How Can I Get Wimbledon Tickets?

••• AELTC-Bob Martin/Pool/Getty Images

Wimbledon tickets are, potentially, available to anyone. But you have to be lucky and you have to plan ahead. If you're a tennis fan and you are going to be in England at the end of June you can apply for tickets to see the lawn tennis championships at Wimbledon.   There are four ways to go after tickets. Here's how.

1. The Wimbledon Ballot

The only people who can count on Wimbledon tickets with no trouble at all are the members of the All-England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), who run the tournament.There are only a few hundred of them, and if you are reading this, I guess you're not one of them.

Almost everyone else has to take a chance in a draw following a public ballot.

Since 1924, the AELTC has sold the majority of tickets for the show courts - Centre Court and Courts 1 and 2  - in advance. Applications for the ballot for the following June and July are obtained from the club in August and must be postmarked by no later than mid December. There is a separate wheelchair ballot for show court spaces suitable for wheelchairs.

The ballot is always oversubscribed. Entering the ballot doesn't entitle you to a ticket but instead you get a place in a draw. Successful applicants are chosen at random by a computer and notified in in the February before the tournament. If you manage to win a seat,  you must accept the day and court assigned to you in the draw. Tickets can't be transferred or sold. And become invalid if they are.

To Enter the Public Ballot for Wimbledon 2018

From September 1, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) accepts applications for the public ballot from UK applicants.

To obtain an application, send in a stamped, self-addressed, DL size (4 1/4" by 8 5/8")  envelope to AELTC, P.O. BOX 98, SW19 5AE before December 15, 2016. Applications postmarked after December 15 are not processed. And callers to the office after December 15 are not given applications.

Overseas applications are taken online.

Information about how to apply for the public ballot for Wimbledon tickets from overseas are available on the AELTC website, usually from November 1.

2. Queue to Buy Tickets on the Day

If you missed the ballot for this year or you were not successful in the draw, don't despair. Anyone willing to get up early and stand in line, rain or shine, can buy tickets on the day of the matches by joining the queue. This usually involves camping out overnight, but the atmosphere in the queue is friendly and many overseas visitors enjoy the opportunity of meeting and talking tennis with other fans while waiting to get into the grounds.

Queuing for Wimbledon Tickets

Standing in line - on the day - is one of the great traditions of the tournament. Unlike many other major sports events, the organizers of Wimbledon reserve a good proportion of tickets for members of the public to buy at the gates. But you have to be patient and you have to really want those tickets.In recent years, the whole queuing process has become much more civilized, with organized camping, a wake up call and "left luggage" facilities for your camping gear.

Every day, except the last four days, 500 tickets for each of the Center and No.1, No.2 and No.3 courts are reserved for sale to the public at the turnstiles.

They cost from £56 to £190 for center court, £41 to £98 for No.1 - 3 courts depending on the day.

Another 6,000 Grounds Admission tickets are sold every day. The Grounds Admission ticket is good for the No. 2 court standing enclosure as well as unreserved seating and standing on Courts 3 to 19. Tickets cost between £8 and £25, depending on the time and day.

Each person queuing can only buy one ticket so if you've come with a partner or with family, all of you have to be in the queue. Find out more about camping and queuing for tickets here. And tickets on the day are sold for cash only - so better visit the nearest cash machine if you are aiming for one of the pricey tickets for the show courts. 

3. Hospitality Packages

Two tour operators are authorized to sell hospitality packages that, in addition to tickets, usually include food and drink, and may also include accommodations and travel arrangements.

These packages start at about £400 per person. Visitors from the the UK, Europe and the Americas can book a package through Keith Prowse, starting at £400 per person and climbing to more than £5,000 for posh seats at the final. Those from the UK, Asia and Australasia can book a package through Sportsworld, ranging from about £400 to more than £4,000 per person.

4. Daily Online Ticket Sales

Even Wimbledon is moving with the times and offering online sales. But it's only a few hundred Centre Court and Court 3 tickets and you have to be registered for the official Wimbledon email newsletter to find out about them.  The tickets are made available through Ticketmaster on the day before the day of play and sell out almost the minute they go online.