Lawn Tennis Association to take out £15m overdraft to cover anticipated losses

The Lawn Tennis Association is taking out a £15m overdraft to cover anticipated losses, with income for 2020 currently down 40 per cent.

The LTA’s revenue streams have been hard hit by the cancellation of all the major grass-court events this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving the governing body £30m short.

That figure does not, though, include any money from Wimbledon. The LTA is entitled to 90 per cent of the surplus generated by the Championships, which last year was more than £45m out of a total income of £77m.

The All England Club’s foresight in taking out pandemic insurance means the LTA will not miss out entirely, although it is not yet clear what this year’s surplus figure will be.

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It is understood negotiations are at a crucial stage and the claim could shortly be concluded.

The overdraft will be secured against the LTA’s reserves, which are understood to be significantly more than £15m.

The governing body has taken steps to mitigate its losses, including making heavy use of the Government’s furlough scheme, and has so far cut more than £10m in spending in other areas.

Chief executive Scott Lloyd said: “We have already taken important steps to mitigate the environment we have faced this year and we have a plan to manage the challenges ahead. We are all working hard to ensure that tennis is in as strong a position as possible for the future.”

The LTA, which is continuing to have discussions with the Government over what support it can offer sport, has also paid out significant amounts of money to help individuals and facilities affected by the pandemic.

A major factor in the LTA’s thinking is the ongoing uncertainty about how tennis will look in 2021, with Wimbledon already planning for several scenarios, including holding the tournament behind closed doors.

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That would mean an inevitable reduction in the LTA’s income for a second year.

Lloyd said: “The AELTC are actively planning to stage The Championships 2021 based on three scenarios and we will do all we can to support them in delivering this.

“We are also doing all we can to deliver our own event calendar under very challenging circumstances, and to deliver events in a COVID-secure manner, all of which makes planning very difficult.

“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.”

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