Wimbledon Chooses Tradition Over Profits


Wimbledon’s conscious decision to honor tradition at the expense of profitability is estimated to cost the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) upwards of $60 million annually. Official records indicate that Wimbledon generated $289 million in ’17 (-6.5% YoY); by comparison, Forbes estimates that the U.S. Open brought in $350 million last year (+15% YoY) - ticketing ($120 million v. $47 million) and sponsorships ($65 million v. $47 million) accounted for much of the difference. Commercial and Media Director of the AELTC Mick Desmond explained that the objective “is not to maximize revenue in the short term, but to build relationships for the long term that will future-proof The Championships and our partners for years to come.” The decision ultimately costs the players competing. The winners of last year’s U.S. Open took home $3.7 million in prize money; Wimbledon winners this year will earn just $3.08 million (after +7.5% YoY increase).

Howie Long-Short: It’s Wimbledon’s “brand” that drives the “clean court philosophy” (as opposed to Arthur Ashe Stadium which has highly visible advertising on court and nets), its decision to limit the number of sponsors and the ability to resist the urge to increase ticket prices and the size of the venue (15,000 v. 23,771). Haagen-Dazs, Rolex, Slazenger and Robinsons Barley Water are among the few associated with the 2018 tournament. It should be noted that sponsors are not permitted to advertise on AELTC grounds.

Fan Marino: Pinnacle Sports (and another unnamed bookmaker) reported a Wimbledon men’s doubles match, involving 4 Top-55 players, for suspicious betting patterns. A series of “out of the ordinary” late bets from “accounts with a history of wagering on suspicious matches” moved the odds, tipping off the bookkeeper. Fernando Verdasco (ranked 34th), David Marrero (ranked 54), Joao Sousa (ranked 45th) and Leonardo Mayer (ranked 36th) are the players who participated in the match under investigation. It’s not the first time that Wimbledon has had a potential match fixing scandal on their hands; 3 matches at last year’s tournament were flagged for potential corruption.

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