Unparalleled data and insights from NTT DATA at the BMW International Open
We're here at the BMW International Open in Munich. The course is set, the players are ready, and for the first time the NTT DATA Wall is here with every shot hole and player covered. Welcome to the NTT DATA experience and welcome to golf club ivy league. Here is your host Hello and welcome. I'm Mandy Clark and we are here in Munich at the BMW International Open. With me is Jörn Plinke, BMW's Head of Golfsport, and Paula O'Connell, NTT DATA's Head of Sponsorship. Today we'll be talking about partnerships, the passion for sport, and how technology is changing the sporting experience. But sports wouldn't be sports without the fans and Jörn, I notice there's a big sign that says welcome back...
Oh yeah, finally welcome back! I mean the last time we could run a full event was in Iceland in 2019, so that's nearly three years ago, and after two tough years - one cancellation of the event, one year with restricted numbers of spectators, we really look forward to having everyone back! All the fans in Germany, Austria, Switzerland to come over here and we can't wait to to to have them back with the atmosphere and get this week started. And Paula, I know you're a big golf fan and you love live sporting events. What does it mean to be able to be back on the course? Oh it's amazing man, dear it really is. I mean there's nothing quite like a live sporting event,
you just you just can't beat it and I think as Jörn rightly says, you know we've we've been on quite a long journey together. As you say, nearly three years and to actually physically finally now be in Munich, see our Data Wall and our Brand Lounge, it just it brings it all to life. It really is amazing. What do you think, or how do you think, the fans changed the atmosphere on the course yeah? I think everyone realized over the last couple of years how sporting events look like and feel like without fans and the emotions. Even the reactions by the players are getting just more emotional and, yeah, the atmosphere and the experience is just a different one. This is the reason why we all love sport because there are so many emotions and fans are absolutely part of that.
Every player I talked to earlier this week here can't wait to to play in front of these crowds again. It's just something different, a different product we have here. What's interesting, you mentioned the players. I wonder if it does matter to them, because do they get that energy from the fans? I think so. I mean these are all professionals so they are used to playing in front of crowds, in front of tv cameras, and so on. So they're probably not so
nervous at all but at least the fans gives them the final push and the final focus, and obviously celebrating with fans, the applause, the reaction and the feedback is just something different and just much more enjoyable for for everyone. It definitely is a shared experience and I know for the experience of the fans they not only get to see the their favourite players and experience the course, but there's also some goodies that BMW has on display. Yeah, absolutely. I mean the main reason why we are doing this to give our fans, our customers, a proper experience with our newest products. We have some great products that recently came out to the market, especially our new Seven Series - the first fully electric 703 ever produced as our flagship car. But also other fully electric cars like the iX, like the i4.
It's just a perfect stage to to show these products to our customers, but also to our partners and give them a great experience in our tournament village. Amazing. Numbers-wise, what are you expecting over the whole tournament? Yeah, I mean today is a pro-am day. We had a smart start, but just laughed about the numbers
we already had today. I heard about 5,000 people at the pro am day. Over the next four days we expect additional 50 to 60 thousand. Overall, we we hope to get back to the numbers we had before the pandemic; to 60 to 65,000. And the ticket prices went pretty well. I only heard from the team that the ticketing hotline is running really hot over the last couple of days. We can't wait for for for the tournament to be started and clearly the fans can't wait either, but as you pointed out last year it was very much a different story. But you did a lovely video
showcasing how last year's event was and it's so nice, so let's let's have a look... Hi Ralph, how are you? Good to meet you. Hi Jörn, thank you I'm doing good. What about you? Yeah very good. Welcome here to Golfclub München Eichenried and let's go for a ride.
Oh wow, cool. Yeah let's do it! I've been electrified too, for around two months ago and I like it. There's a lot happening in the automotive industry and the technology goes further, but let's not only talk about BMW tell me a bit more about you. Yes, I'm in charge for the business together with BMW on behalf of NTT DATA Group. We have a Japanese history, so NTT DATA headquarters Tokyo means trust, commitment, and the long term relationship is very much important for us.
Absolutely, yeah. We're arriving here on the 18th fairway, where we meet a historical place. Yeah, great players we have had here like Ryder Cup captains and one of them made an albatross here. Wow, 28th of June 2009. Great memories for all the spectators here looking at the players and then from here having a hole. It is so amazing. Let's see what this year's tournament is bringing for news stories around that, but I'm pretty sure with NTT DATA as a data partner, we can capture more about great shots and and great moments.
