Wimbledon Tickets – One rule for the rich, another for the rest
After watching the Final of Wimbledon last Sunday, my intrigue got the better of me and I decided to do a little research into just how much money it costs to get your hands on a ticket to watch the Wimbledon Final on Centre Court. While I did manage to find out how much a standard Wimbledon Final ticket costs, I also came across some interesting facts about Wimbledon’s ticket resale policy for someone who might want to sell their Wimbledon ticket on via a secondary market. Let’s start with how much a ticket to the Wimbledon Final costs.
How much does a standard ticket to the Wimbledon Final cost?
If you’d have wanted to bag yourself a ticket to the Wimbledon Final in 2015 then – if you had been fortunate enough to be able to get the chance to buy one – it would have set you back a cool £2,667, a 50% increase on the cost of a ticket in the previous year. Of the 13,813 seats available on Centre Court though, not all are available for purchase at the standard ticket cost. In 2015, some 2,071 of these seats were reserved for a group of people known as debenture holders. So what are these debentures and how much do they cost?
What is a debenture ticket at Wimbledon?
The Debenture System at Wimbledon allows those who have the money available to buy a seat on either Centre Court or Court One for a whole five years. If you are able to fund the cost of a debenture then according to the Wimbledon website, you will receive a ticket for a seat on Centre Court or Court One – depending on which one you choose – for each day of the championships for a full 5 years. Not only this, but debenture holders’ will also receive a special pass to enjoy the extra perk of the Centre Court debenture holders’ restaurants and bars, as well as access to the debenture holders’ car park, though the car park feature will incur an additional fee. So how much do these debentures cost? The 2016-2020 Centre Court debentures were priced at £50,000 and the 2012-2016 No.1 Court debentures were priced at £13,700. I say ‘were’ priced because the 2016-2020 debentures actually went on sale in May of 2014, so if you like the sound of becoming a debenture holder then you will have to wait until the next round of debenture sales which is expected to be in the summer of 2016.
So we can see that becoming a Wimbledon debenture holder is a costly affair. But why have these debenture tickets become such a source of anger for fans that have purchased ‘normal’ priced Wimbledon tickets? Well, this all has to do with Wimbledon’s rules regarding the resale of tickets when a person is unable to attend the event.
One rule for the rich and another for the rest
Many people feel that there is a double standard between the rules surrounding the resale of debenture tickets compared to the rules for those who wish to sell a standard ticket. This is because Wimbledon actually prevents standard tickets from being resold via a secondary market, whereas debenture tickets – the tickets of the rich and of big business – are allowed to be resold on a secondary market without the permission of the All England Club if the person or business who holds the debenture ticket is unable to attend or simply wants to try and profit from the sale. If a standard ticket holder is unable to attend however, then their ticket will have to be handed back to the All England Club who will then resell the ticket through their own internal channels.
The rules surrounding the resale of debenture tickets are what create some of the crazy ticket prices we see when it is looking as though Andy Murray might make the final. This year prices soared to a staggering £17,000 on the secondary market for a debenture ticket to the Final, before falling back again after Murray was knocked out by Roger Federer in the Semi Final. This price was over half of what the original 5 year debenture would have cost in the first place, so we can see why these debentures are so sought after and also why someone might want to profit from the sale of their debenture ticket to the final.
How does the All England Club’s debenture system differ from that of other sports? If we consider the resale policy for debenture tickets for the football at Wembley, the rugby at Twickenham or for the cricket at Lord’s, then we will see a stark difference as profiteering via the resale of debenture tickets is not permitted at these venues.
Not every standard is a double standard
It’s encouraging to note however that the All England Club do not bend all of the rules for the rich and famous. There are still some standards that are the same for everyone, even for super celebs. For example, the issue of dress and grooming raised its head at this year’s competition, with Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton being turned away from Centre Court for the Federer – Djokovic Final because he hadn’t properly adhered to the Royal Box dress code.
Do you think that Wimbledon’s rules surrounding the resale of tickets are fair?