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SBD Global/June 27, 2013/Events and Attractions
Wimbledon Start Sees Empty Seats, Drawing Criticism Of Corporate Sponsors
Published June 27, 2013
HAVES AND HAVE-NOTS: In London, Jonathan Liew wrote to an increasing degree, Wimbledon "is a place of haves and have-nots." It is "common for debenture holders and corporate ticket-holders to arrive late or leave early, or fail to turn up at all." All of which "adds up to swathes of empty seats, just when the majority of television viewers are tuning in." Head across the road, however, and you "will find thousands of people who would gladly pay to fill those seats." You "join us now at the head of the famous Wimbledon queue, where the determined and the demented camp out for days in the hope of laying their hands on Centre Court tickets." The All England Club points out that corporate tickets "are limited as far as possible." On Centre Court, for example, public sales account for 53% of tickets, debenture holders 17% and hospitality 9%, with the rest "distributed among schools, players, officials, media and the Royal Box." It also "points to the established resale system, by which spectators leaving the grounds put their used tickets in red boxes by the exit." Their seats are then sold for £5 ($7.70), with "proceeds going to charity." It is "a nice system, and almost unique among major sporting events." But it "does not account for those who arrive late, or fail to show" (TELEGRAPH, 6/26).