Our teams were working together for a long time to develop that experience on BMW-Golfsport.com. I think we are providing a real data experience on the European tour. Yeah, so we have also a long history around golf. We have been involved in the British Open since 2013 and we want to use our knowledge in sports especially for fan engagement and I think the consumption of sports in general has developed further over the years.
With our data center, powered by NTT DATA, we have a great opportunity to give all our fans not only the live feed and every single second that is produced from the tournament live and free on BMW-golfsport.com. We we also offer a second screen experience with some cool data and real life statistics and I can't wait to see that online too. Yeah, me too. We now arrived here at hole number 17, also a very traditional hole. Yes the hole in one hole. The hole in one hole.
You had a great tee shot here. Yeah, it's not a hole in one. Let's see if I can make a birdie so let's give him a try. Oh! Great birdie, but no hole in one, Ralph. Yeah, thank you. So I think we'll leave this hole one to the players. Absolutely, let's leave it to the players.
See you there. See you, yeah, thank you. Well maybe we'll see some of those players manage a hole-in-one on the course. You know what I always find exciting is watching players and how they tackle different holes and I know for the first time this year the NTT Data Wall will be here at the BMW International Open. What and experience will it bring to the fans. Yeah that's absolutely right randy and I think just to say that we are so proud to have the NTT Data Wall finally here in Munich. It's fantastic to be located here in the heart of the spectator village, right behind us, and it displays all the action as it unfolds in real time on the screen so all the fans can sit there and have a beer and we do all the hard work. We analyze the data so they just get to to see all those key moments
brought to life and enjoy the experience. But it's more than just a big screen isn't it. Yeah absolutely, when we created that there's a lot of considerations for design, challenging because you've got to think about it being easy to read whether it's 10 meters or 100 meters away and that it's easy to digest all of that data in in all weather conditions, whether the the sun is shining or there's torrential rain, which I think we might see a mixture of over the the next four days. You know that it's easy to read and so there's a lot of considerations to think about for sure. Jörn, what do you think this is going to bring to the fans? I mean this was always a starting point of our conversation, and this is now three years ago, and when NTT DATA came to us and we started the conversation about the partnership we were, from the very beginning, excited about bringing that experience NTT DATA runs at The Open Championship for many years to a tournament like this - The first DP World Tour event where we have that kind of technology. Obviously a huge story for us as a tournament, for us as a brand, and to tell that story together with NTT DATA it's just very exciting. And for the fans.
I mean the fans obviously just don't know what they have to expect. I'm very interested in seeing them sitting in front of that wall and realizing this tournament is delivering something completely new and they have never seen before. They get even more information around the play, around their favorite players, and I can't wait to see them sitting in front of the wall. Absolutely, and if they're not right in front of the wall there's still a digital experience to be had. Yeah absolutely, and I think you know it's important to understand that golf is a very challenging sport and to, you know, to think about whether you're on a course or at home that, if we take the course here for example, but it it spread across six and a half thousand yards - 350 acres - so you can't possibly know what's happening across the 18 holes. Even 156 players starting the tournament and that's the beauty of of our technology and, you know, it brings all those key moments to life. The fantastic thing about our online
data experience that we brought to together last year is that you have the ability to personalize that experience, so whatever the the players that you're most interested in you get to to see all the interesting information come to life on on those players. I wonder how important is technology for the BMW International Open. I mean it's especially due to the pandemic and all the digital topics and that developed further and how to consume sport, especially golf, where you don't have a fast sport. Where you have see short shot and entertainment, you always have a gap in between, and to to deliver something in addition to that. Obviously the technology part plays a huge role and having that digital experience to for the fans at home, but also for the fans on site, because while they are waiting for some groups to come, what to do? Take out the smartphone and enjoy the live ticker enjoy the additional statistics we deliver there. So technology plays an important role for consuming sport and making it even more entertaining for for the fans and therefore we really appreciate to have a partner like NTT DATA to bring us that experience.
