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Wimbledon fans accuse All England Club of greed over doubling of prices for debenture seats

May 02, 2016 | 09:37 AM

Wimbledon fans have reportedly accused the All England Club of "greed" after prices for debenture seats more than doubled.

For the five years from 2017, the price for debentures for No 1 Court went from 13,700 to 31,000. Centre Court debentures for June to 2020, which were all snapped up in 2014, shot up from 27,500 to 50,000.

Critics say the price hike for the 1,000 seats will mean many current debenture holders will be priced out of the market.

"There has been a loyal following of middle-class people with debentures, especially on No 1 Court, who will feel this is just too much," one debenture holder told The Times.

"This is pure greed by the All England Club - they are now just targeting the money-no-object Russian oligarchs, the City traders and the corporate hospitality brigade and I think they may struggle to sell them all."

According to the prospectus, debenture holders have "helped to shape the future of the court and The Championships, culminating in the addition of the retractable roof on No.1 Court".

The roof is expected to be ready in time for The Championships in 2019. Until then, debenture holders, who are are guaranteed a seat for the first 10 days of the tournament, are at the mercy of the weather as there are no refunds if a day is rained off, unlike with standard tickets.

An All England Club spokesman told the newspaper: "We understand that not everybody will be happy with it but we think it still represents good value especially when you think debenture holders have the right to sell their tickets on.

"There is a balance, but it also helps keep the cost of the tickets for the general public down and is helping fund the roof. We have never had any public money for these upgrades, it has always been private money."

Unlike standard tickets, debenture seats can be resold on secondary markets, meaning holders can often make significant returns on their investment if they choose to sell.

In 2013, for example, prices soared on online ticketing websites, with a record 71,000 listing for two debenture seats on site Viagogo for the final between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.

The sharp price rise didn't deter applicants almost two years ago when an oversubscribed debenture issue for Centre Court netted the All England Club 103.5 million.

The Telegraph - Chris Graham

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