The All England Club, Wimbledon, today set out its continuing commitment to the future of tennis locally, nationally, and internationally, with the announcement of increased investment in players, the enhanced grass court season, the Wimbledon Master Plan, the Wimbledon Foundation, and The Championships.
The No.1 Court Project, the current focus of the Wimbledon Master Plan, is under way in the first of a complex three-year building programme to create a second retractable roof that will significantly enhance Wimbledon’s position as one of the biggest annual sporting events in the world.
The Wimbledon Foundation, the official charity of the All England Club and The Championships, has made important contributions to the local community in the AELTC’s neighbouring boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth. Almost £1million has been donated to 100 local charities and projects since the Foundation was established in 2013, with a particular focus on aiding underprivileged areas where many households continue to fall below the poverty line.
Wimbledon will remain on free-to-air television for viewers in the UK until at least 2024 following the extension of the relationship with the BBC, while 2017 marks 90 years of the All England Club’s relationship with one of the world’s most iconic broadcasting organisations.
And finally, Wimbledon continues to invest in The Championships itself: in competitive prize money; in the integrity of our sport; and in the enhanced grass court season. Notable in 2017 will be the considerable improvements to the Qualifying event at Roehampton; more than double the prize money on offer for ATP Challenger and ITF Women’s Pro Circuit tournaments; and a strengthening of the grass court season with new and expanded events at both ATP World Tour and WTA level.
Competitors at The Championships 2017 will receive £31.6m in total prize money, a 12.5% increase on £28.1m from last year. The singles champions will each receive £2.2m, a rise of 10% from £2m in 2016. Over the last six years, The Championships has more than doubled the total prize money on offer, rising from £14.6 in 2011 to £31.6m in 2017.
Philip Brook, Chairman of the AELTC and The Championships, commented: “We are proud of the important leadership role that Wimbledon plays locally, nationally, and internationally, and are committed to continuing to invest to secure the future of The Championships, and of our sport, for the years to come.”
More information on the key areas of focus, and a detailed overview of plans for The Championships, is available below:
1. INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
The No.1 Court Project & The Wimbledon Master Plan
The remodelling of No.1 Court continues to be the current focus of the Wimbledon Master Plan. Year one of the three-year building works is complete and the project remains on track to be finished in time for The Championships 2019.
More complex in both size and scale than the Centre Court project, but working to the same three-year building timeframe, the works will include a new retractable roof; wider and more comfortable spectator seating in addition to two more rows of approximately 900 seats; the creation of a new two-level public plaza in place of Court 19, which will open in 2018; and improved and expanded on-site concessions, catering areas and hospitality facilities. For 2017, the No.1 Court will retain a partial fixed roof and have a spectator capacity of 11,500, which remains unchanged from last year.
The No.1 Court Project is being led by main contractor Sir Robert McAlpine. Below are a few interesting facts about the scope of the No.1 Court Project:
• 376,000 man hours have been worked on the project to date since the start of construction.
• In the first year, 3,500 tonnes of steel has been used (the equivalent weight of 295 buses or six Airbus airplanes).
• The concrete piles (cylindrical concrete foundations) have a combined length of just over a mile, and if lined up would reach Southfields station.
• 333 truckloads of earth have been removed from the site.
• 50.1 tonnes of waste have been generated, and of that, 98.2% has been diverted from landfill for reuse.
• Once complete, the fixed roof will contain a similar amount of mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment as would be found in a London high-rise building.
• The retractable roof section of the project is akin to constructing four bridges, and then adding a further 11 bridges on top, which move along their own railway.
Following the completion of the No.1 Court Project in 2019, improvements to the site on Somerset Road will become the next part of the Wimbledon Master Plan to be addressed. Planning approval was granted by Merton Council in February 2017. Specifically, this project will deliver:
• Relocation of six clay courts on the main site to unlock the southern Grounds for future development.
• Six new indoor courts & improved indoor facilities for competitors’ use.
• Construction of an underground car park, which will be the hub of The Championships’ courtesy car operation, and the relocated competitor drop-off and accreditation area.
• The underground car park will also provide an enhanced year-round parking solution to mitigate congestion on Somerset Road.
The Wimbledon Foundation
The Wimbledon Foundation, the official charity of The All England Club and The Championships, has awarded £1,752,000 in grants and donations since it was established in 2013. With a focus on assisting the local community in the AELTC’s neighbouring boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth, the Wimbledon Foundation has contributed £907,213 to 100 local charities and community organisations over the last three years, alongside other local activity and international projects.
A copy of The Wimbledon Foundation Annual Review for 2016 is available in your pack. Visit Wimbledon.com/foundation to read more.
