I’m trying not to complain too much because I’m so grateful that I have my health, my job and my family is safe and healthy right now too. But holy hell, I miss going to gym. I miss watching new tennis too. I’m going f–king crazy with the lack of tennis! Indian Wells (the BNP Paribas Open) was the first tournament to cancel in early March. Over the next few weeks, tournaments cancelled (or postponed) through June. This week, Wimbledon became the latest tennis tournament to cancel because of the pandemic. Wimbledon was scheduled to begin on June 29th (and go on for a fortnight). With Wimbledon’s cancellation, the tours announced that they were suspended until July 13th. Will we actually have new tennis this summer at all? Will the US Open (scheduled to begin in late August) actually happen? I think people are waiting to see what April looks like, maybe even May.
What’s sort of interesting about these cancellations is the money aspect – the French Open deciding to postpone their June tournament until September/October was mostly a money call, because the Slams generate a huge amount of income (through ticket sales and TV rights) and because they cost a lot to put on. They’re a huge deal, and it’s a huge deal that Wimbledon cancelled this year’s tournament. It’s the first time they’ve had to cancel since World War II. But unlike the French Open, Australian Open and US Open, it seems like the All-England Club was actually prepared, money-wise, for this mess to happen:
Earlier this week, it was announced that Wimbledon would be cancelled for the first time since the Second World War, in a move that looked like ‘game, set and match’ against the All England Club. Although, it seems that is not so, since the club has insurance that covers infectious diseases and is in the process of putting together a claim potentially in excess of £100 million.
Richard Lewis, the All England Club chief executive told the Times, that it was concerns about the Sars outbreak in 2003 that prompted officials to ask for a virus-related clause. The club’s foresight, the only one of the four grand slams to have such a measure in place, is in contrast to the French Open’s lack of preparations. The French Tennis Federation admitted that its desperation to reschedule the tournament from May to September was because it was about to lose £230 million.
The circumstances surrounding the decision not to hold Wimbleon are enough to trigger the All England Club’s insurance policy, which is understood to cost close to £1.5 million a year. Ongoing discussions will determine the exact amount of compensation. While £250 million of revenue was expected, the payout will be lower because the club will not have to bear the costs of staff, construction and £40 million in prize money.
The All-England Club literally had pandemic insurance, when will your fave?? You know the other Slams were laughing at the British bloke for paying £1.5 million a year in insurance, but who’s laughing now? Seriously though, do you think the club will actually get that £100 million insurance payout? Someone at the insurance company is sweating bullets right now.
Also, regarding the French Open and the money they’re scared of losing… they spent months and months rebuilding and reorganizing the Roland Garros facilities, including an entire demolition and rebuild of Court Chatrier. Is that why the French Tennis people are so anxious? Because they spent too much money to change their facilities and they were expecting to price-gauge everyone this year to make up for it?
Also, no royals in the Royal Box at the All-England this year. I feel like screaming into a pillow!
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.