Wimbledon and Roblox launch ‘WimbleWorld’ to engage new generation of tennis fans
Wimbledon is serving up a new audience to its sponsors and partners – the under-18 demographic within the metaverse.
As the tournament launches, so too does the WimbleWorld mini metaverse within Roblox. It enables fans to take on their friends on the virtual Centre Court, a tribute to the iconic stadium as it celebrates its 100th year on Church Road.
Additionally, as part of the game, fans can collect rewards to redeem in the virtual Wimbledon store. The rewards include items from the Wimbledon Ralph Lauren 2022 collection, which users can choose to have their avatars wear within the game or other worlds on Roblox.
Andy Murray’s avatar models virtual gear within the WimbleWorld mini metaverse
Fans of both Roblox and the tournament will be offered limited-edition items for their avatars including Andy Murray’s 2022 AMC cap. Players will also be able to meet Andy Murray within WimbleWorld.
The tennis tournament’s global reach is undeniable, but as Roblox’s senior director of international comms James Kay explains, it has the ability to reach a new audience through the gamified experience of a metaverse platform such as Roblox.
“This year is the 100th year of Centre Court at Wimbledon. You’re talking about something that’s obviously had an enduring legacy of fans over the ages and through the generations. We’re looking ahead to the next generation of fans, and how we are going to keep them engaged beyond just watching the matches,” says Kay.
“And so [WimbleWorld] is really meant to be a kind of additive experience for that under-18 audience. If you are interested in tennis and maybe starting to play for the first time, it’s a chance for them to engage with it in a way that feels natural to them.”
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In addition to the WimbleWord activation, Wimbledon will also be taking over The Gang’s Strongman Simulator game – one of the most popular experiences on the Roblox platform.
As the experience launches within Roblox, the main Wimbledon social channels will also be promoting WimbleWorld in order to ensure there is as much of a crossover as possible. In addition to WimbleWorld on Roblox, fans can also enjoy a variety of other initiatives as part of ‘Wimbledon at Home’ – activities and experiences that everyone can enjoy, regardless of whether they are attending the tournament in person, from a distance or interactively through Roblox.
Kay says that while the execution is in service of promoting Wimbledon to that new generation of fans, there are a number of other KPIs the sporting brand and platform are aiming to achieve. “There could be the monetization aspect ... there could be the aspect of understanding that we’ve got a really strong fan base within this demographic and they want that engagement with that fan base. So it really depends on the nature of the brand and where they are, what their objective is.
“I think in the case of Wimbledon, it’s very much for that under-18 audience where they want to make sure that that next generation is hooked on tennis in the way older generations were, and that that legacy of the tournament continues on.”
Alexandra Willis, communications and marketing director at the All England Club, says: “Our mission is to ensure that the fans of tomorrow grow up loving Wimbledon just as much as the fans of today.
“We are delighted to be making this a reality through WimbleWorld on Roblox, giving fans the chance to compete virtually on Centre Court. Thank you to all the team at Roblox and The Gang for making this vision a reality in our desire to reach the next generation of tennis fans, and to Andy Murray and Ralph Lauren for being a part of WimbleWorld in its first year.”
Beyond the court
Kay believes that there is still educational work to be done in order to ensure that brands – sporting and otherwise – are aware of what is possible in the metaverse. Despite that, he says that the sheer scale of creative activations on the platform are providing experiences for brands to act as persistent community hubs, gaming and recreation, and monetization opportunities. Some of the most successful to date have been those based around sports.
Noting that the platform has over 10 million creators and 26m different experiences, he believes that the endgame for Roblox is to be a destination for brands, whether or not they build worlds on the platform without the direct involvement of Roblox. “I think what we’re increasingly seeing is brands move to a self-serve basis, where we don’t even need to be involved as Roblox as the brand.
“They’re reaching out directly to these development teams and studios. They’re able to work with them. That process happened very naturally and organically, and I think that’s quite exciting territory for us.”
WimbleWorld is live on Roblox as of today. As with other experiences such as Gucci Town, the mini metaverse has the opportunity to act as a draw for players beyond the Wimbledon tournament itself, in addition to generating revenue and engagement for the All England Club.