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SBD Global/July 10, 2012/Events and Attractions

British Tennis Hopes Murray's Wimbledon Run Will Boost Sponsors, Participation

Newly installed All England Lawn Tennis Club CEO Richard Lewis "has enjoyed his first Wimbledon," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. Lewis said, "I think everyone agrees it has been an outstanding championships. There wasn't a day when the tennis was quiet. There was something happening every day." However, Wimbledon 2012 "was not all plain sailing" for the former Rugby football League chair. There was a "crescendo of complaints" over the use of the roof and scheduling in the middle of the second week. Lewis has inherited the Wimbledon 2020 plan "to decide where it should go over the next two decades and promises more details within months." This will "almost certainly" involve a roof over Court One, which will give "even greater certainty to broadcasters and ticketholders" but will start debates over scheduling and the extent to which the event can continue to "creditably claim to be an outdoor, daytime tournament." Lewis said, "We're considering a roof on No. 1 court. The roof is fantastic on Centre Court. It solves a whole load of problems. But it creates a whole load of other discussion points" (GUARDIAN, 7/9).

CASHING-IN: In London, Matt Scott wrote Andy Murray may have "missed out on the Wimbledon men's singles title, but British tennis will still hope to cash in on the feel-good factor generated by his run to the final." The Lawn Tennis Association, the sport's U.K. governing body, earns an estimated $38.77M per year "from its five-year title sponsorship with the financial services company Aegon." That agreement "expires at the end of next year and the LTA will now enter renewal negotiations buttressed by an unprecedented level of interest in the sport." Even if Aegon "does not choose to extend its sponsorship with the LTA, Andy Murray's fine form widens the potential interest in British tennis, bringing competitive tension to the negotiations." LTA CEO Roger Draper said that the interest "sparked by Murray's performances might provide a boost to participation in this country" (TELEGRAPH, 7/9).

A LONG TIME COMING: In a special for USA TODAY, Chris Oddo wrote, "Aided by the use of pregerminated seeds, modern grow covers and hopefully cooperation from Mother Nature, the storied lawns of Wimbledon -- in all their iconic, green glory -- will be ready to impress the world when Olympic tennis begins July 28." Wimbledon head groundskeepers Eddie Seaward and Neil Stubley have been "preparing for the Olympic challenge for years, vigorously experimenting on the practice courts, mixing seeds and techniques, comparing notes and compiling a growing list of methodologies, noting those that do and do not work." Stubley said, "What we've done over the last two years is taken pairs of courts and done different trials on them immediately after Wimbledon, when they're worn" (USA TODAY, 7/9).

GETTING CLOSURE: Early in the third set of the Wimbledon men’s singles final, it started to rain and the grounds crew quickly covered the court and the roof was closed. ESPN’s Chris Fowler said, “There have been some very scrutinized, controversial decisions throughout these championships about when, and when they don’t, use the roof.” ESPN’s John McEnroe said, “That’s a great point. ... To me personally, it would be a magnificent way to end it.” Fowler noted that there have been 13 days of play and the men’s final was the “15th stoppage” due to weather ("Wimbledon," ESPN, 7/8).
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