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Issue 15

TheOpen.com – digitally sustaining a successful championship

Bogdan Moscaliuc
Project Manager
@Endava
PROGRAMMING

The Cluj R&A Endava team operationally hosted The Open Championship, golf"s biggest European Open, for the 3rd time in a row and contributed to another successful chapter of Open"s history.

The Open Championship® is organized by the R&A® starting with the 19th century and the sport barriers were long time exceeded - currently The Open® represents one of Scotland"s most popular icons and draws hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.

Endava Cluj proudly supports the Championship each year by developing new sections and features for 6 -7 months and exposing them during the 4 days of The Open®. One week before and during the tournament a WAR room is setup and an event team comprising developers, testers, webmasters, DB and hosting support ramps-up.

During the year the website popularity trends into normal limits with peaks during some events. During the Championship it"s a completely different experience - the system needs to scale from supporting 200-300 users a second during practice rounds, up to 80,000 concurrent users during the last day of the Championship as shown by analytics.

A tournament product is much different from any other and the difference is mostly due to the evolution and scaling. The website evolves along with the Championship, having several states: pre-tournament phase, practice rounds, Championship day 1 to day 4, post - tournament phase. Ensuring a great experience for almost 7million unique users gives Endava credit and visibility in the digital media area.

Beside TheOpen.com the users are exposed to a wide range of digital items, all for amplifying the event availability:

  • 50% of the users access the site from a mobile platform
  • iOS® and Android® Apps were placed 1st in the Top Free UK AppStore and 3rd in Top Free US AppStore
  • On-site mobile site for the venue to receive regular bulletins and updates but also Weather information
  • Live coverage and Streaming from large media broadcasters. Live Streaming via @TheOpenLive and Audio Streaming via @TheOpenRadio and Radio 5®

TheOpen.com number one attraction in 2013 was The Leaderboard, an aggregate of statistical information containing Live scoring, score cards, hole statistics but also a Live Course representation for tracking players on a mini- course map. Each player has a GPS tracker which throws data to our servers and then we can accurately show their live position. The user can then follow the favourite players.

Projects of this size include challenges and the most notable one is to assure a completely scalable architecture that can accommodate such a large number of users. Different levels of caching are used at CMS level or DB level. Thorough Load and Performance tests are done using Amazon Web Services™ prior to the event and optimizations are performed by the Endava project team and configuration engineers.

Another challenge is the requirement to geo-target the content based on different regions. Besides regular content other resources like banners and Live Streaming channels are also geo-targeted - all for offering an ultimate user experience.

The Endava team efforts include 8 hour rotations for assuring a 24/7 support for two weeks prior and during the Championship, support on content, database and 3rd party service integration.

Here are few official numbers of The Open® 2013 as shown by analytics:

  • Almost 7 mil. unique users during the Championship week
  • Peaked at 78k concurrent users per second on the final day
  • 8.3m page impressions on the busiest day - 2nd day of Championship
  • Trending #TheOpen in #1 slot in the UK and US on Twitter
  • The Open event consumed more platforms than previous years: desktop, mobile, iPhone®, iPad®, Android®, Blackberry® and an on-site mobile site, live video streaming, live audio streaming, Video on Demand
  • 4m video on demand clips initiated

The Open® 2014 roadmap already contains exciting new features on which Endava will demonstrate once again that digital media innovation has no limits.

Sponsors

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  • MetroSystems
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