Yeah, I mean absolutely. I think you know it plays such an important role and for us it it is all about engaging the fans and providing them with all the information they need to fully understand and participate. Whether you're a seasoned golf fan or you're completely new here for the first time at the golf course, that you then become interested and you continue continuously watch golf, whether it's at the course or online in our data experience and you continue coming back. Obviously for us it's a it's a good story as a brand because we have high technology cars and there so much stuff happened over the last years in the development of that cars, and showcasing this also on one of our most important experiential formats the BMW International Open and I find that joint story, that authentic story, to tell it just makes sense. I think it's a win-win situation for NTT DATA and BMW but of course for the fans. Yeah definitely, and you know the great thing about it is it's something that you know we had to develop together in partnership in real-time last year and challenging times, so you know when you think of something like Covid, it was incredibly challenging and it was challenging as we evolved our partnership, but it certainly brought about a great opportunity for us and now we we bring back the the live events which is great to see. But, you know, we still have a
mixture of both the live and the online experience which is great, a nice hybrid experience. Yeah absolutely, but I understand, of course, golf is not only the sport that NTT DATA is involved with across the globe. You have partnerships with lots of different sports. I find it absolutely fascinating. Let's take a look
Sports are fast and furious, precise and hard hitting. Sports can be a slog or elegant, but sport is always about the fans all across the world. NTT DATA is using technology to shape the future of sports and bring fans closer to the action What I love most, I think just that human interaction with the machine and both of them having to have a perfect day to celebrate win in the Indianapolis 500. What I love about the sport today is there's still those elements of why we were built to test technology and no place is better to test new technologies than the IndyCar and the IndyCar series, but then in the venue as well making sure our customers feel that technology experience as well You can't see the whole track so you don't know what's happening if you're sitting in turn one, what's happening in turn three, that's been really exciting to be able to have a partner that has the knowledge that has the experience that has the desire and the passion to know just as much about our sport as we do. Bringing all of that together makes that experience better for our customer. The customer really feels engaged and they walk away feeling like they got insider information that at the end of the day makes the experience so much better and I got a better chance of getting them to come back and enjoy the Indy 500 again What I love in the Tour de France this is the technical challenge every day and when you are talking about the technology, when you are explaining that every day all the infrastructure, all the system is moving he's shutting down moving during the night and in the morning it's it's really complicated. It's really complex. We absolutely need to be agile to be scalable
it's always inspiring to see that we can push the buyers go further together and create new ideas. We need to connect, we need to engage with all these kind of fans with the smart stadium. We can create even more connection between people who are on the road and people who are watching the Tour de France in front of their TV or on their mobile. This is the the concept of a smart stadium.
A lot of services have been deployed in unfit stadium for the fans and our idea is to build the same time of experience but outdoor, in the middle of nowhere. I would say give more services to the people. You need to download an application for localizing the race and thanks to NTT DATA you are definitely more part of the Tour than before. Close to the spirit of the truth. Of course we are just building something that doesn't exist for the moment. What I personally love about technology is definitely the social connection that technology can create that's a part of the greatness of the Tour. MLB and NTT DATA have partnered to contribute MLB's further success by accelerating the future of smart sports and by providing a new fan experience of watching sports through technological innovation that transmits the experience of watching dynamic MLB baseball to remote locations in real time.
Well NTT DATA and The Open have now had a 10-year relationship which is is great. 10 years has flown by and I'm delighted with the innovation NTT DATA has bought The Open, and really brought the championship to the forefront of sport with everything they do for us, giving the spectators and the fans as much information on the course. They can watch live tv on their app and they can track all the scores of all the players they can see the the most birdied hole, the most difficult hills, everything is better for the fans and great for the open NTT DATA, shaping the future of sports You know what I found really fascinating is that not only do NTT DATA do lots of different sport, but you use different technology in those different sports.
What I am wondering is there any new technologies coming up? Well, I can't say too much because we're launching a lot of this technology in in the coming weeks, but I think you know certainly there is very much a theme and there is the emergence of digital twin technology across many of our different sporting events. Digital twin is essentially high quality mapping of a physical thing and in this instance it's a 3D representation of a golf course. And what does that allow us to do? That is essentially gathering real-time data across every shot and ball positioning across the four days of of the event, which results in us having really really rich data insights and allows us to to make very complex comparisons and head-to-head comparisons and even future predictions. So, really excited about it and that's it.
