British tennis denies conflict of interest over LTA chief’s business links with new Queen’s sponsor cinch – after spirit mixer Fever Tree are abruptly axed in favour of online car seller
- LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd has close business links with TDR Capital
- The private equity business is the parent company of new Queen’s backer cinch
- However, the LTA has denied that there is any conflict of interest at play
- Andy Murray is among those competing at the west London grass-court event
The quintessentially English warm-up event for Wimbledon at Queen’s Club has a new sponsor this year in an abrupt change of direction.
Out have gone upmarket spirit mixer Fever Tree and in have come cinch, the online car seller whose public face is reality TV star Rylan Clark Neal.
The parent company of cinch is private equity business TDR Capital, who have close business links with Scott Lloyd, the chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association, who run next week’s ATP tournament.
Cinch has been brought in as the new main sponsor at the expense of Fever Tree
TV presenter Rylan Clark-Neal is the face of Queen’s sponsor and online car seller cinch
Despite his role running British tennis, Lloyd continues to be a director of David Lloyd Leisure, which is also owned by TDR Capital.
However, a spokesperson for the LTA strongly emphasised that these links had no connection to the new title sponsorship of what is the LTA’s most prestigious tournament property.
‘The reality is that there was a comprehensive search for a new title sponsor and cinch were chosen as the tournament title sponsor purely because they were the best fit for our vision of tennis opened up and put forward the best financial offer,’ said the spokesperson.
‘These are the only reasons for their selection and the support they provide will help British tennis at a time of significant financial challenges.
Andy Murray practises at the London venue ahead of his match with Benoit Paire on Tuesday
‘We have had a longstanding positive relationship with cinch’s parent company and founder/Chairman, who have been a sponsor of Queens since 2018 and supported county tennis for over 15 years, whilst TDR have been an investor in cinch’s parent company since late 2019.’
Lloyd’s continuing directorship of David Lloyd Leisure — the company originally founded by his father — is considered acceptable by the LTA, despite it being a huge private operator of tennis facilities within the UK.
The sport sponsorship market is particularly difficult at the moment and the title of other pre-Wimbledon events run by the LTA have been sold to a very different type of business to cinch — Viking UK, the cruise company who appeal more to an elderly demographic.