Wimbledon (‘The Championships’) is one of the premier sporting events in the world and its cachet certainly extends beyond the sport of tennis.
Given the high profile nature of the event and the relatively small capacity of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, tickets are notoriously hard to secure. However, with a lot of luck and a bit of strategy it’s possible to get your hands on these hot commodities and attend a unique event well worth seeing in person.
Below you will find a cheat sheet laying out the various avenues of buying Wimbledon tickets. The official guidance can be found here.
Unlike other major sporting events, touting (scalping) tickets is strictly prohibited and highly regulated so there is no easily accessible secondary market. Thus, obtaining tickets must happen through these prescribed methods:
Each year members of the UK’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) can enter to receive tickets through a ballot process. LTA membership – which is required if you play competitive tennis in the UK – costs £30 per year.
The deadline to enter the ballot this year was February 23, 2018 and successful entries are notified by email and given the opportunity to purchase the tickets starting in the spring. Because individuals can opt out of buying the specific tickets offered to them, the release of tickets continues until the event starts.
Beyond individual LTA members, coaches and schools also receive ticket allocations. This applies to bodies outside the UK as well. Overseas tennis federations/associations are given tickets for distribution to their affiliated clubs and other organisations with special claims.
Alumni of university tennis teams in the UK are often eligible to enter draws, so it’s wise to stay on the mailing list and/or pay the nominal fees to remain a member of the club in question for this reason.
This is a well-publicised tactic and you feel that you’ve really earned your ticket if you successfully secure one. The queuing policy mandates that each individual in the queue is only eligible for one ticket.
On your arrival at the end of The Queue you will be issued with a Queue Card. This card is dated and numbered to show your position in The Queue. It must be retained and will be checked on entry to the Grounds. These are non-transferable.
If you’re aiming for show court tickets, it’s advisable to camp overnight – particularly during the late rounds of the event – as substantial lines typically form the evening before the session takes place.
If you’re close enough to the front of the queue you will get offered a ticket type until that category is sold out. Thus, the very first people in line have their choice of the whole range of tickets (including Centre Court) but if you are among the last to have the opportunity to get tickets you will likely only have access to grounds passes (which is still quite a feat!).
Akin to the whole event, The Queue operates like a finely tuned machine, in part because of rules that have been set in place. You can find the code of conduct for The Queue here.
Fans that attend the event but leave early can deposit their tickets into a box on the way out of the venue and allow others to purchase them for the remainder of the session. This process enables individuals on the grounds to upgrade their tickets from a grounds pass to a Court 1 ticket, for instance.
In order to access these tickets, you need to head to the ticket office at the AELTC and inquire whether any are available. This strategy is far from guaranteed, but a welcome surprise when you’re successful.
Debentures are issued every five years and give the debenture holder a ticket to every day of the Championships for 5 years. Debentures are how the AELTC raises funds to meet capital expenditures or to make improvements to the facilities such as the roof on Centre Court.
There are 2,500 Debenture seats on Centre Court and 1,000 Debenture seats on No.1 Court. The current Centre Court debentures cover the 2016-2020 Championships and were priced at £50,000 each. The current Court No. 1 debentures were £31,000 for 2017-2021.
For each debenture held, debenture holders receive one seat in the Centre Court stand for every day of The Championships; or one seat in the No.1 Court stand for the first 10 days of The Championships.
It’s noteworthy that debenture tickets (for a single day) are the only tickets which are freely transferable, so you can find these tickets being resold on secondary market sites.
The whole debenture itself can also be traded on the open market. The last three 2016-2020 Centre Court debenture trades were at an average of £113,500 (despite there only being 3 years left) and the last three 2017-2021 No.1 Court debenture trades were traded at an average of £41,000, so it can be a fruitful investment if you have the funds. Find out more about the debenture policy here.
'Wimbledon Debenture Holders' specialise in knowing everything there is to know about visiting the Championships to ensure that buyers of debenture tickets can be confident they have the best possible Wimbledon experience.
They have created a secure market place for you to purchase debenture tickets direct from the owners. These tickets are the only legitimately transferable tickets for Wimbledon and offer the best views of the court.
They have over 500 debenture holders registered who list their tickets year round so you can be assured that they will have availability for all days of the Championships.
The price list is not fixed and as interest increases so do the market prices. Wimbledon Debenture Holders monitor the market constantly to ensure that they offer competitive prices.
To buy your exclusive debenture ticket, find out more and read their up to date blogs visit http://www.wimbledondebentureholders.com.
Other tennis tour operations include Grand Slam Tennis Tours, The Wimbledon Experience, Championship Tennis Tours, Newmarket Holidays and Topnotch Tennis Tours. If you want the logistics around your travel and the event sorted out for you, this can be an attractive option.
Several hundred Centre Court and No.3 Court tickets are sold online via Ticketmaster on the day before play. As The Championships are a hugely popular and over-subscribed event, these tickets often sell out in minutes and are sold on a strictly first come, first served basis.
Even if you manage to get your hands on tickets, there is a strict limit of 2 tickets per person/address/credit card, so coordination is required if you’re attempting to attend as a group.
The All England Lawn & Tennis Club has gorgeous facilities situated in a leafy suburb of London. It’s notoriously hard to become a member with good reason. There is even a running joke that the easiest way to become a member is to win the tournament!
One of the perks of membership is total access to the event which includes behind-the-scenes areas of the facilities that even the best public tickets can’t enter. So, if you happen to have a friend that’s lucky enough to be a member, getting a guest pass to attend the event with them is the best of ALL options.
We’ve created a list of tennis-themed presents we are confident will hit the sweet spot (bad pun intended!).
The ideas include an upcycled tennis ball (used at Wimbledon) that has new life as a portable speaker and the stunning Epirus tennis bag collection for active people that want to go from the court, to work, to the gym and then out to dinner in style.