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SBD Global/March 25, 2013/Facilities

Wimbledon Set To Unveil Plans For Roof On Court No. 1 In New Redevelopment Plan

Wimbledon is "set to give the green light" to a roof above Court No. 1 as part of "another substantial redevelopment" of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, according to Mike Dickson of the London DAILY MAIL. The club’s hierarchy "are believed to have already made the decision" to cover the 11,500-seater secondary arena as part of a ‘Wimbledon 2020’ plan that "will go further than had been anticipated." According to SW19 membership sources, the move towards a roof "is expected to be unveiled as early as next month." Unlike Centre Court, the secondary arena was designed to be ‘roof-ready’ when it was built in '97. Therefor,  the associated costs and logistical demands, while high, "will not be as severe as the huge construction completed in 2009 to cover its iconic big brother." A wider scheme "is also set to include alterations to the area behind the Royal Box, an upgrade to practice facilities and a rebuild of the indoor court complex near the main arena" (DAILY MAIL, 3/21).

In London, Chris Jones reported All England Lawn Tennis Club Chair Philip Brook said a roof on Court One is, "a desirable thing to have if it rains as it gives a second court to broadcast from and a second group of happy customers." TV deals -- a key part of generating around £30M ($45.7M) profit from Wimbledon each year -- "require guaranteed live action." Centre Court has provided this, but "creates problems with one section of the draw able to play while players scheduled on other show courts are still hit by rain interruptions." Giving No. 1 Court a retractable roof "would double the available court time and satisfy the demands" of TV execs (EVENING STANDARD, 3/22).
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