At Wimbledon, Men’s Final Takes a Back Seat to England vs. Italy
It has had an effect on the media landscape, however. The BBC, a rightsholder for both Wimbledon and the European Championships, routinely bumps tennis to a secondary channel for a soccer match featuring any team, not just England.
During big soccer games, it’s not uncommon for fans at Wimbledon to gather against the windows of the press workroom, trying to spot the score on one of the many television screens.
England’s run has also dominated the British sports pages, even when the team won its semifinal on the same day that the eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer lost in what many believed could be his final match on the fabled grass court.
“Normally Federer losing like that, and the drama surrounding that in terms of was it his last match or not here, that would normally take the photo,” said Stuart Fraser, a tennis correspondent for The Times of London. “It didn’t. It was a tiny little bit at the top of the page.”
The tennis media doesn’t seem to mind being overshadowed, but the veteran Italian reporter Ubaldo Scanagatta has a bigger project. He has mapped the quickest routes to ride his scooter from Wimbledon to Wembley if the men’s final on Sunday finishes early enough.
But Wimbledon is making no such concessions.
Fraser believes that the All England Club should consider showing the soccer final, which begins at 8 p.m. local time, on the large screen behind No. 1 Court, a picnic area often called Henman Hill or Murray Mound, so long as the men’s final, which begins at 2 p.m., finishes well beforehand, as expected.
“It’s huge here, what’s happening Sunday,” Fraser said. “I think if the tennis is done by 8 o’clock, they should be putting it on, on The Hill, because it’s not easy at the moment, with the way the rules are at this country, to just rock up at a pub and stand shoulder-to-shoulder and watch the football. I think it would be quite a good gesture from the Club.”
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