Ahead of the FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Omaha, NE, the FEI and SAP SE announced a partnership making SAP the Official Analytics Sponsor of the FEI World Cup Dressage series.
Under the new partnership, SAP will help the FEI move its fan engagement strategy forward by bringing equestrian audiences closer to the sport’s action.
The first fan engagement platform launched under the partnership is the creation of a free app, Spectator Judging. The app, developed in collaboration by SAP and software development company Black Horse One, allows audiences to get in the judges’ seats during competition and create real-time scores and rankings, which then sit side-by-side with official results on the arena scoreboards.
The timing of the partnership announcement means fans in Omaha for the World Cup Dressage Final can live score the event. The app’s capabilities allow fans to compare their scores with other fans while accessing athlete and horse statistics. Notably, the fan in Omaha who scores closest to the judges will receive a special photo opportunity with the FEI World Cup Dressage Final champion.
An underlying feature of the Spectator Judging app is its ability to educate new fans of the sport and help equestrian reach a broader audience through technology. According to the FEI’s commercial director, Ralph Straus, the sport has a global TV viewership of 100 million people, with 56-percent of its fans supporting no other sport. “Fan engagement is very critical and important to us. We want to go beyond the sport itself to engage with fans to get their feedback and educate them. This is something that is high on the FEI’s priority list,” Straus remarked.
While the app most directly reaches fans spectating at dressage’s live events, Straus notes that the educational abilities of Spectator Judging will allow the FEI to broaden its fan base. “It’s not only about engaging with a spectator at the event. It’s also about education. By having mobile applications where a fan can actively engage with the sport in the arena, you have opportunities to educate about the sport, rules and athletes performing. It’s quite an important tool in our fan experience and development, with the opportunity to grow the sport and make it bigger,” he explained.
Spectator Judging is available free for download in the iTunes app store and Google Play.