Recreating the 1980 Wimbledon men's final as pure theatre proves to be solid gold

Many congratulations to the team at Rematch for recently winning Creative Event of the Year at the Campaign Experience Awards.

It was Rematch’s first ever production [as far as we can tell from their website ] and what they chose to recreate was the epic men’s final in 1980 at Wimbledon between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.

This is what that actual final looked like, as remembered in the Wimbledon official film. Many consider the match the finest ever played.

Rematch’s proposition is simple, using imagination and theatrical staging: ‘Think of a great sporting moment in the last 50 years that you wish you could have attended … now imagine if we could sell you a ticket.’

Compare and contrast the Wimbledon official film with what Rematch’s version of that 1980 final looked like, almost forty years later, and as staged at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in London:

As Campaign said in their award nomination:

‘The [All England Lawn Tennis Club] was looking for a year-round activation which would allow them to talk to fans outside of the Championships in a unique way. They wanted a scalable experience that would enable them to recreate the event in new markets to grow their fanbase.’

Rematch’s imaginative staging, which was held over five public sessions, also allowed the AELTC to integrate some of Wimbledon's brand partners, like Stella Artois, Rolex, Robinson’s, Pimms, Amex and Lanson.

Incredibly this was the AELTC's first ever public event outside of the tournament itself.

Rematch’s hired talent included 40 actors in character who encouraged public engagement in the activities, including a 1980s beauty parlour and commentary booth. Then the 700-strong crowd took their seats for the main show. Each re-interpretation of the epic men's final last an hour, and included giant screens playing footage of the original match, 3D projection plus an original music score.

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Charlie Charters is a former rugby union official and sports marketing executive turned thriller writer whose debut book Bolt Action was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2010.
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