Serving Social Media at Wimbledon this year

No matter what happens to Andy Murray and the great British hope, taking on defending champion Rafael Nadal – they’ll never look back on how social media is heralding in a new-ish era of ‘open’ tennis – making players and the tournament both easily accessible.

The opening serve or volley, if you will came from Andy Murray and Head. Murray, being Britain’s great hope, is being followed with huge interest as he bumps now into Rafa Nadal.

But it’s not just Andy. Wimbledon, the only remaining lawn (or grass) tennis grand slam has taken up social with aplomb. The official Facebook page does live feeds, and photos are being updated almost as they’re being clicked. There are just under 660,000 fans. The posts are interesting, and sometimes outside the box. I saw a post that linked to a evian promoted page on Wimbledon. Nice bit of code-sharing on that.

They’ve raised the roof so to speak at Wimbledon. With a £100 million roof over Centre Court, Wimbledon will not be held under the weather. And both the official tournament and players are playing it pretty big on social media, mixing tennis on the lawns, strawberries and cream with a healthy dose of facebook and twitter.

Real time online access is now the norm. And, yes, Andy Murray did kick off the Wimbledon-on-Social wave this year with that ‘intended-for-viral’ film for HEAD – the tennis brand that’s trying really hard to keep head above social water, competing with the big brands like adidas, nike, and the new rising ranker – Babolat. HEAD’s ‘Get Closer’ campaign was published on both Facebook and YouTube, aiming to get fans ‘closer’ and more interactive with Andy Murray.

The iPhone App is also a big hit, but overall it’s the Facebook and Twitter feeds and updates that are catching every one’s fancy. The iPhone App of course is not new this year. This is the third year it’s been available, but every year technology partners IBM are working on the app (yes, IBM) to make it both intuitive and useful for spectator and couch watcher alike. With video updates, lots of pics, ground maps, scores, schedules and news, it’s a handy tool for all fans of the purple and green.

Nadal, who’s up against Murray in the ‘really important and nearly the final’ semi-final is also huge on social media. The Spaniard has more than 7,361,073 likes on his Facebook page. That’s over seven million! So are many other players. Sharapova, grunt and all, with just under 5 million fans also has a pretty cool page – and some of her wall photos are rather intersting beyond the grass court. Roger Federer, who had yet another early exit this year at Wimbledon has over 8 million fans on Facebook, and 75,000 followers on his news tweet – but the tweet lines are cold, newsy and impersonal almost. Not very social.

Overall, social media is having a great year at Wimbledon. It has matured in a nice way, and increasingly sports tournaments, sponsors, players as well as fans are being able to genuinely benefit from it all.

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