Wimbledon is the hardest grand slam tournament to get tickets for. Here are the options.
Note: This article was written in 2012. If you have more up-to-date information, please leave a comment and let us know. Thx! GSG
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LTA = Lawn Tennis Association
AELTC = All England Lawn Tennis Club
The distribution of tickets for Centre Court for 2011 was:
Public including public ballot, players and members in LTA affiliated clubs and on day sales – 53%
Debenture – 17%
Hospitality – 9%
Others, royal box, AELTC members, press and media, players, officials, overseas tennis associations, schools etc -21%
The distribution of tickets for No.1 Court by for 2011 was:
Public incl public ballot, players and members in LTA affliated clubs and on day sales – 70%
Debenture – 7%
Hospitality – 9%
Others, royal box, AELTC members, press and media, players, officials, overseas tennis associations, schools etc – 14%
Sourced from Wimbledon website
1. Apply for tickets in the public ballot
Introduced in 1924 the Public Ballot has always been oversubscribed.
Entry into the ballot gives you a place in the draw for tickets, which is done randomly by computer. You can’t request tickets for specific courts or day.
The 2013 ballot is now closed.
As a guide to the dates, an application form for 2013 could have been obtained by submitting a stamped, self-addressed envelope from 1st August 2012 to 15th December 2012.
Find out more about the ballot application.
Australian Open membership also offers the benefit of being able to apply for Wimbledon tickets in an AO Member ballot.
2. British Tennis Member ballot
Run by the LTA, British Tennis Membership provides a number of benefits including entry into the British Tennis Member ballot. See the link above for details about joining.
3. Waiting in The Queue
You can queue for tickets for each day of the tournament. For ground passes it is recommended to get there several hours before the grounds open at 10.30am. For Centre Court, No.1 and No.2 Court tickets people camp overnight in Wimbledon Park. The queues for the middle Saturday (second day of round three) and the second Monday (round four) are the busiest so you’ll probably want to get there even earlier.
If you’re on Twitter, check with your friends in the queue for ticket availability updates, and also with the Wimbledon Twitter account.
Read more about the queue in a A Newbies Guide to the Wimbledon Queue and from the Wimbledon website. And to get insights into what it’s like to spend time in the queue, read Diary of a Wimbledon Queuer.
Tickets available to those who queue
- Centre Court – Approximately 500 tickets on sale each day except for the last four days of the Championships.
- No.1 Court – Approximately 500 tickets are available each day.
- No.2 Court – Approximately 500 tickets are available each day for as long as a full day’s program of matches can be maintained.
- Several thousand ground passes are available each day.
You can also queue for late entry after 5pm. It can take around 30 to 40 minutes to get in after 5, although if it’s raining ie no tennis on outside courts, you’ll probably get in faster.
All tickets bought at the Queue turnstiles must be paid for in cash.
4. Buying tickets online at Ticketmaster
Several hundred tickets for Centre Court and No.3 Court are available for sale through Ticketmaster. In 2012 they were on sale at 9am the day before play.
Returned tickets for Centre Court and No.3 Court are also offered for sale through Ticketmaster. In 2012 they were on sale at 12pm two days before play.
Details of Ticketmaster ticket availability will be communicated to those people who sign up for Wimbledon eNewsletters.
Tips for buying tickets online
- Set up your Ticketmaster account ahead of time so that you can log in and be ready to buy tickets at the scheduled time
- Add your credit card details to your account*
- You will need the same credit card that tickets were bought with to confirm your tickets at Wimbledon on the day, so make sure the credit card holder is with you, and also has photo ID
I had an issue buying tickets with my Australian credit card but Ticketmaster UK have since confirmed that “Ticketmaster accepts cards from all countries that are Visa/Mastercard/Amex so you shouldn’t have any problems.”
5. Resale tickets
This option is only useful once you have a ticket to enter the grounds.
Court ticket holders can return their tickets if they aren’t able to stay for the full day of play. These tickets are resold and the money is donated to charity.
Ticket resales begin at 3pm from the Resale area to the North of Court 18 in the grounds. There is a queue to get resale tickets, sometimes a long one so get to the queue early if you really tickets.
6. Hospitality Packages
Wimbledon hospitality packages are available from official Wimbledon hospitality suppliers.
In 2012 the official suppliers were Keith Prowse and Sportsworld Group.
7. Tour Packages
If you’re travelling from outside London to visit Wimbledon, a company like Grand Slam Tennis Tours offers packages with tickets, accommodation, a hospitality house, tennis academies and other benefits included.
8. Become a debenture holder
Since 1920, Centre Court Wimbledon Debentures have been sold every five years.
The All England Lawn Tennis Ground plc, jointly and equally owned by The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club Limited and Lawn Tennis Association Limited, uses the funds from debentures to meet capital expenditure. Since 1999, debentures to No. 1 Court have also been offered.
Each debenture provides the holder to:
- one seat for each day of the Championships for the relevant court over the five year period
- access to exclusive debenture holder dinning rooms and lounges
- and the refund of the nominal debenture amount at the end of the period.
2,500 debentures were issued for the 2011-2015 series of Centre Court Debentures at a cost of £27,750 each (nominal amount £2,000 refundable August 2015).
1,000 debentures for No.1 Court were issued in 2011 at a cost of £13,700 each (nominal amount £500 refundable August 2016) for the 2012-2016 Championships.
Debenture holders are able to resell their ticket entitlements or the debentures themselves. Read more about debentures.
The most recent resale of a debenture was announced in December 2011 for £62,500. View transactions for debentures.
9. Become a member of the AELTC
There are four categories of membership of the AELTC – Full, Life, Honorary and Temporary.
Full and Life memberships are limited to 375, which is the number of seats in the old Worple Road stand. All members enjoy full privileges.
Honorary members are elected by the Committee and are mostly past singles champions and other people who have given special service to the sport.
Around 120 Temporary members are also elected by the Committee, which are renewed annually.
To become a member, you must be proposed, seconded and supported by four existing Full members, all whom are required to write in support of the application.
There is a membership waiting list of 1,000 which dates back many years.
This is all the information that I’m aware of in relation to getting Wimbledon tickets.
If you have more information about any of the ways to get tickets above, or ways to get tickets that aren’t listed, please let us know by leaving a comment below.
In my opinion the most accessible options are buying tickets online and waiting in the queue.
We successfully bought “returns” and “day before” tickets online for four sessions in 2012, and I know a lot of people who successfully queued to get show court tickets and ground passes.
Until next time
Grand Slam Gal