July 04, 2017

New Research Shows Wimbledon Keeps Serving Up a Winning Combo for Brands and Fans

Watched by 300 million viewers across 200 countries, and with almost half a million spectators in attendance over the two week period, yesterday saw the start of Wimbledon, the biggest tennis Championship of the year.

The All English Lawn Tennis Club are striving to infuse it with new technologies from Artificial Intelligence to Augmented Reality, and push it beyond the bounds of a two week tournament, so as it continues to evolve, we asked people across the UK about their views on this iconic sporting event.

Game, set and match

To start, we asked 562 people whether they planned to watch Wimbledon this year.

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Will you watch Wimbledon this year? 

71% of respondents said they did plan to watch Wimbledon this year, with men more likely to tune in than women (76% to 67%).

Londoners were also particularly keen to watch the action happening in their backyard at SW19, with 78% of those working in the Capital saying they would watch at least some of the tournament.

It holds less sway with the younger generation though, with just 61% of those aged 18-21 planning on viewing any of the tournament.

With the push towards using an array of advanced technologies for increasing engagement, it will be interesting to see if this approach can re-engage Gen Z.

A match made in heaven

We then asked only those who were planning on watching the tournament more about their thoughts on tennis, and their Wimbledon viewing habits.

First we wanted to know, apart from tennis, what people most closely associate with Wimbledon.

Just under half of respondents (49%) said the simple yet satisfying combination of strawberries and cream was at the forefront of their minds when thinking of Wimbledon.

Served up at the first-ever Wimbledon tournament in 1877, this winning combo has since become a symbol of British summertime, especially when it comes to Wimbledon.

7% of respondents think of hot weather and summertime. Nostalgia also plays on people’s minds when it comes to Wimbledon, with 5% of people associating it with the popular childhood show from the 70s, The Wombles.

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Watching Wimbledon

The data shows that for most of the nation, catching live coverage of Wimbledon is hard to beat, with 81% opting to watch matches live on TV.

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How will you watch Wimbledon?

9% will opt for the on-demand/recorded option, with 7% primarily watching online and a further 3% taking up the

recently announced Twitter service

, which will see the social media giant streaming games through its service.

Millennials (those aged 22-35) are particularly keen on this service, with almost 7% saying that they’ll tune into the Championship via Twitter. They are also more likely to watch online.

This is a similar profile to those working in London, where they are also more than twice as likely than the national average to watch a tennis match during the tournament on Twitter.

For Millennials working in London, the popularity of Twitter’s streaming really sky rockets, with 13% of this demographic planning to watch their tennis live stream service.

This seems like a perfect match for a heritage brand looking for new and interesting ways to connect with a younger generation, while it provides Twitter with popular, exclusive content that it can serve up to its users.

The results also show that on-demand and recorded viewing is much more popular with women than men (12% versus just 5%).

All eyes on the court

For two weeks, many of us will be fixated with what is happening on the courts, with 47% planning to watch as many games as possible.

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Will you watch…

That is, unless you’re 18-21, where just 26% of Gen Z are aiming to watch as much tennis as they can. Instead, they’re far more likely to aim for ‘just the highlights’ – 21% versus the national average of 8% – a collective response that very much plays into the stereotype of younger generations having a short attention span.

It stands in even starker contrast when compared to those over 55, where 67% will watch as much as they can.

We also see that viewership is split across gender lines, with those saying they would watch only the men’s final being 59% male; and those who will watch only the women’s final being 60% female.

Brands serving an ace

At Wimbledon, some brands are probably as well known as the players.

When it comes to winning the competition for unprompted brand recall relating to tennis, Robinsons takes the trophy, with 16% of respondents thinking of the thirst quencher, showingtheir dedicationto sponsoring the event for the past 80 years has paid off.

Slazenger, which has actually sponsored Wimbledon for even longer than Robinsons (over a century), took the third spot.  They were pipped to second by rivals Nike.

Another sporting goods manufacturer, Wilson, is featured in the Top 5 spot with a 6% share of unprompted brand recall.

Fred Perry, the clothing brand founded by thetriple Wimbledon champion after whom the company is named, takes the fourth spot.

Brands associated with Wimbledon.        % Recall
Robinsons16%
Nike12%
Slazenger11%
Fred Perry7%
Wilson6%

May the best player win

Of course, Wimbledon may enjoy some iconic brand partnerships, but it is still the players than make it such a storied and exciting fixture of the sporting calendar.

So we couldn’t help but ask the most contentious question – who’s the greatest ever player?

Rather than offer a free form answer, we instead selected 8 well-known and indisputably successful male and female players (4 of each gender). Of course, this meant we had to leave off many famous and arguably equally worthy names (though we did leave open the option to name someone not on the list).

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Who do you think is the best ever tennis player?

Taking a clear position at the top of the results is Roger Federer.

Having won a men’s record 18 Grand Slam singles titles, it’s no surprise that his legend is well secured.

Taking second spot is Serena Williams, and deservedly so, with her total of 23 Grand Slam singles titles meaning she holds the record for the most Grand Slam wins by a tennis player in the Open Era.

As you would expect, age changes things somewhat, with those aged 55 and over more than twice as likely than the national average to pick John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova as the best ever.

Clean points

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Do you think tennis has a doping problem, or that it is generally a clean sport?

Despite some of the controversies

surrounding former Wimbledon Champion and former tennis poster-girl Maria Sharapova, a large majority of the public remain confident that the sport is clean.

In Conclusion

Wimbledon 2017 is set to be another smashing success, with large swathes of the UK keen to tune in and watch as much of the action as possible.

This can only continue to benefit those brands who support the tournament year-after-year, while new partnerships – for example with Twitter – appear to have an eager audience ready to embrace new ways to watch the stars.

With its clean image, positive associations and strong appeal amongst the coveted urban millennial demographic, Wimbledon remains a wonderful opportunity for brands and fans to mix.

If you’d like to dig deeper into these results, view the original data, or run your own survey then book a free consultation with our team today.

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