Tour de France Becomes Virtual, 3D and Gamified

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Razvan

Tour de France 2020, the three-week race that takes place from 29 Aug. to 20 Sept. 2020, is not giving up. While lockdowns and travel measures restrict global fans from seeing their favorite sport, the organizers see it as another hill to overcome. And it is using new technological innovation to bring the sport to the fans at their homes.

The company tasked to do this is NTT Ltd. As the official technology partner to A.S.O., it will deploy technologies that will allow global fans to follow the race from their homes and become part of what it calls a ‘global stadium’ experience. And NTT, whose employees are also facing travel restrictions, will operate from five continents to support during the event.

A.S.O. believes that the new technological innovation will help the sports in other ways. “We can use technology to ensure the fan experience is richer than ever. These changes are good for the world. For example, if we can use the Tour de France as a platform to accelerate cycling in cities, we can improve people’s health and lessen our impact on the environment,” said Yann Le Moenner, chief executive at A.S.O.

To create a digital ‘global stadium’ for fans, NTT will:

  • Launch a new The Tour de France Race Center: The live-tracking platform of the Tour de France has been completely re-developed for 2020 to use cloud platform services. A second screen will display critical race data, live rider telemetry, and other insights, including race predictions and race commentary.
  • Launch a new augmented reality (AR) app: The app will allow fans to see the race in 3D using a helicopter while interacting with live race data and the amazing landscapes of the Tour de France. This is only available for selected users.
  • Stream new data for live television broadcast: NTT Ltd. and A.S.O will feed new data insights and visualizations as part of the live television broadcast.
  • Stream new data to the @letourdata social channel: New data at the @letourdata channel will allow fans to keep up to date with what is going on with the race from anywhere.
  • Launch the official ‘Tour de France Fantasy’ game: With the gamification of the race, fans can enhance the excitement using predictions from machine learning provided by #NTTPredictor at every stage.

NTT’s managed services will safeguard the race operations. Managed collaboration services will bring together the support teams from different continents, while the secure-by-design approach will offer real-time threat management, ensuring security.

NTT sees the innovation changing how sporting events will be staged in the coming years. “The approach we are taking at the Tour de France this year will revolutionize how sporting events are delivered in the future. We are using technology to take the fan experience to the next level. The new challenges we’ve addressed in preparing for this year’s race are inspiring our team to develop many more fantastic ideas to attract a new generation of digitally savvy fans,” said Ruth Rowan, chief marketing officer at NTT Ltd.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Razvan