The owner of the Wimbledon tennis tournament is set to rake in just over £200m by selling five-year passes for every match on Centre Court.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club announced on Thursday that the price of the 2,520 debenture tickets being sold for the 2021-25 tournament would be £80,000 each.
Sale of the seats, which are on either side of the royal box, will land the club £201.6m before tax.
Demand for the debenture tickets is likely to far exceed demand, and few newcomers are expected to be able to buy them as current holders have the right of first refusal. Some wealthy families have held onto the same debenture tickets since they were first issued in 1920.
Tennis fans who struggle each year to secure tickets in the public ballot or wait in the famous queue may be surprised to discover that the debentures account for almost a fifth (16.7%) of Centre Court’s 15,000 seats. The AELTC reserves a further 1,340 seats for corporate hospitality. Invited guests, including the media, schools and overseas tennis associations, occupy 21% of the seats, leaving just 53.5% for the public.
The All England raised the price of the debentures by £30,000 from the £50,000 cost of the 2016-2020 passes. The increase in the price reflects strong demand on the resale market with some debentures changing hands for more than £140,000. However, the price has not increased by as much as some experts were expecting with rumours that the price might double to £100,000.
The club said it would use the money to repay a loan taken out to finance the new retractable roof on No 1 Court and to fund the £65m takeover of a neighbouring golf club to expand its corporate hospitality facilities. The All England will collect £168.8m after tax.
“Each debenture will give its registered holder the right of entrance for one person, free of charge, to the Grounds, together with the right, free of charge, to one Centre Court seat, for each of the days on which play is scheduled to take place at The Championships from 2021 to 2025 inclusive,” the club said in a statement. “In addition, each debenture will carry, on each day during The Championships from 2021 to 2025, the right of entrance for one person to the private Centre Court debenture holders’ restaurant, bar and lounge facilities.”
Debenture holders are welcomed through an exclusive entrance are shown to the private champions’ room with direct views of the outside courts. If they fancy a spot of lunch, they have exclusive access to the Courtside restaurant, which serves a menu created by the celebrity chefs Albert Roux and Bryn Williams.
Unlike most popular sports and concert tickets, there are no restrictions on the resale of debentures, which are treated as financial instruments and traded on a stock market.
Debenture owners, who can be identified in the grounds by purple lanyards around their necks, are also free to resell some or all of their tickets for each day’s play. These are often bought by corporate hospitality companies. Keith Prowse, the All England Club’s official corporate hospitality partner, is offering tickets for this year’s men’s final for this men’s final for £4,986.