As the oldest tennis competition in the world, Wimbledon has cultural heritage extending far beyond most sports games. Some say it’s the most snobbish event in sport, but there’s no denying Wimbledon is one of the most prestigious events of the sporting calendar. More recently, organisations have embraced the old with the new as they find different ways to expand their global audience and capture the attention of younger, screen addict audiences.
Tradition vs technology at Wimbledon
For a tournament that still insists on players adhering to codes of conduct established in the 1800s, Wimbledon is forward-thinking about providing coverage for the 21st Century.
Over the past year, the Grand Slam has seen mobile users increase considerably as more viewers choose to catch up on matches and highlights via the official app of the games.
As of 2017, organisers announced the introduction of Fred, an in-app artificial intelligence (AI) programme. Named after British tennis legend Fred Perry, this futuristic, AI version of Perry will impact the Wimbledon app by doing everything from curating game highlights to processing the reactions of tennis fans worldwide via social media.
As Wimbledon makes conscious moves to take more control over how people consume coverage of the championships through the app, it also looks to adapt augmented reality in a bid to bring practice courts alive. Raising the interest and appeal of those at the event away from the high drama of Centre Court.
Importance of sponsorship rules
In wake of taking a firmer handle on its media coverage, Wimbledon always stands out for how assiduously it manages sponsorship.
For this competition, being a sponsor is also a very different prospect from any other sporting event as Wimbledon has strict rules to prevent the use of intrusive or overt advertising of any unauthorised brands.
For example, all official partners supply services or products to The Championship and this affects how they advertise. For example, Rolex can only be seen on the clock, IBM on the scoreboard and service speed display. Then you have Slazenger on the balls and Evian and Robinson’s on the umpire’s chair where players pause for breaks. Each step is vetted, sophisticated and exists to accompany the event without ever taking attention away from it.
The delicacy and discretion here has proved advantageous as Wimbledon has maintained the same sponsors consecutively, with long-standing brand partnerships that deliver the benefits of being seen continuously by Wimbledon audience’s year-on-year. For many, Robinson’s squash is associated with tennis during the summer months – which isn’t surprising as the brands have worked together for over 80 years.
Wimbledon is the traditional prestigious tennis event, and it has managed to evolve with popular culture to retain its place at the forefront of worldwide sporting activity. It is respected and its reputation thrives. Its ability to evolve, along with its special values, maintains its place at the heart of UK people, and many others around the world. All of which are set to go unmatched from this summer’s games and beyond.