Head of Marketing
Two years ago, there was a generational change in the board of directors of TV Schwanewede. Since then, the club has initiated many digital topics - including upgrading one of its courts with Wingfield. Dennis Bokelmann, first chairman of the tennis department, talks to the DTB about what has happened since.
How did the decision to purchase Wingfield come about?
One of our club members had heard about Wingfield at the beginning of the year. He was immediately convinced, but for us as a club the crucial factor was that the German Tennis Federation and Wingfield made the on-demand LK rating possible. At that moment it was clear that we also needed a system like that at TV Schwanewede.
What was the process like from the initial consultation up to the installation?
First, there was an online demo where the system was explained in detail. After that, the purchase and installation of the system went pretty quickly. I have to say, everything that was promised was then put into practice - whether it was the fast delivery or the easy setup. So the support - especially during the self-installation - was really great. And I don’t get any money for saying that.
Now that the system has been in use for a few months, what possibilities does the smart court offer you?
As already mentioned, the LK function was actually the deciding factor for us. To be honest, we didn’t necessarily realize that we had so many other options beyond that. For example, our coaches use the “Drill” feature and match analyses; there was an extra coaches onboarding from Wingfield for that. In addition, you can compare yourself online with other players in a ranking system and have the option to watch the match again afterwards and analyze it.
It’s almost like playing in the pros...
Maybe a little bit, yes. For example, highlight videos of the matches are automatically created on the Wingfield Court, which is something you really only know from the professional tour. Match statistics are also provided in the Wingfield app. As a result, we now generate a lot of content for our own channels.
Now that the indoor season is here, how will the court be used then?
We can easily move the system indoors. You only have the Wingfield Box and the Baseline Camera. You need a power connection and internet cable on the courts, then you are completely flexible.
Financing is of course an important issue for many clubs. How did that work out for your club?
We were lucky enough to find a sponsor from within the club. But at first we thought about starting a fundraising campaign to finance the system. The money we raised through the fundraiser was then actually used for a new climbing frame. As far as I know, there are often opportunities to apply for subsidies for digitalization. That certainly makes the purchase even more interesting.
What about new earnings from the connected tennis court?
As a club, you get five euros per match through the LK matches. In the summer, we earned almost 250 euros within six weeks. We also expect to have some income in the winter. For our internal club indoor championships we have almost a hundred participants and 176 matches planned in the group stage alone - some of them will certainly be played as LK matches.
Can non-members also use your Wingfield Court?
Indoors it’s no problem at all, anyone can book the courts. Outdoors, at least one club member must be present and then guests can play for a regular guest fee in the facility, including the Wingfield Court.
Has anything changed in the external image of the club since the investment?
Yes, absolutely. Recruiting members was also one of our goals at the time. We sensed right from the start that Wingfield would be a good tool for that. When we first announced Wingfield through our channels, we immediately received the first questions about whether people could also play there. In the first six weeks, we already gained 21 members. This has never happened before in such a short period of time. So the connection is obvious.
And how was the system received by your own members? Were there also negative comments?
Well, there hasn’t really been any negative feedback at all. The court doesn’t bother anyone either. If you just want to play tennis without recording, you can do that on the Wingfield Court. The only thing you noticed was that there was a mistrust of the analyses at the beginning. The motto was: “That’s not right, what’s shown to me in the app. I’m hitting it much harder than that.” That might have brought one or two people back down to earth a bit. Once you try Wingfield, you’re definitely hooked and want to have the stats for every match and love playing on the court.
Really? Even for the older members are completely on board?
Definitely, the court is now used by both young and old - even if one or the other may have needed a little longer to interpret the first statistics and draw the right conclusions. But it always takes a little time to get used to a new system, and that was also the case when we introduced our court booking system back then. Fortunately, Wingfield makes it very easy with its intuitive app.
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