Wimbledon paid pandemic insurance for almost 20 years. Now it’s getting $141 million

General Views of Sport Venues After Events Postponed Due To CoronavirusPhoto by Alex Davidson/Getty Images

The tournament’s risk and finance subcommittee insisted on a pandemic clause nearly 20 years ago.

A week after Wimbledon organizers canceled the tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic, more details have emerged about how an infectious disease clause in its insurance policy will help offset an estimated revenue loss of around £250 million.

Wimbledon is set to receive around £114 million ($141 million) from the policy, according to the Action Network, a figure in line with The Times’ reporting last week, which estimated the payout to be in excess of £100 million.

“We’re fortunate to have the insurance and it helps,” said Richard Lewis, Wimbledon’s outgoing chief executive, in an interview with 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.”

The All England Club reportedly updated its Wimbledon insurance policy years ago to include the infectious disease clause following the worldwide SARS outbreak in 2002. The Club’s risk and finance subcommittee is charged with assessing all potential risks to the annual tournament, including global pandemics, terrorist attacks and even the death of a monarch, which would thrust the country into a time of national mourning.

The recently canceled 2020 British Open is also covered by pandemic insurance.

From Golf Digest:

Part of the reason the championship is being canceled rather than postponed like the Masters and PGA Championship has to do with insurance, a source says. Similar to Wimbledon, the R&A has a policy that shields against a global pandemic, and a source indicated the Open would have to cancel by a certain date in order to collect on its insurance premium.

Other options were considered for scaled-down versions of both tournaments, but were ultimately dismissed due to the number of personnel required to pull it off, even without spectators.