AELTC Community Sports Ground
Opened by Andy Murray in June 2016, the AELTC Community Sports Ground at Raynes Park features six hard courts (three indoor and three outdoor), which are available for use by the local community, with coaching offered by an All England Club-funded tennis coach. Raynes Park is also the main home of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative, involving 400 local children, and the training location for the Ball Boys and Ball Girls.
WJTI and The Road to Wimbledon
The Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative, the AELTC’s junior coaching programme in Merton and Wandsworth, continues to deliver weekly visits to schools and host coaching sessions at the AELTC. Since 2001, the WJTI has introduced more than 190,000 local children to tennis.
The Road to Wimbledon, the AELTC’s grass roots event for 14 and under, expanded further internationally in 2017, with the first tournament in Hong Kong, alongside four events in India and two in China. The finalists of the Road to Wimbledon International events are invited to compete alongside the UK finalists in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon Finals, taking place at the AELTC in August.
Visit roadtowimbledon.com to find out more.
2. THE CHAMPIONSHIPS 2017
Competitors at The Championships 2017 will receive £31.6m in total prize money, a 12.5% increase on £28.1m from last year. The Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Singles Champions will each receive £2.2m, a 10% increase from £2.0m in 2016. Over the last six years, The Championships has more than doubled the total prize money on offer, rising from £14.6 in 2011 to £31.6m in 2017. Over the same period, the singles champions’ prize money has increased from £1.1m to £2.2m, while first round prize money has more than trebled from £11,500 to £35,000.
Other notable prize money developments include a 14.7% increase in the total contribution for Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Doubles; a 33.3% increase in Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Wheelchair Singles, and a continued focus on enhancing the prize money offering for the Qualifying event and early rounds of The Championships, including the doubling of the Per Diem at Qualifying to equal that of the Main Draw.
With the steady growth in popularity of the Qualifying event at the Bank of England Sports Grounds in Roehampton over the years, the All England Club has remained committed to continually improving the facilities for competitors on-site. In response to increasing demand, the Qualifying event will be ticketed in 2017. A modest entry fee of £5 per ticket will be introduced with all funds raised donated to the Wimbledon Foundation. This decision allows for adequate and appropriate security measures at the venue, and other operational improvements to ease impact on local residents. Ring beams have been installed on two courts, with a further 10 to be added in 2018, which will allow for inflatable court covers in the case of inclement weather. For the first time, vision from a match court will be made available to global Broadcast partners and on Wimbledon.com to meet demand from international fans and media on-site at the AELTC.
NB: The AELTC Ticket Office will not be handling the sale of tickets for this event. Further information on the ticketing process will be announced in due course.
The Grass Court Season
The All England Club is pleased that the enhanced grass court season will be further augmented in 2017 with the re-introduction of a combined ATP World Tour/WTA event at Eastbourne; a new ATP World Tour event in Antalya, Turkey; a new combined ATP Challenger/WTA event in Nottingham; and more than double the amount of prize money - funded by the AELTC - for ATP Challenger and ITF Women’s Pro Circuit grass court events.
Chairman’s Special Guests
The Chairman’s Special Guests in 2017 mark the 50th anniversary of the Wimbledon World Lawn Tennis Professional Championships. Held in August 1967, this was the first major professional tournament staged on the lawns of the All England Club, and featured eight of the world’s leading professionals competing for prize money. Also known as the Wimbledon Pro, the tournament was a precursor to Open tennis in 1968. Invited to this year’s Championships are: Butch Buchholz, Andres Gimeno, Dennis Ralston, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Fred Stolle, Jenny Hoad (widow of Lew Hoad), and Rita Agassi (widow of Pancho Gonzales). Also invited is Virginia Wade, marking the 40th anniversary of her Ladies’ Singles triumph in 1977.
The safety and security of all visitors to The Championships is of paramount importance. Throughout the year the AELTC has been working closely with the Metropolitan Police and other relevant organisations to ensure that security measures at The Championships are comprehensive and proportionate to the threat level in the UK. This will include extensive searches of people, bags and vehicles on entry to the Grounds and Show Courts and the public are requested to help with entry procedures by checking the latest information on wimbledon.com before travelling.
The AELTC and The Championships remain committed to the promotion of integrity in tennis. Any form of gambling (defined as betting, assisting betting, or the use/supply of information for betting on Championships' tennis matches, whether such activities are inside or outside the Grounds) continues to be strictly prohibited under the terms and conditions of accreditation to The Championships. All players must complete the required Tennis Integrity Programme Protection (TIPP) obligations before being eligible to play at The Championships.
