The Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) income has dropped by approximately £30million as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – a dip of 40%.
British tennis took a major hit last summer with the entire grass-court calendar wiped out, including Queen’s and Wimbledon.
The LTA has suffered a loss of ticket, hospitality and sponsorship revenue, although has cut back spending of £10million across other parts of the organisation.
Uncertainty remains, however, on the financial impact the Covid-19 crisis will have on British tennis next year.
All England Club chiefs are actively planning for the 2021 Championships based on three broad scenarios: operating at full capacity, at reduced capacity and no capacity.
As previously reported, there will be no pandemic insurance in 2021, and Wimbledon played behind closed doors would have a significant impact on the tournament’s surplus that is sent to the LTA to support British tennis. The claim from this year’s Championships is still ongoing but should provide significant funds for the governing body.
LTA chiefs are taking a prudent approach to the coming year and have taken out a £15m overdraft facility secured against its reserves to provide a financial safety net.
The organisation has taken advantage of the extension of the furlough scheme, with 15% of staff currently unable to work at present due to restrictions imposed by the government around tennis activity.
LTA CEO Scott Lloyd said: ‘Given the significant range in financial implications within these scenarios, with the behind closed doors scenario as the most severe, it is our responsibility to plan very carefully and continue to take a prudent approach.
‘We also have to bear in mind that whatever form the events go ahead in, it is likely the economic outlook will remain difficult and the market for sponsorship and hospitality will remain depressed for a number of years.’
Mervyn Davies, chairman of the LTA, added: ‘This has been a very challenging time for the whole country and everyone involved in our sport.
‘The future remains very uncertain and so the Board and I are taking a prudent approach to ensure that the LTA is well placed to weather whatever 2021 may bring. We are committed to doing all we can to support tennis and the whole tennis community.’
Tennis chiefs, alongside other sporting bodies, are still pushing the government for a sports recovery fund, which could provide a further avenue of financial support.
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