HRH The Duke of Kent and the AELTC have announced that The Championships 2021 will be The Duke’s last as President of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, with the AELTC paying tribute to His Royal Highness’s long and unwavering service to the AELTC and The Championships.
We would like to thank The Duke for his extraordinary service to the Club and The Championships during his time as our President. A lot has changed at Wimbledon in the time that The Duke has been our President, from our champions to our Grounds, and yet so much has stayed the same. Our traditions are at the core of what we do, and we thank The Duke most warmly for his dedication. Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the AELTC and The Championships
The Duke has been President of the All England Club for more than 50 years, presenting the trophy on more than 350 occasions to players ranging from Rod Laver and Ann Jones, to Roger Federer and Serena Williams.
He has also opened six new courts or facilities, including the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, opened on 20 May 1977, and the new No.1 Court in 1997. It was in 1969 that The Duke made his first appearance as President, presenting the trophies to Rod Laver and Ann Jones.
On stepping down as President of the AELTC, The Duke of Kent said: “It has been an honour to serve this remarkable institution for as long as I have.
“To have seen this tournament, and the game of tennis, grow and inspire generations over the span of five decades has been an extraordinary experience, and I am incredibly proud to have been part of it.
“I look forward now to watching as the young players of today pursue ever higher standards of excellence, and I shall continue to cheer them on as they do.”
Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the AELTC and The Championships, added: “We would like to thank The Duke for his extraordinary service to the Club and The Championships during his time as our President.
“A lot has changed at Wimbledon in the time that The Duke has been our President, from our champions to our Grounds, and yet so much has stayed the same.
“Our traditions are at the core of what we do, and we thank The Duke most warmly for his dedication.”
The Club also announced the extension of two pivotal media partnerships with the BBC and ESPN, which will continue to help to grow Wimbledon audiences around the world, and future-proof The Championships into the next decade.
The extension of the BBC partnership to 2027 will continue the oldest broadcasting partnership in sport, which celebrates its 95th anniversary in 2022, and ensures that Wimbledon will remain free to air to UK audiences across the BBC’s industry leading network of platforms across TV, iPlayer and Radio.
The extension of the ESPN partnership to 2035, which covers North and South America, including Canada and Brazil, continues the 20-plus year relationship between the AELTC and the US sports broadcaster, which became exclusive in 2012.
The extended exclusive partnership is based on a shared commitment to continue to grow audiences in the US through ESPN’s dedication to the storytelling of sport across their broad portfolio of platforms, including ESPN+, and exploring opportunities to extend into the broader Walt Disney network.
Mick Desmond, AELTC Commercial & Media Director, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to have extended these two significant partnerships.
“The BBC is as synonymous with Wimbledon as strawberries and cream, and enables us to reach all corners of the UK through their outstanding production.
“Meanwhile, ESPN has transformed the storytelling of Wimbledon throughout the Americas with their first ball to last ball commitment and their creative storytelling techniques.
“We are really looking forward to continuing to take these partnerships from strength to strength.”
Barbara Slater, Director BBC Sport, said: “Wimbledon has a special place in the hearts of the nation and with this extension we can continue our longstanding and valued partnership with the All England Club.
“Wimbledon on the BBC will continue to bring the nation must-see sporting moments free to air, captivating audiences of all ages.”
Burke Magnus, ESPN President, Programming and Original Content, said: “The sporting world recognises that Wimbledon is equated with excellence, and we are thrilled and proud to continue our close relationship with AELTC.
“Wimbledon is a tentpole event on the global sports calendar and the ESPN schedule, and we will continue to use all our resources to present the drama, tradition and stories of Wimbledon to fans in all ways possible.”
Highlights of the ESPN agreement include:
- ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will continue to present 140-plus hours of coverage over the Fortnight but will add live coverage on ABC of play on the middle weekend of the event, starting in 2022.
- ESPN+ will have live streaming of all courts throughout the Fortnight and will be the only place to get full match replays for all matches. In addition, ESPN+ will have exclusive live coverage of the qualifying rounds and access to all ancillary content produced by AELTC, such as films, classic matches, highlight shows and press conferences.
- Wimbledon coverage will be presented across all screens via ESPN/Disney platforms.
- ESPN Deportes will continue to provide coverage in Spanish in the U.S.
- ESPN’s rights around the world will include Canada via TSN and RDS, Latin America, the Caribbean and Brazil. The addition of Brazil is new with this agreement.