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SBD Global/April 28, 2014/Finance

Wimbledon Almost Doubles Centre Court Tickets To $84,020 To Pay Off Loan

It will soon cost twice as much for centre court tickets at Wimbledon.
Wimbledon "has almost doubled prices for a guaranteed seat on Centre Court" to raise £100M ($168M) "to pay off a loan on the roof over its main stadium and refurbish the site in southwest London," according to Danielle Rossingh of BLOOMBERG. The All England Lawn Tennis Ground, which owns the grounds of the world’s only grass-court tennis major, said that it "will issue 2,500 Centre Court debenture tickets" at a price of £50,000 ($84,020) each for '16-20. That is 80% more than in the previous sale, when the debentures -- which gives the right to a reserved seat on Centre Court for every day of the tournament in the five-year period, as well as car parking and access to the debenture holders’ restaurants and bars -- were priced at £27,750 for '11-15, and the club raised £60M. The money "will be used to pay off" a £35M ($58.8M) balance on a loan taken out "to fund the construction of a retractable roof over Centre Court." It "will also invest in improvements on its site at London’s Church Road, where it has been located since 1922." Centre Court debentures, which are sold every five years, "were first marketed by the All England Club in 1920 to pay for the construction of what’s become the world’s most famous tennis court" (BLOOMBERG, 4/25). ESPN's Darren Rovell reported the increase is "partly due to the club's desire" to repay a loan. But it is also because such a raise "is reasonable given what happened last year." Some tickets to the men's final, where Andy Murray became the first man from the U.K. to win the tournament in 77 years, sold for more than $20,000 each. Spread out over five years, each Centre Court ticket from '16-20 will cost approximately $1,300 per tournament day. With each debenture "comes a free pass for another person to enter the Wimbledon grounds and the right for the seat holder to dine in a private Centre Court restaurant and use its bar and lounge facilities" (ESPN, 4/25).
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