All the people I talked to got company tickets, press tickets or got the tickets through a ballot of their local Richard Wagner society. I did encounter several people at the ticket office intending to apply for tickets later this year, though.
Now, this is by no means a scientifically valid survey as the demographic segments of the audience I spoke to are not representative of the mean Bayreuth-goer (younger and better looking, obviously....), however it offers an indication as to why the waiting time for ordinary tickets is so long: Simply because there may be relatively few tickets available for general audiences. To be fair, I do not know the exact percentage of tickets available for those applying by mail, but beforehand I imagined it to be close to 100%. Now I imagine it to be closer to 50%.
Which is not an intended criticism of the Festival management, since sponsor and press tickets are an inevitable part of running a business.