Wimbledon Championships to launch 'earned and paid media' content campaign in bid to build global audience

With the Wimbledon Championships just two weeks away, the All England Club (AELTC) is launching a global campaign in a bid to grow its audience and build the future of the Wimbledon brand.

Wimbledon Championships to launch 'earned and paid media' content campaign in bid to build global audience

The content-led campaign called In Pursuit of Greatness launches tomorrow (Friday 16 June) via digital and social media. Next week it hits UK cinemas with 60-second films showing nationwide.

There will be outdoor executions at tube and railways stations local to the event next weekend, and the BBC is expected to use the content as excitement builds for the Championships on 3 July.

All PR is is being handled by AELTC's team, led by Alexandra Willis, head of comms, digital and content.

In Pursuit of Greatness, created by McCann Erickson London, was given a soft launch during the 2016 event after InterPublic Group won a pitch to promote the championships - but will this year be extended to the US, Europe and Asia in a drive to build the Wimbledon brand beyond its traditional audience. Media is by Universal McCann with outdoor support by Space.

One 60-second global trailer called 'A year in the making' (above) and nine 30-second short films (one of these shown below) tell the story of the year-round effort and minute attention to detail – from ball girls through to groundstaff and strawberry pickers - that makes Wimbledon the world's greatest tennis event. AELTC is focusing particularly on Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat to target the younger demographic.

James Ralley, the AELTC's head of commercial and marketing, describes In Pursuit of Greatness as an "earned media" campaign because the strategy is to distribute content via the 60 broadcasters across the world (including the BBC) that hold rights to screen the iconic tournament. Ralley said the existing rights deals potentially reach 300 million people.

"Our research shows that while Wimbledon's English garden positioning works for people visiting the event and the UK audience, we need to explain the tournament's unique personality in Asia. There is an element of humility in this campaign," said Ralley.

The AELTC is particularly targeting China and Japan, where it believes there is potential to grow Wimbledon's audience and fans. The AELTC has rights deals with broadcasters including Fox Asia and NHK in Japan.


Privately, AELTC executives will admit that there is presently no problem selling tickets to Wimbledon and sponsorship is growing, but in order to future-proof the success of the Championships it needs to grow audiences in fast-growing economies such as Asia, where Wimbledon can be perceived as "just another grand slam".

"We recognise that for The Championships to progress its leadership position, we need to invest in the global understanding of Wimbledon," said Ralley.

"By investing in content, not only do we aim to enhance the global presentation of Wimbledon, we also hope to demonstrate that everything we do at The Championships is in the service of our guiding principle – continual improvement."

In Pursuit of Greatness will run until a week after the men's final (16 July). But if successful, the AELTC will look at expanding the campaign further next year, developing new products and communications channels.

Read next: PRWeek grills Dan Roan, sports editor of BBC News

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