 2022, a 200 per cent increase on 2019.\n\nImportantly, the first release of Grandstand tickets for the 2023 event sold out in under 3.5 hours, testament to the seamless purchasing process. This ticketing architecture overhaul has since triggered changes to the physical environment and decision-making driving further revenue growth.\n\nFor example, pre-pandemic, the F1 event had four private lounges. In 2022, there were eight, and this year\u2019s Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix has 14. Being in the fortunate position of having much demand and selling tickets faster enables AGPC to shift focus quickly, and use insights to innovate physical experiences.\n\n\u201cBecause the team knows so far ahead about what kinds of tickets are being sold, there\u2019s an opportunity to create another stand or another section. The forward planning is so much easier and it\u2019s adding millions to sales generated,\u201d Noble adds.