Britain’s LTA Offers $25 Million to Help UK Tennis Businesses
April 6, 2020
The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has pulled together a nearly $25 million bailout package to help the sport weather the coronavirus pandemic. The goal is to help keep clubs, coaches and tennis venues in business until the social distancing restrictions ease and business starts to get back to normal.
Some of the money for the bailout plan will come from the $81 million in reserves that have been built up from the Wimbledon tournament. Also, senior LTA executives will take 20 percent pay cut, while some of the LTA’s 282 staff will be furloughed. The LTA’s annual employment costs are about $22 million.
The LTA says it’s able to benefit from it’s overall financial position, which is bolstered every year by profits from Wimbledon. This year, however, officials say Wimbledon’s cancellation means its annual surplus of about $49 million will take a major hit.
Grassroots tennis clubs, many of which are nervous about membership renewals, will be able to tap into a hardship fund offering about $16.5 million in interest-free loans. Also among the beneficiaries of the LTA initiative will be British singles players ranked from 101 to 750 in the world. The LTA also is pledging to increase prize money at small domestic tournaments that might take place later in the year.
“This pandemic has the potential to put the continued future growth of tennis at significant risk,” LTA Chief Executive Scott Lloyd said. “We know that many involved in tennis in Britain are concerned about their futures. Announcing these unprecedented measures is to ensure clubs and venues remain viable and coaches and officials are not lost to the sport.”