Game, set, match: How Wimbledon wins at content on Twitter
3 min Case Study
As the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and with the largest following for a Grand Slam competition, @Wimbledon has been wowing fans on Twitter since it joined the platform in 2008. A historical sporting institution switched on to the power of social media, Wimbledon knows how to serve its community of over 3.7 million followers on and off the court.
For Wimbledon’s head of communications, digital and content, Alexandra Willis, Twitter “is where tennis and sports fans consume live and in the moment, it is where social and brand fans go to catch up on the conversation, and it is where players, celebrities, media, and athletes share their point of view, helping make Wimbledon relevant beyond our fan base.”
Read on to discover how Wimbledon has shaped its strategy to be at the forefront of tennis on Twitter.
In 2016 the prestigious competition became Twitter's first-ever global live-streaming partner, bringing its daily broadcast of the Wimbledon Channel to the platform and making fans around the world feel like they’re sitting in center court. These live streams include everything from behind-the-scenes coverage at SW19 to player and coach interviews, fan features and, of course, in-match footage from across the tournament, to drive awareness of the continuous live match coverage via the AELTC’s broadcast partners.
“Sport is at its best when it is live, as is Wimbledon, and so we will always be extremely proud to have been the first live sport shown on Twitter,” says Willis. The evolution of video on social media has driven Wimbledon to continue evolving each year “to match what the audiences expect and what is available to them from a platform perspective, in collaboration with our broadcast partners.”
For many people in the UK, Wimbledon signals the start of summer, but it’s often not the only huge sporting event taking place. In 2019, Wimbledon overlapped with the ICC Cricket World Cup, which was also held in the UK, and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, but that didn’t stop the tournaments from engaging on Twitter with one another and cheering each other on.
The nail-biting ICC Cricket World Cup final happened at the same time as the epic Federer vs. Djokovic match that left the entire nation flipping between the two events. Ever the good sports, Wimbledon Tweeted in support, with the ICC lobbing back their own supportive messages throughout the tournament, delighting #SportsTwitter to no end. Wimbledon also showed England’s Lionesses some love during their matches, as well as hosting the team after they returned from the semi-finals. For Willis, being part of this conversation was a no-brainer; “With such a phenomenal summer of sport, we were proud to play our part in helping to join up the stories for maximum impact.”
As in past years, Wimbledon also stoked conversation around the event with Twitter emoji. #Wimbledon has triggered a number of different emoji in the past, including the iconic grass court, a strawberry for their infamous strawberries and cream and, this year, the historic trophies awarded in the Ladies’ Singles and Gentlemen’s Singles finals. Affectionately known as #TheQueue, Wimbledon’s line of fans dutifully camping and waiting for their chance to watch tennis’ most prestigious tournament was also represented in emoji form, as was the #JoinTheStory emoji.
To reach its 3.7 million-strong Twitter audience in a new way in 2019, Wimbledon and Twitter worked together on a like-to-subscribe campaign. Any fans who liked the Tweet above were automatically subscribed to daily Moments produced by Wimbledon. This solution gave fans who didn’t bag a courtside seat access to the biggest news from the day, and was ideal for fans in time zones who were unable to watch the matches live.
“We say that ‘to know Wimbledon is to love it,’ but how can you know it if you have never been?” says Willis. The activation attracted subscribers from around the world and Moments covered everything from match points and tournament facts to video clips and emotion-packed victories. For Willis and her team, the campaign was “a great reflection of how sport needs to make sure fans have the ability to personalize their experiences, so that they don’t miss a moment.”
Summer may be almost over, but for the team at Wimbledon, the countdown is already on to next year’s tournament. How will it serve its millions of fans on Twitter in 2020? Watch this space.
Image credit: AELTC/Thomas Lovelock