Can Wimbledon compete with the World Cup for viewers?


By Leah Donlan, Lecturer in Marketing at Manchester Business School

Wimbledon may be a fixture in our sporting calendar, but every four years it faces a stiff competitor for public attention; the World Cup. So the question arises, how can Wimbledon compete with the World Cup for the share of audience, media coverage and interest among not only the die-hard fans but also casual spectators?

England’s World Cup exit is sure to bolster interest in Wimbledon, however tennis has so many assets of its own that it doesn’t need to rely on the demise of other sports to achieve top billing on the front and back pages, social media and broadcast figures.

While the BBC will broadcast more than 150 hours of live tennis from Wimbledon, along with on-demand and comprehensive radio coverage, fans are increasingly consuming sport online. It is here, in the social domain, where much of the battle for attention will take place. But if Wimbledon wants to compete for audience and interest with the World Cup then its organisers should also think cleverly about how they communicate with the fans themselves.

A good strategy would be to use these social channels to create engaging, interesting and novel content that fans will share, bringing Wimbledon into the social spaces of those not directly following the event themselves.

Wimbledon must also celebrate its uniqueness, when the debate starts about the somewhat “stuffy” perception of the Wimbledon brand, for many embodied by its traditions such as the “prominently white” clothing rule. Rather than competing with the bright coloured spectacle of the Brazil World Cup, the organisers must concentrate on what makes Wimbledon so unique.

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Manchester Business School has a global reputation for innovative and influential teaching and research, which impacts business on a local, national and international level. We call this Original Thinking Applied.

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