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BBC AXES WIMBLEDON HOSPITALITY- 12 Feb 2009 00:00:00

The recession has hit the corporate hospitality circuit at the Wimbledon tennis championships after it was reported that the BBC has axed its star-studded annual reception and corporate events at the tournament.

Media reports suggest  that this year's annual reception hosted by the corporation's director of vision, Jana Bennett, for the BBC's big-name stars such as Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton has been cut as part of a raft of cost-cutting measures forced on the corporation by the economic downturn.

As host broadcaster at Wimbledon, the BBC has traditionally spent tens of thousands of pounds each year entertaining an array of politicians, journalists and its own stars with free lunch, drinks and passes to the tennis. All of these elements have been cut according to BBC Trust.

The move comes after the Trust, the corporation's regulatory and governance body, revealed that its chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, and trustee Diane Coyle spent nearly £10,000 hosting an event for ‘opinion-formers’ at last year's Wimbledon tournament.

A spokesman for BBC management, which also hosts hospitality events at Wimbledon, confirmed that the executive was also axing its hospitality at the south-west London tennis tournament.

BBC management has been cutting back its Wimbledon entertaining in recent years, offering corporate hospitality on two days last year. A single day's hospitality was planned for the 2009 tournament, but this has now been axed.

Last year's Wimbledon reception was part of a total corporate hospitality spend of nearly £14,000 by the BBC Trust between April and September.

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