SBD/Issue 192/Events & Attractions

Wimbledon Posts Attendance Record For Each Of First Two Days

Wimbledon's Crowd Of 45,955 Tuesday
Breaks Monday's All-Time Attendance Record
Wimbledon "set new records for ticket sales on both of its first two days," according to Mattias Karen of the AP. Monday's attendance of 42,811, an "all-time record and increase of nearly 3,500 people from the previous opening-day mark" set in '01, was bettered yesterday by an attendance of 45,955. The previous all-time best had been an attendance of 42,457 for the first Wednesday of the '02 tournament, and "more than 14,000 people lined up in the ticket queue Monday -- up by about 1,600 from last year." Tournament organizers do not release figures for pre-tournament ticket requests, but they said that they "received about 20[%] more than last year." Meanwhile, Karen noted in another "sign of financial strength," the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC) "recently sold out 2,500 Centre Court seats in five-year blocks" for $45,850 (all figures U.S.) each. Buyers "have the right to one reserved seat on Centre Court for every day of the tournament between the years 2011-15." The AELTC said the five-year debentures, which sold out in May, were "significantly oversubscribed," raising a total of $98.3M. However, "not even Wimbledon is pretending to be immune to the outside financial climate." AELTC spokesperson Johnny Perkins said the organization has an "ability to ride out a recession, perhaps better than some other organizations that may have taken a more short-term view of things. ... A premier event like Wimbledon has a hold on people's emotions" (AP, 6/23). ESPN's Jay Crawford: "Apparently, Wimbledon fans did not get the memo on the global recession" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/23). Meanwhile, ESPN's Jeremy Schaap as part of a series taking a look at sports and the economy noted "even more than the U.S., Great Britain's feeling the effects of the global downturn." However, the players at Wimbledon "won't feel the consequences. Total prize money is up 6.2% from 2008" ("Outside The Lines," ESPN, 6/23).

RAISE THE ROOF: ESPN's Patrick McEnroe pointed out the new retractable roof above Centre Court during Andy Roddick's first round match against Jeremy Chardy and said, "No need for that new retractable roof, absolutely stunning weather today." McEnroe: "According to the forecast, the first hint of rain could be Saturday. The poor roof up there is going to be sitting there dormant. They spent all this money on it" ("Wimbledon," ESPN, 6/23). Venus Williams said, "We haven’t had to use it yet. It’s kind of ironic. But I’m very sure it will get some use” (USA TODAY, 6/24). CBSSPORTS.com's Art Spander wrote under the header, "Murphy's Law For Wimbledon: New Roof Keeps Rain Away." Spander: "What's Wimbledon but grass courts, strawberries and cream and rain? Except the first two days of Wimbledon 2009, the skies have been cloudless" (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/23).

WATCHFUL EYE: Online bookmaker Betfair confirmed that it has "alerted tennis authorities about unusual betting patterns" during yesterday's Jurgen Melzer-Wayne Odesnik match. Betfair said that the "flood of wagers on Jurgen Melzer" during his straight-sets first-round victory was "very visible." There is "no suggestion of wrongdoing, but the company has informed the Tennis Integrity Unity, which is expected to look into the game to determine whether the patterns were sinister or simply reflected fans' judgment" (LONDON TIMES, 6/24).

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