80 Years of Wimbledon and the BBC

Tennis court

2017 is a year to remember, especially if you’re both a TV and tennis aficionado!

After all, it’s been 90 years since the first radio transmission from Wimbledon, 80 years since the first TV broadcast and 50 years since the first colour transmission from the Championships. TV has come a long way with features like curved screens and 8K definition, and we now watch Wimbledon in a completely different way than we did in the 30s.

Wimbledon TV Broadcast

The first television transmission from Wimbledon was on the 21st of June of 1937 by the BBC; more specifically, the BBC Two. This channel was the first in Europe to provide regular transmission in colour 50 years ago. We might be used to the latest TV technology in our homes, it wasn’t that long ago that we were watching the Wimbledon on old-fashioned, black and white TVs.

Just for the first Wimbledon TV transmission, 80 years ago, the BBC sent three outside broadcast vans, a camera, a van when the transmitter was placed, and another van with the generator that powered it all.
In 1967, on the 1st of July, TVs across the UK were able to display Wimbledon in colour. This transmission from BBC Two marked the start of colour TV in Great Britain, with 80% of programmes being in colour by December that year.

On Air: Wimbledon and the BBC Exhibition

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum announced this exhibition, launched to coincide with the 90-year anniversary of the relationship between the BBC and The Championships; the “On Air: Wimbledon and the BBC 1927-2017” exhibition aims to celebrate the history between these two institutions.

In the first part of this exhibition, you’ll be able to see facts related to the broadcasting at Wimbledon, like the white tennis balls that were changed to yellow to be better seen on screen. Then you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about Wimbledon’s first live outside broadcast on BBC Radio, from June 1927. You’ll also find the 1927 Championships ticket, programme and scorecard, a fantastic exhibition for any tennis fanatic out there!

Wimbledon in 3D

In 2011, on the 2nd of July, the BBC broadcasted Wimbledon in 3D for the first time, an event that occurred on The Championships’ 125th anniversary. This technological leap added an extra dimension to tennis watching at home, aiming to create a more realistic experience for views that could not attend in person.

Wimbledon audience was estimated to be 1 billion in 200 territories, in 2016, so it’s fair to say this sporting event attracts many people across the globe! If you can’t be there with the action, why not watch the show from the comfort of your own home? Just take a look at some of our 4K 52-inch screens that will make you feel like you’re right there with your favourite athletes!

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