Even as a mega event like Wimbledon is already on, it seems the tournament has not attracted seats this time around as compared to the past. As per the All England Club, there were only 2,37,927 in the first week of the tournament this time as compared to the same period during the pre Covid period in 2019, when it was 2,56,808.
While the tournament was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, there was a limited number of crowds and tickets for the same reason in 2021. The 2022 figure is the second lowest after 2007 when it was 2,21,521.
Significantly, it was also the first time that the organisers extended the planned schedule to two weeks. They included the middle Sunday, which earlier used to be a rest day. Earlier, the All England Club only organised matches on middle Sunday on only four occasions- which were in 1991, 1997, 2004 and 2016. The decision to organise matches on these days was taken to cover up for lost matches in the first week due to rain.
“First year of permanent middle Sunday, so we are expecting a record crowd because of that. We’ve got that additional capacity for that day,” the Associated Press quoted Sally Bolton, CEO, All England Club, as saying when asked about the attendance. This year, only 36,603 fans turned up on the first day of the tournament as compared to the first day of 2019 when it was 42,517, which means down by 14 percent and lowest since 2007.
While there is no clarity on the reason behind the dip in attendance during the tournament, the rising cases of Covid virus could be one of the factors. Three players from the top 20 have withdrawn from Wimbledon after they were tested positive for the virus and also some key players, including Roger Federer, are missing from the tournament.