Photo Source: Fotosports / R. Parker
As hoards of tennis fans queued in line for hours today, hoping to get a glimpse of Andy Roddick or Roger Federer on Centre Court, the organizers of the world’s premiere tennis event offered a concession to those unlucky enough not to get in this morning: Resales.
While Wimbledon has been praised for not over-commercializing this year’s tournament, the reselling of tickets, at first mention, may seem like an attempt to institutionalize scalping. As original ticket holders exit the grounds, they have the option to make unwanted tickets available for other fans (either by depositing the actual tickets at select kiosks throughout the grounds, or if they want to keep them as a souvenir, having the barcodes scanned upon leaving so that new tickets may be generated).
There is one big and important difference between this system, however, and the guys that stand outside stadium gates at baseball or football games. Beyond the fact that prices aren’t ridiculously inflated, all proceeds Wimbledon generates from ticket resales are donated to charity.
According to the Wimbledon website, resale proceeds have been donated to charities since 1954. In the last 10 years, over ¬£1/2 million has been raised, including ¬£85,696 raised in 2007 alone. Benefiting charities are local organizations chosen by the Mayors of Merton and Wandsworth, the constituencies that the Wimby grounds fall under, as well as SPARKS (Sport Aiding Medical Research for Kids) and the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust, a foundation for disabled tennis enthusiasts.
It is a simple and understated system very much attune to the Wimbledon brand. A system that maximizes fan entrance to the tournament as well as helps the community around it. There are no fancy photo shoots or big PR campaigns.
Though charity giving from resales will likely not fix our social, environmental, or economic challenges any time soon, it’s inspiring to see that the appeal of such a mainstream, global phenomenon – with primetime coverage and celebrity super-athletes – is being recognized for its power to do good. Hopefully, one day, others too follow suit…