Tennis Australia has confirmed that in recent years it also took the step of increasing its insurance cover.
“After Wimbledon, we were probably one of the few sporting organisations – we had pandemic insurance,” chief executive Craig Tiley told The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We had full insurance and pandemic insurance.
“But in July this year it expires.”
It’s understood Wimbledon has been paying in the range of $3 million a year since the 2002 SARS outbreak. Organisers stand to recoup more than $200 million under the policy but the losses they will incur due to not staging the tournament will far exceed that.
Tiley confirmed that negotiations between Tennis Australia and its insurer were continuing.
“We have two kinds of insurance – we have a reserve fund and then we purchased insurance on top of that. Because a reserved fund can’t cover everything,” he said.
“But now we’re in discussions with the same insurer on what the future looks like.
“And it’s interesting. Because insurers need to make a decision – will they insure against a pandemic?
“Probably is now a good time to do it [for insurers] because the world’s going to be ready for another one if there ever was one.
“After this pandemic is over, the likelihood of that happening – the way the world’s going to have to mobilise and stop it again – would be very unlikely.
“We have been covered and we have to be covered in a different way from ’21 onwards.”
With extreme uncertainty hovering over the question of when the international tennis circuit might be able to resume, Tennis Australia continues to put contingency planning in place for how January’s Australian Open might look.
Tiley confirmed that the sport’s governing body was even planning for a scenario where international tennis made its return in Melbourne after a hiatus that started in March and lasted for the rest of the year.
“We’d love that,” Tiley said. “It’s one of our scenarios.
“Another scenario is to return without a crowd – like the AFL are talking now, and the NRL.
“Another scenario is to [play] at another time of the year potentially and another scenario is the worst-case one – that there’s no Australian Open until 2022.
“We’ve got to prepare for all of them. We’ve got to build a financial model for all of them.
“The good news is that we had an event this year so we had some cash, but that dries up quickly if we have no revenue.”
Scott Spits is a sports reporter for The Age