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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. and SALT LAKE CITY and SEATTLE, Oct. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As sports leagues around the globe work to return to live competition in the era of COVID-19, the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) announced it has teamed up with Qualtrics, an SAP company, to understand how their players felt about returning to play and what actions they needed to take to resume the season safely. By leveraging Qualtrics technology, WTA stakeholders were able to understand and subsequently act on player and staff feedback.

"In a time when the thoughts, opinions and trust of each stakeholder are paramount, SAP and Qualtrics have given the WTA a new pathway to gather critical data from our players and staff so we can optimize our Tour operations," said WTA President Micky Lawler.  "With smartphones and social media today, it's never been easier to document our feedback. The technology of Qualtrics gives us the opportunity to harness responsiveness, identify key insights, and apply them decisively."

With questionnaires distributed to players and staff during the pandemic, the WTA was able to use the feedback and data as part of its Return to Play strategy. Specifically, recent feedback from WTA athletes revealed what the season's return has meant to them, changes experienced to their sport due to COVID-19, and how they've been able to adapt. 

Findings

When asked which motivating factors prompted WTA athletes back to the court following a five-month hiatus, 68% of players stated that "love of the game" was one of their top two motives.  Other factors for consideration included "financial," "ranking," and "legacy." Since competing in a new setting with little to no fans, players also described "atmosphere," "energy," and "cheering" as the elements they missed most about not having crowds on site. 

Not only has the competitive environment changed for players during competition, but so has their approach in practice. Players also shed light on their match preparation citing "fitness" and "mental game" as the two most popular areas in which their training routine has changed since COVID-19. 

While observing new health and safety protocols off the court, players have also found themselves with extended free time in between matches. As a result, 51% of players revealed they've spent most of their down time either "learning a new skill" or "taking educational classes"— activities now seamlessly available with WTA University, an online platform powered by SAP Litmos that provides players with live and on-demand access to educational courses. 

As the tennis season continues in 2020 and beyond, experiential data gathered through SAP and Qualtrics will comprehensively support the WTA's growth and modernization across the sport. Through its longstanding global partnership which began with "Tennis Analytics for coaches" in 2015, the WTA and SAP continue to collaborate on creating innovative technology solutions during a year when virtual communication and real-time data are more valuable.

For additional information on the WTA, visit wtatennis.com, or follow @wta on social media.

To learn more about SAP and Qualtrics please visit, qualtrics.com.

Media Contact, WTA:
Jessica Culbreath, WTA, jculbreath@wtatennis.com

About the WTA: Founded by Billie Jean King in 1973 on the principle of equal opportunity for women in sports, the WTA is the global leader in women's professional sport with more than 1,650 players representing 84 nations competing for a record $180 million in prize money. In 2019, the WTA was watched by a record-breaking global audience of 700 million. The 2020 WTA Tour includes 53 events and four Grand Slams, spanning across six continents and 28 countries and regions. The season culminates with the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, offering a $14 million total prize purse and honoring the season's top singles and doubles players. Further information on the WTA can be found at www.wtatennis.com.

Media Contact, Qualtrics:
MJ Henshaw, Qualtrics, press@qualtrics.com

About Qualtrics: Qualtrics, the leader in customer experience and creator of the Experience Management (XM) category, is changing the way organizations manage and improve the four core experiences of business––customer, employee, product, and brand. Over 11,000 organizations around the world are using Qualtrics to listen, understand, and take action on experience data (X-data™)––the beliefs, emotions, and intentions that tell you why things are happening, and what to do about it. The Qualtrics XM Platform™ is a system of action that helps businesses attract customers who stay longer and buy more, engage employees who build a positive culture, develop breakthrough products people love, and build a brand people are passionate about. To learn more, please visit qualtrics.com.

Media Contact, SAP:
Bonnie Rothenstein, SAP, +1 610 661-8867, bonnie.rothenstein@SAP.com

About SAP: SAP's strategy is to help every business run as an intelligent enterprise. As a market leader in enterprise application software, we help companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world's transaction revenue touches an SAP® system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers' businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables business and public customers across 25 industries globally to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference.

 

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