The Best Ways To See The Tennis At Wimbledon (Tickets Or Otherwise!)

We can hardly believe it, but it’s that time of year again; when strawberries, cream and camping on the streets of one of London’s leafy western suburbs temporarily usurp football and the queen as Britains most quintessential symbols.
That’s right, the dull thud of lime-green felt-lined balls means Wimbledon is back!

 

The Championships are a strangely unique event in today’s modern sporting calendar. The completely different nature of the event to any other sporting championship makes for a great spectacle; but it does mean getting into to actually
WATCH the tennis can be utterly confounding.

 

Luckily, provided you’re willing to jump a few hoops (one way or another), there’s actually a number of different ways to ensure you’ll get to be a part of the action in the next fortnight. Below we’ve listed some of the best ways to
get through those gates – along with a few more creative ones dreamed up by us!*

 

1 Ballot

If you’re reading this, then you’re a tad late to enter the ticket ballot. By about 6 months. Yes, the ballot is very much for the early birds, and the proactive early birds at that. Sometime between the September and December of each
year, you’ll have to write to the All English Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) with a stamped, self-addressed envelope, requesting a Public Ballot application form. Once you recieve this, you’ll have to fill it out and send THAT off as well,
before 31st December. You then have to wait for the ballots to be drawn (through February to June), and if you’re very lucky (on average about 1 in 10 applications receives tickets) you will find yourself eligible to purchase a couple
of tickets for a randomly chosen day.

So yes, a pretty arduous option…but one that can yield tickets to the Centre Court final…how lucky are you feeling?

 

2 The Queue

If you’re going to really DO Wimbledon, The Queue is pretty much an essential experience, and – provided the rains hold off – a great deal of fun. The Wimbledon Championships remains probably the sole major UK sporting event for which
you can buy tickets at the gate on the day – 500 tickets respectively are made available for Centre Court, Court 1 and Court 2, with another few thousand available for the Ground (more on that in a bit).

Unfortunately you won’t be the only person in London planning to get in this way; and from this ‘The Queue’ has become something of a deeply-held tradition. The hardcore arrive with their tents and camping sacks one or even two days
before – the rest arrive sometime between 3am and 7am, ready for the entry at 9:30am. If you fancy a later start, or some casual viewing after work, the queue can also be joined after 5pm each day, when reduced price evening tickets are
available (and starting at £14, are one of the cheapest ways to see something of the day’s play).

 

 

3 Online

Similar to the Olympics ticketing system, it’s certainly more than case of logging on several months in advance and grabbing yourself some tickets. One or two days before the event, Ticketmaster release a few hundred tickets on their
site (at 9am sharp; no messing about), which will be snapped up almost immediately, so be ready to grab what you can. A number of other sites also have tickets available for particular days, although you’ll have to be willing to pay for
them, as this is one of the most expensive options going.

 

 

4 Ticket Resale Kiosk

A long shot for tickets to the main courts, but one of the cheapest and most rewarding; every day a number of people will leave their seats in these key courts before the end of play (often the corporates or debenture holders busy
entertaining), leaving their seats free for the remainder of the day. These seats are then resold at £10/ticket, with all the takings going to charity.

You’ll have to start by getting hold of a Grounds ticket, and getting into the Club. Once in, head to the ticket resale kiosk (and expect a queue). There’s no set time for tickets to become available (nor any guarantee they will); so
you’re really taking your chances – get a Pimms or some strawberries and get comfy! If you luck-in, you could end up with some of the best seats in the house!

 

 

5 Debentures & Corporate

Either the most expensive, or cheapest way to get to the tennis, depending on how you get there. 26% of Wimbledon’s Centre Court is allocated either to Debentures holders or Corporate Hospitality, so there’s plenty of opportunity to get
yourself in, depending on how you play your cards.

Debentures holders have their seats for five years (and pay a handsome sum for the priviledge). However, the seats are theirs to do with as they please, and any day they aren’t at the Championships they are able to sell their seats on
along with the superb hospitality that comes with them. Definitely priced at the premium-end of the spectrum, the debentures seats are some of the best in the house…but at up to £4000/ticket for the finals, they’re priced beyond most
people’s capabilities.

Corporate seats are also some of the best in the stadium, and will inevitably come with a lavish spread put out in the gazebos elsewhere in the grounds. Various large companies and ticket agencies have special allocations for corporate
hospitality; so think through your business contacts for any strong links at the big corporates, and drop lines in about your love of tennis in amongst communications throughout the year. Should they have their business instincts
switched on, you could well find yourself being whisked to Wimbledon by private car, for a day of wining and dining – and perhaps even a little bit of tennis!

 

 

6 Friends

Got any friends or contacts working in a big corporate, or with strong tennis interests? Try and swing Wimbledon into a discussion with them, and hear what they say. Whether they are part of a corporate team and have space for a +1 on
the business trip, or wealthy sport afficianados whose friends have offered them their debentures seats for a few days; the degrees of separation mean you can never be far from somebody who might have access to the courts – and space
for an entertaining friend. Time to be creative.

(Bonus points if you can find a friend actually PLAYING in the tournament).

 

 

7 Hospitality & Tour Packages

Love tennis enough to make a holiday of Wimbledon. These companies will take care of everything. Just hand them your chequebook.

 

 

8 Join the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA)

One for those of you who actually play tennis; joining the LTA costs about £25/year, but gives you access to additional ballot draws for tickets to the show (upping your odds of getting tickets to about 1 in 5); as well as all sorts of
benefits for playing tennis with friends. Furthermore, your local tennis club might have its own arrangements/seats available for the Championships; so could provide another way in.

 

 

9 Work It

If it’s just the atmosphere you’re looking for, joining the catering, driving or security teams can be a good way of getting deep into the Wimbledon experience. You’ll work long hours, for not much pay, but it allows you to experience
the event from start to finish.

Staff members higher up the rankings have access to seats inside the main courts; so should you be an umpire or honorary steward (or know someone who is), a seat with a view is a relatively high possibility.

 

 

10 Entering

A pretty bold move. You’ll have to submit your application to the Club, who can determine direct ‘wild card’ entrants to the tournament. These players can be individuals who would ‘stimulate public interest in Wimbledon by
participating’…interpret that as you will.

 

11 Being the Paramedic/Sound Guy/Celebrity

Definitely not one to make you any friends, but who knows; it might just be mad enough to work. Wimbledon loves celebrities, after all. We suggest you wear your trainers for when the ruse is up, mind.

 

 

12 This

Zero queues, zero ticket costs, maximum attention, and only a small risk of a violent death. Can’t poke any holes in this one.

 

 

*We REALLY don’t recommend you try these; they’ll probably end you up with a ban from the Club, or worse, a chat with the lovely officers of the local Police station. It’s on you! Still, better than a ticket tout, right?

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