Senior Director – Strategic Partnerships , New York Road Runners
Next-Generation Customer Experience
New York Road Runners (NYRR) is a non-profit organization in New York City, founded in 1958 to promote running. Today, the organization has more than 60,000 members and is best known for its signature annual event: the New York City Marathon, the world’s largest marathon with well over 50,000 entrants each year. The internationally known race, for professionals and amateurs alike, takes place every November with a route that winds through New York City’s five boroughs. NYRR also hosts hundreds of other races and events that encourage runners and wheelchair users of all ages to get involved with running and other forms of outdoor exercise.
The New York City Marathon is the largest in the world and an immense spectator opportunity with more than 20 miles of viewing opportunities along the course. But NYRR recognized that it was challenging for fans and runners to interact. How could a spectator stay up-to-date with the progress of front-runners? How could a spectator track a friend or family member in the race? How could a spectator know where and when to position themselves to cheer on a particular runner
NYRR wanted a technologically sophisticated way to provide real-time tracking of marathoners imposed on a map of the course route. They also wanted ways to connect this information with social media and other platforms to provide an enhanced and unique racing experience.
TCS Interactive developed the official TCS New York City Marathon app to promote fan engagement of the world’s largest marathon and to make race day viewing easier and more exciting. The core functionality of the app is the ability to track individual runners, in real-time on a map onscreen. Key features include:
- A virtual 5K race: An immersive way to experience running with people from around the world.
- A predictive race day Spectator Guide: Estimate when a particular tracked runner will arrive at a specific location so a user can be at the right spot at the right time (using Google Maps and public transportation directions).
- NYRR Race Predictor Powered by TCS: Each runner’s unique running history is used to predict finish times.
- Social Media / Digital Cheer Cards
- Tracking: Showed when finishers left Central Park for an easy meet-up with family and friends.
- E-commerce: Enabled users to shop online for official TCS New York City Marathon merchandise.
The TCS New York City Marathon mobile application has been a certifiable hit. On race day for the past three years, the iOS version of the app was the “#1 free app” and the #1 free sports app.” In 2018, the app was downloaded more than 442,000 times (350,970 for iOS; 91,127 for Android).
Moreover, users put the app to work:
- Total screen views on race day: ~38 million.
- Total clicks (“events”) on race day: ~11 million
- Total push notifications sent: ~3.3 million
- Cheer cards created: 150,000+
- The app has become the office e-commerce channel for the Marathon.
The app received excellent feedback from users: an average score of 3.2 from iOS users and 4.1 from Android users (on a five-point scale).
- Of the 52,000+ runners, 99% were tracked.
- Nearly 30,000 Spectator Guides were created by fans from three vantage points to plan their race-day itineraries.
- 152,000+ Cheer Cards were created (up 116% from 2017) —108,000 on race day alone — displayed on the national race broadcast and at Time Square.
- More than 28,000 unique runners were tagged on Cheer Cards.
- 90,000+ concurrent users during race peak time.
TCS New York City Marathon mobile application is built on native iOS and Android. At present, Swift 4.2 is used for iOS and Android Studio 3.4.1 for Android. The middleware (server) is built on Java and Node, while Drupal is the Content Management System. AWS is being used for cloud infrastructure.
The TCS New York City Marathon mobile application blends various technologies into one compelling app and experience. TCS’s process eliminates the risk of constant app upgrade and static content being pushed. A CMS has been provided to the organizers to manage content; any change in content is easily reflected in real-time in the app.
- BEST IN BIZ AWARDS 2016 & 2017 - Gold in Consumer App of the Year
- STEVIE AWARDS - Mobile Marketing Campaign of the Year; Brand Experience of the Year - Business-to-Business
- APPY AWARDS - Location or Place-based App; Best Event App; Entertainment & Sport
- Golden Bridge Award
- Media Excellence Awards in User Experience
About Your Organization
New York Road Runners (NYRR) is a non-profit organization in New York City, founded in 1958 to promote running. The organization has more than 60,000 members and is best known for the New York City Marathon, the world’s largest marathon with well over 50,000 entrants each year. NYRR hosts hundreds of other races and events that encourage runners and wheelers to get involved.