Wimbledon is underway in the exclusive surroundings of the All England Tennis Club but this year more than any other it is reaching out to new audiences.

The brand value of tenni’s premier Grand Slam is almost immeasurable but organisers are aware of the fact that they need to go above and beyond those who can experience the matches live in person or even on a broadcast service.

Anyone lucky enough to have been will be familiar with the fact that it is a lot smaller than the TV makes it look and the daily attendance, capped at 42,000 was actually down in the early stages of last year with crowds on the first Monday at only 36,603.

In the end there was a record over the 14 days of play but even at that, it is a finite audience. Continued free to air coverage on the BBC in the domestic market is a huge boost but tradition and changing behaviours have to be accounted for, hence Wimbledon’s move into the digital world.

The year Fortnite players will be enjoying the ‘Race to Wimbledon’ competing to set the best time across a course that spans London’s iconic landmarks from Big Ben, to the London Eye and on towards Wimbledon Village. There are giant strawberries and oversize tennis rackets and plenty of subtle touches to both protect and expand the image of the tournament.

Andy Murray has had a go and anyone who beats him will be entered into a draw to win tickets, supplied by American Express, to the Men’s Final.

“The magic of Wimbledon has reached many generations of fans in every corner of the world,” said Chris Clements, digital products lead at the AELTC.

“With changes in the way people consume content and interact with sports events, it is important that we find new ways to reach them and convey what makes Wimbledon so special. We believe this range of initiatives, including Race to Wimbledon, will help us achieve this ambition.”

WimbleWorld on Roblox, introduced last year, has also been updated with games, content, and avatars for the metaverse. It received over 10 million visits last year, making one of the most popular sports experiences on the platform. You can be pretty sure that the demographic is somewhat different to the membership at the All England Club.

“The scale of Fortnite and Roblox with more than 200 million players each, and the enjoyment these players experience through digital initiatives like Race to Wimbledon and WimbleWorld, will help Wimbledon reach new audiences in even more immersive ways than ever before,” said Usama Al-Qassab, AELTC marketing and commercial director.

There is no question that the way in which sport is consumed is changing faster than most sports can keep up with.

Partnerships like this bringing traditional sport into the gaming marketplace and making them attractive to younger fans is an important element in future proofing even the sports that have always prided themselves on their heritage and tradition but who have to stay relevant to fans and sponsors alike.