Wimbledon to receive $141M payout for pandemic insurance it has been paying for 17 years

The world's oldest tennis tournament is set to recoup $141 million after its 2020 edition got scrapped because of the outbreak, straight after its last cancellation due to World War II


                            Wimbledon to receive $141M payout for pandemic insurance it has been paying for 17 years
(Getty Images)

Like many other international sporting events, Wimbledon has also been canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one striking aspect of the world’s oldest tennis tournament is that it was far more prepared than most organizations to deal with the outbreak. Turns out, over the last 17 years, it has paid $2 million a year in 'pandemic insurance' to prevent a situation like the current one that saw its cancelation -- for the first time since the Second World War (1939-45).

It is now due to receive a pandemic insurance package worth $141 million.

The unique insurance that most would have never foreseen was first highlighted by The Times, UK, in late March and it helped the All England Lawn Tennis Club to reduce its financial loss. “The inevitable cancellation of Wimbledon this week will not mean a significant financial loss for the All England Club because of their foresight to take out insurance that covers global pandemics,” the report added. 

However, according to one report cited by the Boston Globe, the tournament was expected to earn a revenue of $309 million in this year’s edition which means its loss will still be significant. Nevertheless, the decision of the Wimbledon authorities to shell out such a big amount per year as a cover against a possible catastrophe that very few would have imagined remains a puzzle for many. 

One report in Zero Hedge said over the past two decades or so, most public firms looked for ways to remain unhedged and buy back as much stock as possible and cut their budgets. Wimbledon yet stuck to its pandemic insurance plan. 

'Wimbledon predicted pandemic outbreak'

Last month, German Tennis Federation Vice President Dick Horsdorff told Sky Sports: “Wimbledon was probably - as the only Grand Slam tournament many years ago predictive enough to insure itself against a worldwide pandemic, so that the financial damage should be minimized there.”

Serbian Novak Djokovic was looking to make a hat-trick of crowns at the Wimbledon this year but coronavirus pandemic ruined his plans (Getty Images)

Wimbledon, which started in the year 1877, has seen disruption in history on only two occasions. It was not held between 1915 and 1918 because of the First World War and then for six years between 1940 and 1945 because of the next big war. This is the first time that the tournament is not being held because of a peace-time crisis. 

The event was set to be held between June 29 and July 12 this year with Serbian ace Novak Djokovic eyeing his third consecutive crown after 2018 and 2019.
 
The British foresightedness was also seen in the arena of golf. The Action Network reported that Royal & Ancient, which oversees the British Open golf competition, has pandemic insurance as well and it allowed the organizers to scrap this year’s edition which was scheduled to be held at Royal St George’s Golf Club, Kent, England between July 16 and 19, USA Today said. The last time the Open was not held was during the Second World War. 

The outbreak of the pandemic has hit the UK hard with over 65,000 people getting affected, including the country’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, while nearly 8,000 have died.

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