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The All England Club, Wimbledon, today unveiled plans for two substantial streams of investment in The Championships.
Largest purse in professional tennis
In the first of these, the Club announced its intention to reward the players at The Championships 2013 with the largest single increase and largest total prize money in the history of professional tennis. Players at Wimbledon 2013 will receive a total of £22.6m, an increase of £6.5m, or 40%, over 2012.
At the heart of the increase is a wish by the Club to continue to build on last year‟s focus of targeting the increases to the side of the draw which it was felt needed it most – those players who lose in the early rounds or in qualifying.
For the vast majority (88%) of singles players who lose in the first three rounds of The Championships, there is a step change rise of over 60% in the prize money each will receive this year, thereby increasing the prize money for these players by around 90% over a two-year period.
Similarly, there is a 41% increase in prize money for qualifying bringing the two-year increase for this group to 71%.
At the same time, the Club also appreciates the contribution of the other singles players - the last 16 - whose box office appeal plays such an important part in the success of The Championships. For this group of players there is an average increase this year of 40% with the Gentlemen's and Ladies' Singles champions each receiving £1.6m, a £450,000 (39%) increase from £1.15m.
In the second stream of investment, the Club confirmed its intention to build a retractable roof over No.1 Court, as part of a series of proposals for the future of The Championships under its new Wimbledon Master Plan.
The No.1 Court work is expected to be completed in time for The Championships 2019. Once complete, Wimbledon will have the ability to maintain covered play on its two main show courts for over 26,500 spectators (see the Wimbledon Master Plan or www.wimbledon.com/masterplan for more details).
Philip Brook, Chairman of the All England Club and The Championships, said “I would like to thank all those whose contribution to Wimbledon's success both on and off court has today enabled us to announce these significant levels of investment in The Championships. For the players, it is a deep appreciation of the demanding nature of professional tennis and the top-quality entertainment they bring, while for The Championships it is about giving all our visitors the finest stage on which to enjoy Wimbledon.”
In addition to prize money and the Wimbledon Master Plan, the Club also highlighted other important developments for The Championships.
In July 2012, the Club announced that from 2015 the dates of Wimbledon will move back by one week (29 June-12 July 2015) to create a three-week gap between the French Open and Wimbledon.
The substantial advantage of the move is that it will give the players more time to rest and recover from Roland Garros, and then to prepare for The Championships. It will also allow the establishment of a longer grass court season and the Club, which has been working with the ATP and WTA on a re-structured calendar, was pleased to welcome the ATP‟s recent decision to approve the request of the Mercedes Cup, Stuttgart, to be a key part of the new extended grass court season.
Wimbledon iPad app launched – ‘the next best thing to being at Wimbledon’
Wimbledon fans will have a further platform on which to enjoy The Championships with the launch of the first official Wimbledon iPad app. Complementing wimbledon.com as „the next best thing to being at Wimbledon‟, the app will be especially useful for those who are unable to be at The Championships in person.
Drawing on the website's visual richness with a fully immersive experience, the user can navigate around the grounds for live content (scores, draws, live video and live radio) as the tournament unfolds, while also exploring unique 360 degree content.
New media partnership in China
As part of a new multi-tiered media partnership in China, The Championships will be broadcast live on CCTV5, China's national sports broadcaster, leading to an increase in the number of viewing homes in China from 85million to 250million. Other media partners include regional sports channels and Tencent, the largest internet portal in China.
Lavazza extends Official Supplier agreement
Lavazza, the Official Coffee of The Championships, has agreed a three-year extension to its existing agreement.
Wimbledon Poster 2013
The 2013 poster has been produced in conjunction with a competition organised by the BBC's Blue Peter children's programme.
The Championships 2013 Operational Information Grounds capacity remains unchanged at 38,500. Start times remain unchanged from 2012. 11.30am on outside courts, 1.00pm on Centre and No.1 Courts. The Queue only starts from 8:00am on Sunday 23 June. £5.00 fee (proceeds donated to charity) for storage of overnight equipment. Ground entry security procedures will be at an appropriately high level. Only one bag per ticket holder - no larger than 16x12x12ins (40x30x30cm). No hard-sided hampers, cool-boxes or brief cases allowed into the grounds. No Left Luggage facilities inside the grounds (facilities located outside the grounds on the Golf Course, Car Park 1 and St Mary's Church car park).
Chairman’s Special Guests Vic Seixas – 60 years since becoming Gentlemen's Singles Champion, 1953. Margaret Court – 50 years since becoming Ladies' Singles Champion, 1963. Billie Jean King – 40 years since becoming Ladies' Singles and Doubles‟ Champion, 1973. Jan Kodes – 40 years since becoming Gentlemen's Singles Champion in 1973.
Diary Dates Wild cards announced: from Monday 10 June. Qualifying event: Monday 17-Thursday 20 June, Bank of England Sports Club. Seedings announced: Wednesday 19 June, around 12 noon. The draw: Friday 21 June, 10.00am in the Main Interview Room. ATP/WTA Player Interviews: Saturday 22 June, players and timings tbc. Defending Champions' interviews: Sunday 23 June, 11.30am and 12 noon. The Championships 2013: Monday 24 June - Sunday 7 July.