Sport on the Internet

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The Independent Online
THE WIMBLEDON official Website was popular in last year's tournament when it recorded 233 million hits, an increase of 360 per cent over the previous year. This year the traffic was ramping up even before the first serve had been delivered. Last week, those with a need to know could follow the draw for the singles with live coverage on the site in the form an audio feed courtesy of IBM with spoken commentary from the site's own Web station, Radio Wimbledon. Text listings were available shortly afterwards.

Live and interactive is the boast on several of the splash screens, which means that as the first matches get underway today there should be no problems with catching up on the scores. They will be updated, point by point, in real time thanks to the wonders of Javascript code. On-site scoreboards covering all the courts can be accessed, and for those in organisations with a permanent Internet connections there's a downloadable desktop version to keep up to date with play. Biographies and profiles are easily accessible, as are the draw details which makes it easy to see who is on course to meet up in future rounds.

The news page features traditional print journalism as well as photo galleries and interviews. Interviews will also be available in audio and video formats. On the live pages IBM's NetCam technology will be used to grab still images from broadcast cameras on various courts and transfer them to the Web. An interactive twist on the theme will be provided by SlamCam - a robotic camera that Web visitors can control to take their own pictures.

Radio Wimbledon will provide commentary, including some from Radio 5. Video highlights and special games are also promised. For those who think they can do a better job than the seedings computer, there is a fantasy Wimbledon game with prize-money.

Ticket details are available on the official site, but the Wimbledon Web pages are an alternative source. Essentially a bulletin board, there are messages about tickets wanted and tickets for sale, houses and flats to rent, plus appeals for specific information such as complete listings of all German Wimbledon finalists. Being part of a wider community Website there are also links to listings and reviews of bars, clubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas to fill in the off-court time.

If you are interested in exploring further afield Tennis Org UK's pages are worth a visit. Although they do not appear to have been updated for more than a year, they are still a useful resource. It has an online tennis game in the style of the first-generation video games that appeared in the 70s.

Site Addresses

Official Wimbledon Web Site

http://www.wimbledon.org

Wimbledon Web

http://www.idm.co.uk/wimbledon/

Tennis Org UK

http://www.tennis.org.uk/index.htm

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