The AELTC is pleased to welcome the significantly enhanced Tennis Anti-Doping Programme, as announced by the ITF last week, which will provide increased measures for the promotion of integrity and protection of the sport through increased testing and longer storage of samples. As a result, the AELTC will not be investing in additional anti-doping measures for The Championships 2017.
Courts, Capacity, Times
The Championships 2017 will be played on 18 courts: Centre, No.1, No.2, No.3, 4-18. Court 19 has been removed to create a new public plaza, which will open in 2018. The Grounds capacity is 39,000 at any one time. Start times remain unchanged: 11.30am on outside courts, 1.00pm on Centre Court and No.1 Court, apart from the Ladies’ Singles and Gentlemen’s Singles finals on Centre Court at 2.00pm.
Commercial & Media
BBC Extension and Wimbledon Broadcast Services
In a year that marks the 80th anniversary of the BBC’s television coverage of Wimbledon and 90th anniversary for radio, the AELTC have agreed an extension of the current UK broadcast contract for The Championships, giving the BBC rights up to 2024 (inclusive). As part of that agreement, from 2018 the AELTC will take on responsibility for the host coverage of The Championships and together with other broadcast deliverables will see the formation of ‘Wimbledon Broadcast Services’.
Among the enhancements for the media in 2017 are:
• Media.wimbledon.com: new website for the media, providing access to transcripts, video, photography, video archive and various forms, policies and key pieces of information.
• Photography pits: improved facilities for photographers and broadcast teams on Centre Court.
• Centre Court lighting: new LED lighting installed to improve broadcast and photography on Centre Court when the roof is closed.
• Broadcast: live coverage of one court from the Qualifying event at Roehampton as well as an expansion to the number of live court feeds distributed globally during The Championships.
Digital, Social & Content
Among the enhancements in the digital, social and content space in 2017 are:
• In Pursuit of Greatness: the second year of Wimbledon’s consumer-facing campaign will feature a launch trail and a series of content films, which seek to bring to life the essence of what makes The Championships so unique. To watch the films, please visit wimbledon.com/inpursuitofgreatness.
• Digital platforms: Wimbledon.com, available across all desktop, mobile and tablet devices, will feature new statistics offerings with the aim of broadening the understanding of tennis through insight, a video-first content approach, and an expansion of the Wimbledon Archive, re-built to include key statistics from the Wimbledon Compendium.
• The Wimbledon Apps, available for iOS, Android, and Apple TV, have been further expanded, with improvements to the visitor experience, Plan Your Visit and Create Your Story, alongside additional personalisation opportunities.
• Social media will continue to display a breadth of live, on demand and mixed reality content, across all major platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, Weibo, Wechat, Line and Giphy.
• The Wimbledon Channel & Wimbledon Radio Channel: a new approach to Wimbledon’s owned digital channels (formerly known as Live @ Wimbledon), bringing to life a unique production of The Championships from around the Grounds.
The AELTC is proud to feature a new collection for 2017 which has been designed and sourced entirely in-house for the first time, alongside ongoing relationships with key licensee partners Ralph Lauren, Slazenger, Babolat, and Christy. The collection will be launching online in the lead up to The Championships at wimbledon.com/shop.
The poster for 2017 will celebrate the anniversary of the relationship between the BBC and Wimbledon. The poster will be launched at wimbledon.com/poster nearer to The Championships.
The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum is proud to feature “On Air: Wimbledon and the BBC 1927-2017”, a new exhibition in collaboration with the BBC, which celebrates the history of broadcasting at The Championships.
Launched by Sir David Attenborough to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the relationship between the BBC and The Championships, the exhibition brings to life broadcast innovation at Wimbledon over the years. 2017 not only marks 90 years since the first radio broadcast from Wimbledon, but also 80 years since the first TV broadcast, and 50 years since the first colour TV broadcast of The Championships.
Visit wimbledon.com/museum to find out more.
3. KEY DATES
• The Queue starts from 8.00am on Sunday 2 July.
• Tennis Sub-Committee meeting to decide wild cards on Tuesday 20 June.
• Qualifying event staged Monday 26 – Thursday 29 June, Bank of England Sports Club.
• Seeds announced: Wednesday 28 June.
• Official Draw: Friday 30 June, 10.00am, Main Interview Room.
• Player Media Availabilities: Saturday 1 July (players and times TBC).
• Defending Champions Media Availabilities: Sunday 2 July (times TBC).
• The Championships 2017: Monday 3 – Sunday 16 July. The start date of Monday 3 July is the latest commencement of The Championships since Monday 8 July 1895.