COVID hits French Open revenues; 2021 still on

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COVID hits French Open revenues; 2021 still on

Roland Garros organizers say they’ve not made a profit from this year’s pandemic-hit edition of the French Open that was pushed back from spring to autumn, deprived of 97% of its ticket sales and most of its spectators and is wrapping Sunday with the men’s final of Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal. As for next year, organizers are still planning to restore the Grand Slam clay-court tournament to its usual May-June slot but admit they have no visibility on whether the pandemic will allow that to happen.

“We have no crystal ball,” said Bernard Giudicelli, the French tennis federation president. “We are advancing into the unknown.” Organizers said that staging this year’s SeptemberOctober edition in the midst of the pandemic, with only 1,000 spectators allowed per day and just 3% of the usual amount of tickets sold, caused a hit of 80 million to 100 million euros ($95 million to $118 million) to the tournament’s revenues and left it earning about what it cost to hold. “We’re not making a (profit) margin,” said Jean-François Vilotte, the French federation’s director general.

Giudicelli insisted that holding the tournament in such conditions was still a “winning” choice and that it would have been “unthinkable” for 2020 to have passed without a French Open. “To be a Grand Slam is to be a pillar of the game,” he said. “The pillar held.”

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