Forget the weather, corporate hospitality is bugbear for those queueing at Wimbledon
Following stints with Reuters and the Press Association, Martin Hickman joined The Independent as a news editor in 2001. He became the Consumer Affairs Correspondent in September 2005 and has run the paper's trenchant campaigns on packaging, bank charges and factory-farmed chicken. He writes on subjects as diverse as food, finance, energy and fashion. With Tom Watson, he is author of a new book on the phone hacking scandal, Dial M for Murdoch - News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain.
Monday 25 June 2012
As they sheltered from the west London drizzle yesterday, tennis fans camping outside the All England Club in Wimbledon for day tickets were not moaning about the weather. They were frustrated at the number of seats diverted to corporate customers.
"It really annoys me. They've got fantastic tickets and they won't even watch the match," protested Mark Martin, who travelled 500 miles from his home in the Scottish Highlands with the hope of seeing the world's tennis stars in action at first hand.
Christopher Kirk, 59, third in the queue, said: "They're not here for the tennis, they're here for smoked salmon sandwiches. The fans don't get a look in. "
Corporate hospitality tickets are still available for every day of the Wimbledon tennis championship beginning today – for thousands of pounds. Wimbledon's two official corporate hospitality providers, Keith Prowse and Sportsworld, were advertising packages for every day of the fortnight.
Up to £1,000 secures a day's access to the grass courts of SW19 this week, with the most expensive ticket – for the men's finals, including a three-course meal designed by Albert Roux – costing £3,950.
An unofficial provider offered The Independent an even more expensive ticket for the men's final on 8 July: £3,845 plus VAT, which works out at £4,615.
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