The experience of attending the Championships, Wimbledon, is altogether pretty singular. Whether it’s the old London double decker to the grounds or the taxi convivially shared with strangers; the purple petunias decorating the walkways; or the sound of a jazz quartet syncopating with the clink of fizz glasses, Wimbledon is no ordinary sports event.
Another thing a regular attendee of football or cricket may notice at Wimbledon is the demographics of their fellow tennis followers. Yes, there are more fancy frocks and sharp suits than you will find three miles across the river at a Chelsea game (but only just, these days). And, yes, the accents tend to be somewhat plummier too. But what really strikes you is the gender balance of attendees. And that’s because it is a balance.
As the tennis season approaches its Wimbledon climax we at SMG Insight have spent the past couple of weeks crunching the wealth of data we hold on tennis fans and events. The full report will be published next week.
But a sneak peek reveals that the gender mix of Wimbledon followers mirrors that of the general public. Fifty-two percent of fans are female – exactly the same percentage of women in the UK population.
Our report will tell you more but it’s not common for a major sports event to match the general public gender split so closely. So why should it be the case for Wimbledon? A range of reasons could be at play.
Perhaps it is because the Grand Slams reward men and women athletes evenly, indicating a parity between players not even approached by some sports. In point of fact, only two women appear on the Forbes’ list of the 100 highest-paid athletes – and both play tennis. (Quiz question. Name them and their ranking).
Another reason could be that female tennis players get much more media time than women in other sports, making the sport more relatable to female fans.
It may also help that men play at the same time and on the same courts as women at major events – again giving a nod to equality between the men’s and women’s games.
It could even be simply because the hospitable atmosphere which Wimbledon works so hard to create for visitors of all kinds communicates itself to viewers too.
Whatever the reason for its existence, for a rightsholder the stat is pretty significant. What it means is that Wimbledon offers yet another important point of difference to other sporting events – one which can easily be leveraged in the sponsorship market.
It’s also a worthwhile stat for potential sponsors. If you have a brand you want to target at women (or even at the general population!), what better sporting event to support than the Championships?
If this discussion piques your interest, there will be plenty more data and insight like this in our full tennis report. We’re looking forward to sharing it with you.