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Tennis Australia Receives $4.5 Million Support To Hold Australian Open

T
ennis Australia received over $4.5 million last financial year in JobKeeper support, in an attempt to alleviate some of the financial strain of staging the Australian Open amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organisation has confirmed they will be dipping into their $80 million cash reserves to stage the event, and will also be seeking external credit.

Tennis Australia has been in communication with the Victorian government, and with the ATP and WTA player bodies about quarantine restrictions for the postponed event.

The Australian Open is now set to take place on February 8th, instead of the usual January slot.

Tennis Australia’s annual report showed it received $4,527,000 million in JobKeeper funds in addition to $2 million in rent relief.

The organisation became eligible for payments from the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program after reduced revenue was caused by Coronavirus restrictions.

The 2020 annual report stated: “JobKeeper eligibility was assessed and funds were received on the basis of a reduction in turnover mainly attributable to the closure of customer-facing tennis facilities around the country.”

A profit decrease was experienced from last year from $10.7 million to $4.4 million in 2019-20.

Tennis Australia is preparing for a revenue drop this summer, and growing costs due to strict quarantine requirements; despite revenue for last year reaching $456 million, including the 2020 Australian Open, which was unaffected by the pandemic.

The report stated: “The group will most likely introduce external funding in the form of a line of credit to cover the significant costs that have arisen as part of the COVID-19 response to meeting quarantine and bio-security measures for AO2021.”

“The funding is considered a medium-term liquidity measure and will assist with the retention of an adequate level of cash reserves that will be required to support the recovery of our sport post-COVID-19.

“This funding will also provide an additional safeguard in the very unlikely scenario that the summer of tennis will be significantly curtailed as a result of a new wave of COVID-19.”

“The designated amount of the reserve is currently $80 million and it is highly likely that there may be use of the reserves as the Group executes its recovery plans following the impacts of COVID-19 on the delivery of the 2021 major events.”

Channel Nine, the broadcast partner of the Australian Open, is also expected to ask for a discount due to the delay of the event.