Wimbledon and other events left more exposed to COVID-19 risk as insurers withdraw pandemic cover, says GlobalData

Following the news that Wimbledon is not able to renew its business interruption policy with pandemic inclusion after its large payout;

Ben Carey-Evans, Insurance Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“Major events and sporting tournaments are set to face considerable risk over the next year as insurers back away from offering business insurance interruption after Wimbledon’s huge payout. Wimbledon was clearly better prepared than most other events, having had business interruption insurance with a pandemic clause in place for 25 years, however, the event’s organizers have said they will not be able to renew the same policy next year.

“Insurers withdrawing business interruption insurance comes as no surprise, given the scale of the potential costs, as seen with the payout to Wimbledon for this year’s cancellation. Wimbledon not being able to get the same level of protection exposes it to a great deal of risk next year, as COVID-19 could still prevent large gatherings in the long-term while a vaccine is found and distributed. That an event as high-profile as Wimbledon can’t renew its policy suggests it is unlikely that any major event in the UK will be able to have pandemic cover for business interruption in the immediate future, and going ahead with events before a vaccine is rolled out is extremely risky.

“Data from GlobalData’s Sportcal team shows that Wimbledon earns around $160m in media rights, $151m in sponsorship and around $52m in ticket sales annually. With the return of premier league football, the tournament is very likely to go ahead next year, so the media rights and sponsorship should be secure. However, capacity crowds may be ambitious, even by next June, so the $52m already looks at risk for next year’s tournament.”

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