Speaking to the World from SW19

May 30, 2016

With just under half a million visitors last year, Wimbledon is one of the premiere events in the UK, and world, sporting calendar.

But the audience goes far beyond the gates of SW19, with millions of social media users from every corner of the globe; this UK-based event is global in its appeal.

In charge of talking to the millions of people who can’t be there, and overseeing the tone and voice of Wimbledon, is Alex Willis, Head of Digital, Communications and Content.

“I think people want to get a sense of what the atmosphere is like – I think there are some things we can do to bring tennis to life what it looks like, what it smells like.

“What’s it like to get a serve from Andy Murray? And there are things like VR that we can use to achieve that.

“I think we’ve got an understanding of what Wimbledon stands for – that we are unmistakably British, that we’re not afraid to poke fun at ourselves but we are very respectful, we have a certain way of doing things; a Wimbledon way of doing things and we’re very proud of that.”

It’s a difficult task to mix the tradition of Wimbledon with making it appeal to a younger audience, who will be the next generation of Wimbledon fans; the social media generation.

How do you manage an event steeped in tradition on a platform that is the epitome of the modern world?


“One of the things people think of when they think about Wimbledon is tradition. What they don’t realise is that Wimbledon is a blend of tradition and innovation. “

“You look at the centre court roof, it’s an extraordinary piece of innovation that hadn’t really been achieved before, so digital just allows us to showcase that in a different way, and being able to think of different platforms is a way of showcasing that innovation.”

“I think we’ve got things that are easy to play on – Strawberries, the Hill, people bringing the ultimate Wimbledon picnic, that we ask people not to run when we open the gates, we use these little stories we can celebrate digitally and use in different ways.”

Digital media seems to be expanding on a regular basis with new platforms creating new opportunities for brands – but also new challenges.

Last year saw Wimbledon launched on Snapchat for the first time as they look to attract as wide an audience as possible

Adapting to audience demographics and keeping the brand message on different platforms is something of a juggling act but one Willis believes Wimbledon gets right.


“It’s hard to keep up but we have to look at emerging different channels and how they help us reach a different demographic and tell the Wimbledon story in a way that’s appropriate to that channel.”

“If you take Snapchat that we launched on last year, it was fascinating to see what people were snapping and sharing to the live stories, it was about the atmosphere and being on the hill and it was so much more than just tennis and I think that was great to show why Wimbledon was different and so special.”

For a tournament celebrating its 130th birthday it will be fascinating to watch how a tournament so steeped in tradition will continue to adapt and change to current trends.
If you’re interested in going to Wimbledon, Sportsworld are offering various packages to enjoy the Championships in style.