BBC Calls For More Wimbledon Night Matches And Less Grunting
The BBC, which has provided coverage of Wimbledon since '27, "wants more nighttime tennis and less grunting during matches," according to Danielle Rossingh of BLOOMBERG. Matches at this year’s Wimbledon championships finished as late as 11pm with the retractable roof over Centre Court shut as rain interrupted play almost daily in the first week. The weather boosted TV ratings for the BBC, the host broadcaster and U.K. rights holder. BBC Sport Dir Barbara Slater said, "It’s been very successful. Inevitably, when play moves into the peak evening, audiences are higher." All England Club spokesperson Johnny Perkins said "at this stage there are no plans" to add night matches to the schedule. Perkins said, "We stick to what we are; an outdoor daytime event with the capacity to play late if we need to.' He added nighttime tennis would mean "a huge rethink in operational terms," such as changes to people's shift patterns or transport. Slater welcomed plans to tackle the issue of grunting in tennis, which she said "frequently draws negative feedback from viewers." The women’s WTA tennis tour in June said that it is working with the Int'l Tennis Federation and the four majors to "drive excessive grunting" out of the sport. Slater when asked about the excessive grunting said, "It is a shame, and some of our audiences clearly don't like that" (BLOOMBERG, 9/26).