I guess in terms of the the golfing industry and we as I say we're also introducing it into other NTT DATA and sponsorships this summer our Indie sponsorship. Recently at our Indy 500 we had a digital twin of the Indianapolis motor speedway, where the event took place and and that enabled us to to run a very safe event on site for fans, which is something that's really important as the the largest single sporting event in the world. We're also launching a digital twin technology at the Tour de France this year, which is essentially creating a digital twin of every single aspect of the route, so every single stage of the route, and we think golf courses complex with 350 acres, in that instance you're talking about over 3 000 kilometers, and so I guess it's something you could condemn as the largest sporting event or venue in in the world. That is just incredible. And is there any technology coming up that you were excited about? I mean hearing that, what NTT DATA is doing and delivering for the sport is quite impressive. Capturing data and delivering with that data is a cool fan experience. It is
just cool and to have it at our event the BMW Open event. I think the combination with us seeing ourselves as a technology brand and and tech magic is became now part of our brand DNA as well with all the stuff that is coming in the next year is just as a keyword, the autonomous driving, and then experience the car from interior and getting that entertainment infotainment and all that technology into the car and keep our core freud. Forever for all the customers. So yes there is technology in our products, but also having that showcased with together with NTT DATA in a BMW surrounding and benefit from the experience NTT DATA is delivering, it's just a perfect mix for us, you know.
What I've really noticed, there it seems to be a very close relationship between BMW and NTT DATA. How important is that to have in a technology partner? Technology, you need all the secure data, you need to develop it further and further and learn from things, and I think this is pretty much in the DNA in both of our companies. This is just exciting and I learned when we started our conversation three years ago that you are a business partner, an important business partner, for BMW for for nearly 30 years now. Yeah, yeah, it really is, yeah, and I think now with the BMW International Open partnership, we we just brought another aspect in that obviously, not our core business, but nevertheless a pretty cool showcase to deliver our expertise and especially your expertise in a different surrounding. Yeah and partnership. I think for you,
having the trust of a client and having that shared vision how essential is that to succeed, well I think it's you know vital to have that trusted partnership. I think in order to have that really successful sponsorship you have to have aligned goals and values and and that's really important. I think to already have that there cemented with our relationship, it just it makes it so much easier and I think now we have a really authentic and strong partnership, which is great, but let's be honest this is not a small event. This is a massive event. How do you guys work together? I mean this event happened this year for the 33rd time. Beside the majors, I can't remember
a tournament on the DP World Tour existing under the same name with such a tradition and in having that history and having in our DNA that we want to learn from things every year and develop it further and further and further. I think this is, yeah, something really special and differentiate us from other events as well and keeping that spirit to together with you get get new input also because you have great experience at The Open which is probably the biggest golf tournament in the world, but benefiting from this experience and and transported to to our event here in Munich, it's just a great story and I'm gonna throw something at you, Paula. The importance of passion I know that Paula has been following golf since she was little especially BMW events. Yeah, I know it it's it's amazing to know I think that I work on them and work on them so closely and was, you know, part of the team that made our sponsorship happen so there's obviously a real sense of pride for me as a kid. I used to go watch golf at Wentworth every year and
learning the team there last year to progress our partnership and now finally here on site, it's great. But I think it's also, and you ask about the partnership, it's also about the people working in that industry and having that passion for not only the game of golf but for the sports. I think this is just a cool aspect next to the delivering a tournament, delivering an experience to the fans, but having these people behind the scenes and it's just much more enjoyable. And then you see also the impact on the turnout of what we're doing together and so on. I think as well, like, you look here and it all seems seamless and it looks effortless and you know it's not until you're here and you see I think the work the great work that you and the team do is is truly remarkable. It it takes a mammoth amount of effort to put an event on of this size and and scale and lots of different teams and organizations working together, I mean as soon as this event is over we all start working with the team and looking at next year's event and you know what advances we can make in our technology, how we can help you, and the team build on that even further.
You know how can we elevate that fan experience even more... Do they feel like a vendor? Do they feel part of your team? This, I mean, we in earlier years everyone was calling sponsor. I think we are only calling that partnerships now and I think it is definitely a big team. Luckily we have other great partners as well so it's a huge family we also want to bring the partners together it should be a platform to exchange, to work together and also create new businesses.
And yeah, I would definitely call it family and NTT DATA is part of the BMW International Open family of course that's really lovely that you see it all as family. Thank you Jörn and Paula. I think that's all the time we have for now. I think it's time to join the fans and get that live golf experience. I'll see you tomorrow.