SBD/July 5, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Wimbledon Towels Becoming The Hot Souvenir At Tournament For Fans And Players Alike

6,000 of the 99,500 towels produced for this year's event are set aside for players
After years of “discouraging players from taking tournament towels, officials at the All England Club now mostly shrug as competitors stuff their racket bags with what has become the most coveted keepsake from the championships,” according to Tom Perrotta of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. This year marks the 25th year of the commemorative Wimbledon towel made by U.K.-based Christy. The company for this year’s tourney “produced 99,500 Wimbledon towels, of various sizes, most of which are sold to the public.” The company said that sales “have increased 46% since 2008,” and Wimbledon towels next year “will be sold in India for the first time.” Towels similar to those the players use sell for about $44. Christy sets aside 6,000 towels for players, who "are given two during each match.” Welspun U.K. CEO Robert Walker, whose company owns Christy, said that “about 60% of those 6,000 towels vanish by the end of the tournament.” The towels “have become a popular souvenir,” and tennis player Novak Djokovic reportedly “keeps a stockpile.” Roger Federer said, "I only keep about two a tournament and I give the rest away." Some players are “besieged with requests for towels from friends and family.” Christy “redesigns the towel every few years.” Christy's Lucy Ackroyd, who designed this year's towel, said, "In the past, the towels had a novelty look, like a stylized image of a racket or a net. The club thought that was looking a bit tired and wanted something more contemporary, upmarket and elegant" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/5).

ROYAL WELCOME: Today's edition of ABC’s “GMA” reported Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, watched Wimbledon yesterday from the Royal Box, with ABC’s Robin Roberts saying, “Even the players were a little bit star struck.” ABC’s Lama Hasan said, "All eyes were on William and Kate when they were here, delighting the crowd when they joined in with a Mexican Wave. Those two definitely stole the show.” Federer said, “It helps when royalty shows up and other legends of the game come and see me play. I think it’s inspiring and it’s a thrill for the game of tennis.” ESPN’s Chris Evert said having the royals attend Wimbledon “adds to the glamour and the aura” of the tournament. Evert: “This is what makes Wimbledon very, very special” (“GMA,” ABC, 7/5). Former tennis players Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf also were present in the Royal Box (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 7/5).
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