Wimbledon Urged to Commercialize

Wimbledon Host Told to Serve Up More Funds (FT)

The private members club that hosts the Wimbledon tennis tournament is coming under pressure to allow greater commercialisation of one of the world’s most prestigious sports competitions.

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club has seen the funds generated by the tournament, which starts on Monday, fall from a peak of £33m (€49.2m) in 1998 to below its 1994 levelof £28m.

The club blames higher insurance costs and lower fees from broadcasting rights. Critics say it should take a more hard-nosed approach to sponsorship as the funds raised are vital to the future of British tennis.

Roger Draper, chief executive of Sport England, the sport funding body, said: “Wimbledon should look at generating more income from promoting the Wimbledon experience to business and others on a year-round basis and better promoting the brand internationally.†Emmanuel Hembert, London-based manager at AT Kearney, the management consultancy, said the club should try “to increase its sponsorship and merchandise income to reduce its dependence on television rightsâ€.

As much as I understand tradition, I also understand economic necessity. Nowadays, to ensure long-term viability, sports franchises and institutions need to embrace commercialization. Peter Ueberroth taught the world that lesson in the 1984 Olympics, and it’s embarrassing that some organizations still have yet to learn it.

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Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. Brian J. says:

    Try this out for size:

    Virgin Airlines’ Wimbledon