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Wimbledon sales fall short of expectations despite record attendance

Wimbledon attracted a record number of attendees during the 2022 championships despite missing sales targets by 25,000.

The All England Club posted a total attendance of 515,164 – the most in Wimbledon’s 145-year history – during the first scheduled 14-day tournament. That beat both the 2009 record of 511,043 and the only other time that the half million mark was surpassed in 2019 when 500,397 watched what was a 13-day tournament.

The extra day of play in 2022 created hopes of total attendances in the region of 540,000, but ground passes did not sell as well as expected, particularly in the first days of the tournament. Wimbledon organisers are reported to be considering a change to the famous Queue system to combat the drop in attendance, after empty seats on Centre Court plagued the first week of matches.

Sally Bolton, the All England Club chief executive, said that an extensive review of ticketing, announced earlier this month, would focus on the lost numbers of walk-up fans, as a record number of premium tickets were sold.

“We are not jumping to conclusions,” she said, according to The Telegraph. “Demand for all our show-court tickets is as high as it has ever been. Where demand is softer is at the end of the queue.

“It’s ground tickets that would usually be sold from lunchtime onwards. The world has changed. All of our behaviours have changed. For many years we were challenged with excessive numbers of people joining the queue and being able to accommodate them in the park. We have this delicate balance of promoting the queue but not finding ourselves where we are turning people away.

“We want to protect the existence of the queue, we just want to make sure we are being thoughtful about how we evolve it and making sure it continues to be relevant and attractive to people.”

The All England Club is expected to make part of the queue ‘virtual’, with other changes including sending alerts to fans during matches to offer an upgrade to a frontline view.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon officials have confirmed that the online ballot will return for 2023 as ticket provisions return to normality for next year’s event.

The Wimbledon Public Ballot, first launched in 1924, gives tennis fans the opportunity to give their details and hope to be pulled out of the hat for tickets.

Fans must set up a myWIMBLEDON account and ensure they have selected they are interested in tickets and ballots in their consent and preferences area. Entry into the Ballot does not automatically entitle applicants to tickets, but to a place in the draw.

“The Wimbledon Public Ballot is intended to be the fairest means of obtaining tickets for The Championships,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

The ballot’s return comes after Wimbledon was impacted by poor turnout during 2022 with empty seats visible on show courts for much of the tournament.

After two years of Covid impacting the championships schedule and crowd attendance, the ballot was not run in 2022. The Queue and Ticket Resale returned in 2022 for on-day sales.

Guests who were successful in the 2020 Wimbledon Public Ballot and took up their ticket offer were offered the same day and court for 2022. Tickets were distributed via the official Wimbledon Mobile Apps on iOS and Android which was updated for release in the spring of 2022.

Image: Shep McAllister on Unsplash

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