Up to 100,000 Wimbledon tickets set to go on sale in days before tournament begins
Wimbledon is gearing up for a Glastonbury-style dash for tickets, with up to 100,000 set to go on sale in the days before the tournament starts next month. The All England Club have confirmed for the first time that they were confident of increasing the number of tickets available above 25 per cent of capacity – which until now has meant a baseline of just 10,500 each day – in a move that raises hopes about Britain hosting bigger crowds this summer. But it is understood that the AELTC will not be able to begin their sales process until the Government releases its guidance on Stage 4 of the Covid roadmap. If concerns over the new Indian variant of Covid-19 persist, this could arrive only shortly before – or even on – the proposed “freedom day” of June 21. Tickets are to be released in a series of batches on a first-come-first-served basis on Ticketmaster, or an equivalent platform. And with Wimbledon starting in earnest on June 28, would-be spectators will need to have a flexible approach to their diaries. Numbers remain dependent on Government advice, but an optimistic prediction would suggest that up to 100,000 tickets could go on sale to the general public across the fortnight. Another 45,000 seats are expected to be retained for holders of debentures – the season tickets of Wimbledon – while a separate online sale for clubs and club members will be administered by the Lawn Tennis Association. The effect could be a new generation of spectators. Some days might even turn out to be more reminiscent of a “People’s Sunday” than a traditional Wimbledon as the tournament returns after last year’s pandemic-enforced cancellation. A series of online ticket-drops raises the prospect of fans frenziedly clicking their refresh buttons as when major festivals go on sale, with the main difference being that the process is to be drawn out over several days. Indeed, small numbers of seats could even become available during the tournament itself, as some tickets are usually returned to the club by those unable to attend. If the whole process is unable to begin until the week starting June 21, this will give an even more last-minute feel to the experience – until it is almost an online version of the Wimbledon queue, which normally supplies around 12,000 tickets a day. Meanwhile, Telegraph Sport understands that the AELTC are in conversation with the Bank of England over a seven-figure purchase of the Bank of England Sports Ground in Roehampton. This is a stopgap measure, designed to ensure the smooth running of Wimbledon’s qualifying tournament for the next seven years. In 2028, the qualifying event is due to move from the Bank of England Sports Ground to the 39 new grass courts now being constructed on what was formerly Wimbledon Park Golf Club. Once the qualifying tournament has been shifted, this new property would probably be sold on.