Wimbledon visitors are already breaking rules stating that they are not allowed to use livestreaming app Periscope at this year’s competition — even as Wimbledon launched its own Periscope livestream to broadcast… the queue.
The dichotomy in attitudes between the policy and its own social media feed raises the question as to whether technology might make or break this year’s championship. Wimbledon’s organisers don’t seem to be able to decide: some uses of technology are being embraced, whereas others are being treated as a threat.
Social media, for example, will play an important part in this year’s competition in a way it never has done before. Wimbledon has its own presence on the likes of Snapchat and Periscope and will be hosting a live blog on its own website. So far, so ace.
If you, the viewer, want to get involved however, it’s a different matter entirely however. Back in April, Wimbledon issued a statement saying that selfie sticks will be banned and last week a statement was issued saying that Periscope will not be allowed. Wimbledon is not the only establishment to ban the use of selfie sticks — Disney announced last week that they would not be allowed into its parks, largely due to health and safety concerns. Wimbledon-goers will have their bags checked at the doors, during which rogue poles will be seized.
What is it going to do about Periscope users like Brendan Lovett, however, who don’t follow its rules about using the livestreaming app?
“It’s difficult to stop people from using different social media platforms,” a Wimbledon spokesperson tells WIRED.co.uk. Their will be stewards around to ensure that their is no funny business, but Wimbledon will also be relying to a certain extent on “self-policing”.
To put it bluntly, the security procedures that will be used to prevent the audience from using Periscope are no more sophisticated than those it uses to stop people from streaking.
The reason that the crowd in being ask not to use Periscope is a matter of etiquette, rather than, for example, broadcasters kicking up a fuss about their rights. “The reason that we ask people not to use Periscope is that it can be quite distracting to players and people who are around,” says the Wimbledon spokesperson. The official Wimbledon rule is that “the use of photographic equipment must not inconvenience any other person in the Grounds”.
Wimbledon faces a much greater threat than apps and selfies, however. Two days ago police seized a drone that was flying over the the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which is where the championships take place.
Inspector Roger Robinson of Merton Police said: “It is an offence to fly a drone within 150 metres of congested areas or within 50 metres of a structure. Anyone intending to fly a drone should give prior consideration to the surrounding landscape and any structures or venues.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com