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From Grassroots to Global: How OPPO brings tennis fans closer to the sport they love

Tennis has historically been a sport of innovation and ‘firsts’. This year, Wimbledon witnessed one of its many firsts with the tournament being cancelled for the first time since World War II due to COVID-19. 

This year has also shone a light on the dawn of new tennis stars on the world stage. Zhang Zhizhen became the first Chinese man to qualify for Wimbledon in the Open era, and 19- year-old Jack Draper won the first set against Novak Djokovic on Centre Court. 18-year-old Brit Emma Radacanu reached the Fourth Round, and Ons Jabeur also became the first Arab woman to reach the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. Tennis has returned with more energy and resilience that are reminiscent of the pivotal moments in sports history. 

However, despite the physical firsts of this year’s tournament, a vital driver of the sport’s global success is technology. 

Advancements in umpire decision-making, such as Hawk-Eye technology, AI technology to enhance fan updates and technology providing next-level analytics, have improved the fan experience. More than just the game, technology and tennis have seen the power of their influence extend beyond the court. Technology has also helped bridge divides and broken barriers in society, giving us the tools and ability to come together and see communities from new perspectives. 

OPPO, Wimbledon’s official smartphone sponsor, is known for being an innovator in the smartphone imaging industry with breakthroughs such as Night-Mode Shoots and the Anti Shake feature. OPPO is now examining how technology can serve a higher purpose in society, particularly for sports, with improvements in imaging and its pursuit of colour. 

Over the last 12 months, tennis tournaments, players, and fans worldwide have been hit hard by the pandemic. The energy and excitement for the game were drained and dulled. The camaraderie, emotion, and colour of the sport were lost. To celebrate the return of Wimbledon this summer, particularly after a frustrating hiatus for fans, OPPO sought to bring back the excitement and joy of tennis to fans worldwide.

OPPO promoted tennis on and off the court with several activations, including tennis interactions in global OPPO stores and exciting activations in different regions. The activations include the OPPO Find X3 Pro Wimbledon exclusive limited edition in Indonesia, an AI tennis online game and interactions in Malaysia, a summer picnic box of Wimbledon gifts in Singapore and the striking tennis-themed flagship store in Thailand.

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Most excitingly, OPPO also continued its pursuit of colour by recolourising iconic photo graphs from tennis history with the Courting the Colour campaign.

In partnership with Getty Images, OPPO identified seven pioneering moments across race, gender, and fashion from SW19. Using state-of-the-art technology, the smartphone brand and visual media powerhouse recolourised the images as if they were captured today. There has been a lot of change at Wimbledon this year. Still, OPPO celebrates those differences by bringing the moments that had a significant impact on tennis to the forefront of imagination in one billion vivid colours.

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Althea Gibson leaving Centre Court after becoming the first African American woman to
win Wimbledon in 1957
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The All England Croquet Club members outside the Wimbledon pavilion in 1870. In 1877,  
after the first tennis tournament, the club changed its name to The All England Croquet  and Lawn Tennis Club  

OPPO’s campaign represents another step for the relationship between tennis and technology. More importantly, technology has also enhanced the fan experience, collective enjoyment of the game, and influence beyond the court.

With technology and tennis working together in tandem, the sport can reach a broader fan base, enhance the sport’s appreciation amongst its existing fanbase and help to bridge divides and enable wider societal understanding worldwide.

Editors’ Picks

Acknowledging the most iconic historic firsts in tennis help to widen our lens and allow us to appreciate the pioneering moments as they happen. The Courting the Colour collection includes seven images. One of the images features the first African American athletes to win Wimbledon, Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, bringing new life to their relentless resilience in the face of the social injustices of their time.

The images of Suzanne Lenglen, Helen Jacobs and Fred Perry, famed for gracing the court in style, showcased the cultural icons and how they fought for their identity and beliefs. From changing fashion both on and off court to shifting stereotypical depictions of female athletes, this trio blazed a trail well before their time.

By restoring these images, OPPO hopes to refocus on the essence and excitement of tennis and reignite fans’ passion for the sport. As the photographs demonstrate, we can overcome difficult times by playing with heart.

These images, recoloured in partnership with Getty Images, will be exhibited at The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum as a collection. Details of the seven images and their stories can be viewed here

The images were first unveiled at an intimate workshop and panel hosted by influential broadcaster Andrew Cotter in London. The panel included the likes of tennis legend Greg Rusedski; fashion magazine publisher Caroline Issa; Commercial & Media Director of The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Mick Desmond; and OPPO UK’s Managing Director, Kevin Cho. 

These individuals unpacked themes within the collection, covering profound, pivotal moments in tennis history regarding race, gender, and fashion. The panellists remarked that as Wimbledon begins, it is important to celebrate those people and moments that changed the sport forever, unlike ever before.

The workshop also exhibited the images with a hands on experience with OPPO’s flagship product of the year – the Find X3 Pro with outstanding imaging capability and one billion colour display. A recap video of the intimate workshop and panel discussion can be viewed here

OPPO has also created behind the scenes video content to bring fans even closer to the expertise and specialism that goes into planning Wimbledon, particularly for this year, with the spectacular effort it has taken for Wimbledon to organize the tournament under COVID regulations.

OPPO has also created behind the scenes video content to bring fans even closer to the expertise and specialism that goes into planning Wimbledon, particularly for this year, with the spectacular effort it has taken for Wimbledon to organize the tournament under COVID regulations.

Ultimately, all of OPPO’s initiatives are not just trying to play the game of tennis. OPPO hopes to advance the sport to help it reach new heights of expression and fandom through technology.

This featured story is provided by OPPO.

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