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SBD Global/July 2, 2012/Events and Attractions
Late Nights Under Wimbledon's Roof Becoming New Tradition
Published July 2, 2012
RATINGS SWELL AT NIGHT: In London, Barry Flatman asked the question: "Who runs the Championships these days, the All England Club or the television moguls?" On Saturday evening, there was "a nail-biting race against time" as Andy Murray and Marcos Baghdatis pushed up against the 11pm curfew set by the London borough of Merton. However, the late-night tennis was a ratings boom. The BBC reported a peak audience of 8 million viewers with a 41.3% share of national viewing figures. A night earlier, 5.7 million tuned into the prime-time battle between Roger Federer and Julien Benneteau. And on Thursday, 5.2 million watched on BBC2 as Lukas Rosol beat Rafael Nadal. There was a three-year extension of the long-term contract with the BBC, and "most certainly that was not a charitable exercise." The same came be said for the 12-year deal with ESPN. Traditions "have to be left behind and everybody understands that when something or somebody pays considerably more for something, they want a little bit extra." Wimbledon needs to "admit the fact that the demands of television now call the tune" (SUNDAY TIMES, 7/1).