This insight into Wimbledon is part of “Fan XP” – a newsletter designed to keep you abreast of the latest innovations, strategies and more regarding fan experience across the globe. To sign up, please click here.
The Championships at Wimbledon will reflect on its glorious past, whilst embracing new-age fan zones and technologies, as preparations for public-facing initiatives are finalised ahead of the start of the 2019 edition of the tennis grand slam on July 1.
Several digital fan experience enhancements have been lined up by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC).
New public Wi-Fi will be available on the Hill at SW19, where thousands will gather to watch matches on a big screen and – for the first time – will be help to programme what they are watching with a match of their choice via a new voting mechanism through the Wimbledon mobile app.
The new myWimbledon personalised digital experience will allow fans to receive tailored and relevant information while, alongside new apps on iOS and Android devices, a progressive web app can be used by fans on site or further afield, exporting the experience worldwide.
In order to stoke excitement ahead of the tournament, the #JointheStory campaign – showing how Wimbledon has shared the front page with amazing historical moments – will be brought to life through a new audio and video mini-documentary series, with fans invited to contribute their own stories.
However, perhaps most strikingly of all, in an additional attempt to tap into the nostalgia surrounding the famous event, the AELTC will offer a ‘virtual time capsule’ based around evocative moments from the 1980 edition of the tournament over the three days immediately prior to the start of the 2019 edition.
‘Wimbledon Rematch 1980’ will take place at the Troubadour Wembley Park, giving fans the chance to explore and relive memorable moments, according to the AELTC’s Head of Communications, Content and Digital, Alexandra Willis.
“The 1966 FIFA World Cup, the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony… these are moments which still register today, even though many of us didn’t get to see them in person,” Willis tells Fan XP.
“So, imagine if you could not just re-live it via a screen, but re-live it in person, and fall in love all over again with the drama of a live sports event? We thought this concept would resonate with the millennial audiences of today who enjoy shared experiences, and so we have decided to test it with an epic year of Wimbledon.”
Wimbledon Rematch 1980 aims to appeal to all of the senses and create a vivid experience for new and established fans.
“It gives an audience the chance to see what the tournament looked like, felt like, smelt like, sounded like, all in the company of friends and family,” Willis adds.
“We know that the sports fans of tomorrow are not necessarily growing up falling in love with sport through playing or watching on TV. It is more likely that they get hooked with an incredible once-in-a-lifetime live experience that was a one-off or a special occasion.
“We also know that the sports fans of tomorrow are more likely to be fans of more things, so the appeal is with all aspects of the experience – not just the tennis, but the food, the fashion, the music, the setting and the scenes.”
In the midst of a packed summer of sport in the UK, Wimbledon Rematch 1980 will provide a perfect testing ground for a new approach to fan engagement from the AELTC.
“We recognise that we can’t welcome everyone into our grounds, and so we wanted to provide an alternative opportunity to engage with Wimbledon – and hopefully fall in love with it,” Willis explains.
“We also know that generating momentum behind the build up to Wimbledon can be a challenge in the context of a busy summer of sport so we are also looking at it as a great launchpad for The Championships itself.
“We are starting in London as that is our home, and if it is successful, we hope to take it to other parts of the world.”
Aside from the digital innovations, a number of other on-site initiatives are being introduced for this year’s Grand Slam.
The Southern Village fan area will be one of a series of significant additions, featuring a new Tennis Shop, food and drink outlets, a new Tennis Fan Experience showcasing some of the sport’s new technologies, and a sustainability activation space alongside No.2 Court and Court 12.
“It is a new type of fan area in that it includes food and drink offerings – the Village Bar and a Larder – but also entertainment offerings based on things we know are important to our spectators to add to their experience when they are not watching tennis,” Willis says.
Within the Southern Village is the Rosewater Pavilion, the first ever hospitality space open to members of the public inside the grounds.
Meanwhile the ‘Explore Wimbledon’ activity guide, supported by the Wimbledon Foundation, will steer children around the grounds before culminating at a kiosk where they can build their own models of No.1 Court and Centre Court.
Wimbledon is steeped in history – but the fan-facing initiatives ensure it is also looking to the future.