Why are there empty seats in Wimbledon and how much are centre court tickets? Plus details on the Wimbledon ballot

Fans are noticing the amount of empty seats in Wimbledon this year

Empty seats in Wimbledon
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The much-loved tournament is back at full capacity for the first time since 2019 but viewers at home can't help but notice a large number of empty seats in Wimbledon.

While queues have returned to Wimbledon for the first time since the pandemic, attendance has been lower than expected. Organisers had expected 42,000 spectators daily - the maximum capacity - but many seats have been left empty. A lack of bums on seats has even been the case for big matches featuring England's Emma Raducanu (opens in new tab) and Sir Andy Murray (opens in new tab) - who sadly both exited the competition on day three.

So why are there empty seats in Wimbledon this year and could you afford a Centre Court ticket? We share everything you need to know.

Why are there empty seats at Wimbledon?

There's no concrete answer as to why there are so many empty seats at Wimbledon 2022, but factors such as Covid-19, poor weather, ticket prices and luxury hospitality options have been cited as possible reasons for the lack of attendance.

One theory suggests that the smaller numbers at Wimbledon this year could be down to price of tickets. Many fans are shunning the premium tickets, which cost up to £95.

Amid the cost of living crisis, only 36,603 fans attended the first day while 39,450 went on the second and it's thought the pricey tickets may be to blame. Another potential reason for the smaller numbers is the fact that fan favourite Roger Federer isn't competing this year due to injury.

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One other theory over the empty seats in Wimbledon is that hospitality ticket holders are skipping the tennis matches in favour of "wining and dining."

The seats, which are located around the Royal Box, are believed to be reserved for corporate guests and members of the Lawn Tennis Association (opens in new tab) (LTA) and All England Lawn Tennis Club (opens in new tab).

Paul Miller, the founder of Eden Mill, the official gin partner to the LTA, described the benefits of having a hospitality ticket. He told the Guardian (opens in new tab): "The ability to have the peaceful little bit of time away from all the hubbub around Wimbledon where there’s a lot of noise and a lot of action going on and being able to step outside and be looked after for a brief time in between matches in that [hospitality] area."

He added: “The ability to be able to drop in and drop out of the tennis, see as much or as little as you want, and also in our case where we’re hosting a lot of guests – to be able to allow them to do as they wish.”

However, the empty seats could also simply be because of COVID-19 fears and the wet weather the UK is currently experiencing.

Are seats allocated at Wimbledon?

How seats are allocated at Wimbledon depends partly on how you got your ticket. If you apply for a ticket through the public ballot and your application is successful, you will be notified of the court number, date and seat number of your ticket.

The AELTC allocates around 500 tickets (per court) for Centre Court, Court No. 1 and Court No.2 for each day of play for the Wimbledon Queue. Seat numbers are not known until they are allocated to people in the queue on a first come first served basis.

Debenture Ticket seats offer the best views of Centre Court or No. 1 Court and are the only tickets that are allowed to be bought, sold or swapped. 

The Debenture Office allocates specific seat numbers in May before the Tournament. If you have a Debenture Ticket before this date, your seat will be automatically assigned and you could end up on any of the Debenture seat rows - over the side-line or baseline.

Once seats are allocated, many specific seat tickets are bought, sold and swapped between ticket holders.

Take a look at the seating plan for Wimbledon to find out exactly which ticket will give you which seat.

How much is a seat on Centre Court at Wimbledon?

Centre court tickets for Wimbledon are the most expensive, costing up to £240. The cheapest centre court tickets come in at £70, while mid range tickets can cost anything from £90 to £200.

The centre court tickets for Wimbledon will cost the lower price of £70 on the first two days of the tournament and rise to £240 for the final. The prices for the first week fluctuate between £70 and £115. The price will then rise to £140 on the second Monday, up to £200 on the Friday and Saturday before the final.

Ground passes for Courts 1, 2 and 3 are available via the queue and cost around £20. Prices for court 3 begin from £44.

Wimbledon tickets: How does the Wimbledon ballot work?

The Wimbledon ballot is public and open to everyone, so anyone is in with a a chance of bagging tickets. There's no charge to enter the ballot, but if you're offered the chance to buy, you can only purchase a maximum of two tickets and you have to pay upfront immediately to reserve them. 

You can enter the ballot for Wimbledon tennis tickets via the official Wimbledon site.

There was no ballot for the 2022 tournament, as it was carried over from the cancelled 2020 competition.

All completed ballot applications for the 2023 season must be received by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) by 30th December 2022. The ballot is only open for a limited period, and successful applicants will be notified of their ticket allocation from February 2023 onwards.

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Alternatively, if you still want tickets for this year's tournament, you can still join The Wimbledon Queue.

The AELTC says "The Queue is a Wimbledon institution, an orderly, sunny-natured party on the move, where the timeless tournament spirit descends in the form of order maintained by cheery Honorary Stewards according to the Queue’s own Official Code of Conduct (no smoking, no gazebos, no food deliveries, music or ball games after 10pm)."

The famous queue is somewhat of a social event, with many taking tents and camping out overnight to be at the front of the line.

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Robyn Morris
Robyn Morris

Robyn is a freelance celebrity journalist with ten years experience in the industry. While studying for a degree in Media and Cultural Studies at London College of Communication, she did internships at Now and Heat magazines. After graduating, she landed a job at Star magazine, where she worked her way up to features editor. She then worked at Future as Deputy Celebrity Content Director across Woman, Woman’s Own, Woman’s Weekly and Woman & Home magazines.