American Express is showing off some innovative technologies for tennis fans at the U.S. Open in Queens, N.Y., that might provide some inspiration for financial professionals.
The credit card giant is hosting the U.S. Open American Express Fan Experience at the U.S. Tennis Association’s Billie Jean King Fan Center, giving out wristbands with radio frequency identification chips embedded in them to cardholders. The RFID chips allow tennis fans to get personalized photos of their experiences at the Fan Center, including action pictures of them posing alongside a computer-generated holographic image of tennis player Sloane Stephens. The wristbands collect photos of their experiences at the center and send the images to a fan’s email address.
Other activities at the center include a professional swing analysis in which fans receive a one-on-one swing analysis with a USTA tennis pro. A video camera known as the Rally Cam also captures images of fans striking poses and lobbing tennis shots while creating a shareable video file that captures their activities from various angles.
Amex is also streaming live play-by-play commentary from ESPN and updates through radio earpieces that it is handing out to card members. Fans can listen to commentary from ESPN sportscasters and tennis greats John McEnroe and Chris Evert. I listened last night as they discussed matches featuring tennis champs Roger Federer and Sabrina Williams at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
There are also alternative listening options. Musician James Murphy of the now-disbanded electronic dance-punk music group LCD Soundsystem has created a combined music and data experience that fans can listen to instead via IBM cloud technology while watching the matches.
This is Amex's 21st year as a sponsor of the U.S. Open. As more and more people are using mobile devices, Amex is also providing complimentary locked phone-charging stations to tennis fans. In addition, the company hosted events last Saturday to inspire young tennis players from youth leagues across New York City’s five boroughs where they could meet tennis stars such as James Blake, Sloane Stephens, Jack Sock and Monica Puig. American Express and the USTA are also refurbishing tennis courts in all five boroughs as part of their Fresh Courts initiative to encourage youth tennis programs.
Like accounting firms that also participate in community initiatives to build goodwill in the local community and foster teamwork, Amex’s initiative could well inspire firms to use some of the latest technology to create personalized, memorable experiences for clients on a smaller scale and score a match point for their practice.