An MCC debenture seat at Lord's? It's yours for £17,600

·4 min read
An MCC debenture seat at Lord's? It's yours for £17,600 - GETTY IMAGES
An MCC debenture seat at Lord's? It's yours for £17,600 - GETTY IMAGES

Marylebone Cricket Club has risked a fresh cost of living row by launching its most expensive Lord's debenture – up to £17,600 for a guaranteed seat across four seasons.

Outrage at Test ticket prices earlier in the summer failed to dissuade the Home of Cricket from an effective increase of £400-per-year compared with the previous advertised deal in 2020.

Two-years ago, debenture packages spanning six years were being promoted at £24,000. The new price tag of £17,600 covers only a four-year term for the "Compton and Edrich Debentures".

Hefty prices were announced just two months after thousands of tickets failed to sell for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Test between England and New Zealand amid an outcry over seats at up to £160.

MCC members were given first refusal on the new debentures from 2023 ahead of England's Test against South Africa. Opening day tickets for this week's action were still available from £70 on Tuesday night but, to the governing body's relief, there were fewer than 500 seats left in total.

Spectators will be affected later this week by rail strikes, however, and the MCC has written to its members and ticket-buyers urging them to make alternative travel plans on days two, three and four.

First refusal on the new debenture packages, meanwhile, was detailed to members in a letter from Guy Lavender, MCC's chief executive and secretary, who said the "priority period" expires on September 5.

"The support received by the club from debenture holders is fundamental to the continued development of Lord's," Lavender writes.

"Nowhere is this support more appropriately represented than within the masterplan for the development of the ground, most notably the recent redevelopment of the Compton and Edrich stands, which provide world class facilities and some of the best seats in world cricket. The phased masterplan aims to ensure that the club continues to offer visitors the very best facilities and service while preserving the unique charm and character of Lord's."

'Debentures are highly sought after'

Debentures at Lord's, Twickenham and Wimbledon have become increasingly popular in recent years, with up front investments releasing funds for the venues to upgrade facilities. Individual holders get a chance to recoup some of their investment if they choose to resell their tickets on a given day.

Construction of the Compton and Edrich Stands – where the most expensive debentures are based – was completed in the summer of 2021. In a statement sent to Telegraph Sport, the MCC defeated its pricing structure around a scheme which has "been in existence since 1987 and... grown with demand over the years".

"We currently have six different categories of debentures which would appeal to individuals at different levels," a statement says. "Outside of MCC Membership, debentures are the only way to guarantee your right to buy a ticket to all significant fixtures at Lord’s.

"With the development of the new Compton and Edrich Stands, MCC has launched two new Debenture Schemes with fantastic supporting facilities and views. These new Debenture Schemes represent two of the most premium offers at Lord’s and currently are available for a period of four cricket seasons.

"Typically, Debenture Schemes are sold over a four-year period although longer and shorter Debentures have been offered and are currently on offer. Debentures are highly sought after with many long-term Debenture Holders being a part of Lord’s."

The national rail strike is planned for Thursday and Saturday, but the most difficult day for supporters at Lord's is likely to be Friday, day three of the match, when a Tube strike will cripple London transport.

The club has negotiated extra street parking with Westminster City Council, which has agreed to relax its four-hour limit, allowing spectators to park and go to the game, but it will clearly not be enough to cope with a crowd of close to 28,000, with only a handful of seats unsold for that day.

The MCC has also announced that, should the match reach a fifth day, all tickets will be available for a donation of £5, with proceeds split equally between the Ruth Strauss Foundation and the MCC Foundation.

Lord’s will also encourage spectators to wear "Red for Ruth" on the second day’s play to help raise money for the charity set up by former England captain Sir Andrew Strauss in memory of his late wife, who passed away from a non-smoking lung cancer in December 2018 at the age of 46.