British sport delivered a hat trick of events on Sunday – in cricket, tennis and Formula 1 – that will long have spectators reminiscing about how they were here.
The lucky ticket holders got to share the moment with thousands of other fans. For those who can’t bag a ticket to a major sporting event but do want to watch en-masse, there is another increasingly popular option though.
Capitalising on people’s desire to watch together, entrepreneur Jill Leo has been hosting free big screen events for tennis fans across the UK over the for Wimbledon fortnight, showed the cricket World Cup final at two locations, and later this year will be doing similar for the Rugby World Cup.
Overall, Jill reckons that her firm GPM360 had about 3million outdoor viewers over the Wimbledon fortnight.
Fans watching the men’s Wimbledon final at the Wimbledon Piazza shopping centre site
Her two biggest screenings for the tennis tournament could hold 2,000 people in Wimbledon’s town centre shopping area and 8,000 in central Leeds.
Her firm showed the epic longest-ever Wimbledon men’s final where Roger Federer was eventually beaten by Novak Djokovic at 10 screens nationwide, with venues were at capacity.
‘The atmosphere at all our venues over the weekend was incredible, particularly for the cricket and the men’s Wimbledon final,’ she said. ‘Mums, dads and kids were glued to the screens for a historic weekend of sport.’
She added: ‘The ballot means that it is pot luck to secure tickets to Wimbledon or plan to queue to get the evening seats as people come out but this is a good way to enjoy sunshine with high quality screens.’
Sports fans get to watch the Wimbledon games for free and enjoy summer refreshments rather than pay for expensive tickets and queue for hours
Her company, which provided the mega screens alongside the stage on the Spice Girls’ UK tour, offered sports enthusiasts unable to secure a Wimbledon ticket the opportunity to watch all the action for free on its big screens dotted around the country.
The events are paid for by selling advertising and she has pledged to keep her big screen sporting events free.
Jill says: ‘They will always be free to watch. I know other people do have tickets and charge but we’ll always do it as a community event sponsored by brands. Obviously music festivals are different as they are high end ticket events.’
Jill Lee, owner of GPM360, has pledged to keep her screened events free for sports enthusiasts
The screens enable people to watch the games while soaking up the summer, watch together with other fans to get a better atmosphere than at home, or catch a glimpse of the scores as they go about their shopping for the day.
Fans don’t need to book and for Wimbledon screens were set up at various locations including close by at the All England Club at the Wimbledon Piazza shopping area, and further afield, such as in Woolwich, Leeds, Portsmouth and Swansea.
Jill said: ‘We were handing out refreshments like strawberry and cream cheesecake and sweets, while Bill’s restaurants offer Wimbledon inspired snacks.
‘There’s entertainment for families. Last year we had an interactive gaming experience where people could play Mario Tennis. The visitor’s area is great for families with children.’
The big screen events can cater to thousands of sports enthusiasts with the Wimbledon event holding a capacity of 2,000 people, while Leeds (the biggest) can host up to 8,000 fans.
GPM360 was set up by Jill in 2012 after she decided there was an untapped demand for brands to connect with advertising opportunities that align with culture; particularly sport and music.
The events are free to use and funded through advertising and sponsorship sold by GPM360. Car manufacturer Peugeot and cream alternative Elmlea are two of the main sponsors.
Fans in Bristol get to enjoy the summer sunshine while watching the Wimbledon games
Willing to take a risk, Lee left her role managing a team at a large company to forge her own business in advertising – with initial successes coming from selling advertising around football and rugby matches.
Initially working alone to bid for contracts and campaigns, she says she managed to create a good reputation for GPM360. During that time she also had to turn her hand to other business elements, including designing the company’s website and managing the finances.
She was, however, able to draw on years of experience in the corporate world and plenty of time spent working before that.
Screenings at GPM360’s Leeds event can host up to 8,000 people, while its Wimbledon event could host 2,000 fans
Coming from a single-parent upbringing exposed Lee early on to the working world. After landing her first job stacking shelves at the age of 10, she honed her sales skills by working on a market-stall in her early teens.
Jill says that early sales experience gave her the upper-hand in her first professional sales role, where at the age of 23 and the only female member of a sales team, she was the top seller and was rewarded with a brand new sports car.
Fast forward to today and now in its seventh year of operation GPM 360 generates an annual turnover in excess of £2million and has several projects in the pipeline, including a launch with local television network That’s TV and screenings of the Rugby World Cup.
GPM360 provided the screens alongside the Spice Girls’ concert and also the screens for the Isle of Wight festival
Jill says she’s had to hire more staff to satisfy the demand. The team has now grown to six but Lee is hiring three more staff members. The company also makes use of self-employed consultants across IT, logistics and project management.
Rugby fans will later this year be able to enjoy an event with a different flavour to the summer sports.
‘As it’s hosted in Japan starting October and November we’ll be looking at morning and brunch events’, Jill says.
‘There’ll be hand warmers and sheepskin blankets making for a snug event with bacon sandwiches and hot chocolate to watch the games.’
She adds the company will also look to expand into Europe.
She says: ‘I would say we’re more than doubling through our launch with That’s TV.
‘We’re buying more and more screens being invited to more events and developing more regions in London and asked to put more screens in for sports and community events.’