Tennis Puts Eastbourne in the World’s Spotlight


Will your business make the most of this year’s 40th AEGON International tennis championships?

Millions of tennis fans from all over the world are preparing to descend on the Victorian seaside town of Eastbourne next month. Visitors, coaches and international tennis stars will be here for one week starting Saturday 14 June, giving local businesses an ideal chance to entice this influx of potential customers in.

We recently asked Gavin Fletcher, Tournament Director for the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA – a key partner for tennis in Eastbourne) how local businesses could benefit from the upcoming tournament. He said: “We are asking local businesses to enter into the spirit of things. They have got to make sure they are welcoming and engage with visitors, perhaps with a tennis theme in a shop window, or any other creative incentives that link in with the tennis theme.”

Last year visitor spending in Eastbourne exceeded £9 million, much of which was spent with local suppliers. Local hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses were also packed with visitors, 44% of whom stayed overnight for an average of five days.

Four-star family-run bed and breakfast The Sheldon is just a stone’s throw away from Devonshire Park Lawns. Owner Judith Brown told us: “The tennis certainly benefits us – we are virtually full throughout the tournament and have regulars who book a year in advance. Some even stay in the same room every year!”

As well as attracting regular visitors year on year, the tennis also draws in plenty of new visitors. Official statistics show that of all the spectators, 6% have never visited the town before. This gives businesses around Eastbourne the perfect chance to promote their products or services to a much wider audience – many of whom may choose to return in the future.

Of course, where international sports stars go, international media soon follows and this year’s tournament will be no exception, with a number of TV channels and publications putting Eastbourne well and truly in the world’s spotlight. Last year the BBC broadcasted extensive coverage on the tournament, with additional highlights promoting some of Eastbourne’s best features, including the famous Victorian promenade and the nearby Downs.

It was recently announced that Devonshire Park Lawn will continue to host the AEGON International until 2015, which was of course welcome news for the Carolyn Heaps, Councillor for Eastbourne Borough Council’s Tourism & Leisure department. She said: “It is fantastic news to see world class women’s tennis continue in Eastbourne in what will be the tournament’s 40th year. Devonshire Park has played a key role in the history of women’s tennis, creating many champions, and we are delighted to continue this partnership with the Lawn Tennis Association. Increasing the draw adds such a strong appeal to the event, for both top players and spectators, and we look forward to this exciting new dimension to the tournament from 2015.”

Eastbourne Tennis Facts

Did you know…

Over 5,520 tennis balls are used throughout the tournament.

More than 4,100 litres of water is consumed by the players.

1,888kgs of strawberries are eaten by spectators, topped with a belt-busting 518 litres of cream.