Wimbledon, is there a more quintessentially British sporting event than the Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club? Two weeks of pure drama, Murray mania, strawberries and cream and celebrities singing in the rain. From the moment the BBC’s iconic theme tune kicks in, life is consumed by events in SW15. Pristine white sweaters as far as the eye can see and 14 days of top spin lobs and forehand smashes. But this year, something’s different. The 2016 tournament is set to be the most digitally advanced ever. Organisers want to move away from the traditional ‘stuffy and exclusive’ tag and engage with a whole new audience of fans through the power of social media.
As a result, they’ve agreed a 3-year deal with Snapchat to share live stories across the Championships, including the men’s and women’s finals. The whole idea is centred on wanting to engage with the younger generation and take advantage of Snapchat’s 10 million UK daily users.
That’s not to say social media hasn’t already played a major role at Wimbledon; in 2015 the Championships generated almost 3.3 million social media posts over a two-week period, with more than 500,000 of those coming on the final day of competition. Given the global reach of Snapchat, this year’s event is expected to surpass those figures, and will allow fans to watch the drama unfold on their mobile devices wherever they are in the world.
Access to video was responsible for the dramatic rise in visits to Wimbledon’s mobile app in 2015, which totalled 5.6m, an increase of 125% on the previous year. On Facebook, video content proved to be extremely popular with views up 1120% over the past 12 months, to 61.3m. And thanks to apps such as Vine and Periscope, even the players are helping to drive this new digital age. Roger Federer’s walking tour of Wimbledon was one of the social media highlights of last year’s tournament.
Perhaps the most innovative idea for this year’s Championships is an agreement with UEFA, which aims to mutually attract fans of Wimbledon and Euro 2016. Social media will be used to identify common threads and trends that relate to both tournaments, which can then be used to produce relevant articles and posts for fans to read and engage with.
The Wimbledon men’s singles final and the Euro 2016 final take place on Sunday 10th July and rather than compete against each other, UEFA and Wimbledon have joined forces in an attempt to capitalise on an increased digital audience. The dream scenario would be two players of the countries contesting the Euro 2016 final also contesting the final at Wimbledon. Although Novak Djokovic’s Serbia and Andy Murray’s Scotland have failed to qualify, Spain is through to the knock-out stages of the Euro’s but Rafa Nadal has withdrawn from Wimbledon through injury and Switzerland would have to make a little history of their own to reach the final in France, so Roger Federer may have to fly that flag on his own!
Whatever the outcome, Wimbledon is proof that the digital age is well and truly upon us and we should all be looking at ways to maximise the use of video content and social media.
Are you making the most of video sharing apps such as Snapchat and Periscope? Do you need advice on how to incorporate video content into your digital media strategy? With the right strategic advice and surprisingly minimal investment you can achieve impressive results.