Women’s Wimbledon Championship: Serena Williams vs. Garbine Muguruza When it comes to professional tennis, The Championships, Wimbledon is the oldest running and most prestigious championship in the world which dates back to its founding in 1877, a span of over 138 years. “Perhaps that’s another part of Wimbledon’s prestige. In a world that seems to be more and more complicated, Wimbledon keeps it simple: Be respectful and play with honor… (Rudnansky)”. Located at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England, the women’s tournament is comprised of 128 tennis players from all across the world. These athletes play in matches over two weeks during the end of June and beginning of July, eventually leading to a championship game played at Wimbledon’s Centre Court, the largest court at the most prestigious tennis venue in the world. Wimbledon has been witness to some of the greatest moments in tennis history, for both men and women, and each year that it is played, history is being written over again and those who participate, both winners and losers, they will go down in tennis history forever. During this era that we live in, the media plays a big role in the storylines of sports events and they can hype up those events, and the Women’s Wimbledon Championship applies to that notion. You have Serena Williams, the top female tennis player in the entire world, looking to win her sixth Wimbledon Championship, twenty-first Grand Slam Championship, and complete the “Serena Slam” (winning the Australian Open, French Open, US Open, and Wimbledon). In the other corner you have Garbine Muguruza, an up and coming tennis star in the making, who beat Serena Williams in the French Open in 2014 and who also “defeated some top players, such as Angelique Kerber (seeded 10th), Caroline Wozniacki (fifth), Timea Bacsinszky (15th) and on Thursday she beat 2012 runner-up Agnieszka Radwańska (13). (Watson)”. The media wasn’t trying to make this match seem as if it was “Good vs. Evil” as both players are very likeable on and off the court, which made for a very interesting match to watch. One of the biggest issues in sports today we see is bad sportsmanship between teams during and after the game, but you never saw any evidence of that between these two professionals. Both athletes showed immense signs of humility, with Serena saying, “”I can’t believe I’m standing here with another Serena Slam… I heard the I love yous, I love you more.” and Garbine saying, “I love to play in big courts – a Grand Slam final is a dream come true” (Hurrey), which reinforces the type of character these two have, which should be idealized by athletes in all sports around the world. The media had a played a significant role in hyping up the match between two “heroes” of the sport today and wit the way these two played on the court and carried themselves afterwards, they did an amazing job of living up to that hype. At The Championships, Wimbledon it is a smorgasbord of economic interests, predominantly in advertisements and corporate sponsorships. With the vast amounts of people watching on television and in person, companies need to capitalize on their t audience by exposing them to their products in television and physical advertisements in the stadiums. Most of the people watching Wimbledon are wealthy and therefore companies of high end products would want to advertise here. Another form of advertising companies use is to provide and even pay athletes to use their equipment in the hopes that other casual sports fans will in turn go purchase those products to be, “like the professionals”. Athlete endorsements play very subtle yet impactful role in the economic interests of companies in professional sports. Advertising and corporate sponsorships have big impacts on the economic interests of consumers. The majority of the crowds watching the matches at Wimbledon are European Caucasian males and females who most likely are wealthy. In order to cater to the needs of those consumers, the tournament has an abundance of high-end suppliers such as; “Rolex (Official Tournament Sponsor), Ralph Lauren (Official Outfitter), Stella Artois (Official Beer), and Jaguar Land Rover (Official Car) (Wimbledon)”, to cater to the needs of the athletes and spectators. “Jaguar and Land Rover will supply 170 luxury and high performance vehicles to support tournament operations. The new Jaguar XE and XF, as well as successful XF Sportbrake and XJ models will be seen in London at this year’s Championships. (Wimbledon)”. Companies, like Jaguar, use this opportunity to showcase their products to potential customers around the globe to convince consumers to purchase their products. Wimbledon is the perfect place for companies to showcase their new products as well as help contribute to the overall operations of the tournament. Another aspect of the
economic interests with Wimbledon is the impact professional athletes have on corporate sponsorships for clothing, equipment, and beverages used throughout the tournament. Players are sponsored by companies that provide them with products to use while competing to promote their products to the public. Serena William’s website says she is sponsored by Nike, Gatorade, Wilson Sporting Goods, and OPI Products Inc.and Garbine Muguruza is sponsored by Adidas. During the breaks in the match, both drink from Evian water as well as Gatorade (only for Williams), which is a sponsor of the event. These companies will pay the athletes to use their products such as in the case with Serena Williams and Nike, where, “Serena Williams last week signed a five-year endorsement contract with Nike that includes the option of another three years. The deal could add up to a reported $55 million. (Chief Marketer)”. The money paid for sponsorships results in a minimal cost as compared to the sales from the influence of the athlete using the company’s product. Seeing athletes being successful wearing certain types of sports clothes and using specific brand equipment can help to convince the everyday consumer that buying these products will help them to be better at playing sports, which is exactly what the companies are betting on. This match between Serena Williams vs. Garbine Muguruza will not go down as one of the greatest Wimbledon finals of all time but it did do two things and that is to reinforce that Serena Williams is the best female tennis player alive and that corporate sponsorships play a big role in sports. The economic impact of the commercialization and sponsorship in professional sports plays a big role in what sports are able to accomplish and is evident at the events and on television. Some could say that an event like Wimbledon is another prime example of the inequality in sports and economics in that only the rich and famous were able to attend this match, which is one of the key focuses in this class in sports today, but that’s not what this event is about. It’s about seeing one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events be played once again in all its grandeur and witnessing history unfold in front of our eyes. References:
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