Game, set and match, how Wimbledon wins at digital

by Felicity Dudley on Thursday 6 July 2017

Wimbledon has long been a part of the British sporting (and social) calendar, and over the past 140 years, the heritage brand has seemingly managed to keep many of its traditions unaltered. Strawberries and cream, an all-white dress code and royal spectators have become an inherent part of the tournament since its very beginnings in 1887. However throughout the past decade or so, Wimbledon has been quietly modernising and become lighter on its feet as it has moved into new markets.

We want to demonstrate we can achieve this strange juxtaposition of tradition and innovation, and that we’re not an organisation that is comfortable just always being the way we’ve always been.
— Alexandra Willis, Wimbledon’s Head of Communications

Last year Wimbledon beat the competition at the BT Sports Awards to win ‘Best Use of Social Media’ and ‘Best Digital Platform’, which was no mean feat considering they were up against Adidas, Samsung and Wembley Stadium. But how does Wimbledon utilise digital platforms and social media to ace their opponents?

 

Social Media

Social media is an increasingly important weapon – and one that Wimbledon has embraced wholeheartedly. As well as highly popular Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts, it uses Pinterest for Wimbledon food.

Social media is growing exponentially and is increasingly becoming the primary voice with which we communicate with our fans.
— Alexandra Willis, Wimbledon's Head of Communication

Last year the Wimbledon app was downloaded 1.5 million times as 21m unique devices accessed Wimbledon highlights and its social media videos were viewed 106m times (up from 85m in 2015).

The tournament fully embraced digital marketing, broadcasting live clips from the final on social media platform, Snapchat. Last year Wimbledon also created a Snapchat filter which enabled you to ‘Create your own story’ encouraging users to share a short and personalised video of their Wimbledon experience to social media.

So whether it's sharing photo’s of Strawberries and Cream on Murray Mount or clips of the groundsmen rushing across the court when the rain inevitably falls, one thing is clear; Wimbledon is set to break its own social media records in 2017.

 

Virtual Reality

The competition for tickets is fierce, so what better way to satisfy a global audience than to ensure the optimum digital spectator experience.

Last year Wimbledon partner Jaguar, gave tennis fans an even more immersive perspective on the tournament, with a virtual reality tour of the All England Tennis Club narrated by British tennis star Andy Murray.

 

The 4D cinematic experience invites fans to centre court as well as featuring a flyover of the famous The All England Lawn Tennis Club.

Jaguar’s #FeelWimbledon campaign with Andy Murray supports our commitment to deliver the best possible experience for our fan base each year, whether it’s attending the tournament or engaging via digital channels.
— Mick Desmond - AELTC’s commercial director

 

Global Marketing Campaign

Historically, Wimbledon has preferred to let the tennis do the talking, but this year a major marketing push is underway, with a view to developing a stronger presence in China.


Research has suggested that although the Chinese market are interested in the tournament, they don’t fully understand what is unique about it. This year there are bespoke social media feeds in Chinese, which have 65,000 followers, and a tennis game into the popular Chinese WeChat app. 
 

In China most of our fans follow Wimbledon on their phones, and aren’t necessarily sitting down to an appointment to view. Instead they’ll snack on it. We have to create content that works for them and so do our broadcasters.
— James Ralley - AELTC, Head of Commercial and Marketing

 

Wimbledon is ambitious and the aim remains clear – to be “the best tennis tournament in the world by some distance on all measures”. Digital is the driving force towards that ambition and if their success continues, it will be “Game, Set and Match” long before the rest of the tennis world have a chance to respond.

 

Felicity Dudley - Marketing Manager