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The All England Lawn Tennis Club has purchased pandemic insurance for 17 years at a cost of roughly $2 million per year, according to multiple reports. The Wimbledon organizers reportedly sought a pandemic insurance clause after the SARS outbreak in 2003.
The pandemic insurance policy will pay out an estimated $141 million following the decision to cancel Wimbledon, The Action Network reported. If the AFLTC had opted to postpone the tournament to later this year rather than cancel it, they would have been unable to receive the payout.
Tournament officials did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
The insurance policy should allow Wimbledon’s governing body to weather any short-term financial difficulties. The 2020 Wimbledon tournament was expected to generate more than $300 million in revenue, according to The Guardian.
AFLTC CEO Richard Lewis addressed Wimbledon’s pandemic insurance policy shortly after the decision to cancel was announced.
“We’re fortunate to have the insurance and it helps,” Lewis told The Guardian. “The insurers, the brokers and everybody involved have been excellent to work with so far, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”
Sports leagues in the U.S. and abroad were forced to suspend play in recent weeks as the coronavirus pandemic worsened. The NBA and other leagues are expected to take massive financial losses during the interruption.
The Association of Tennis Professionals and the Women’s Tennis Association have suspended tournament play through at least mid-July. Wimbledon typically runs through early July.