The BNP Paribas Open, which was the primary main American sports event to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, introduced its comeback on Thursday.
The celebrated tennis match, staged yearly in Indian Wells, Calif., was not held in 2020 and was postponed this 12 months from its common dates in March.
However after intensive negotiations with skilled tennis’s quite a few stakeholders, the occasion will likely be held in October. The exact dates haven’t been decided as a result of the lads’s and ladies’s excursions will not be set to finalize their late-season calendars till June. However Tommy Haas, a former participant who directs the match, mentioned the BNP Paribas Open can be staged with full prize cash. The figures for this 12 months aren’t set, however the 2020 prize cash was presupposed to be $1.36 million for every singles champion.
Many tennis occasions have lowered prize cash throughout the pandemic due to the lack of ticket and sponsorship income. The Miami Open, which was held in March after being canceled in 2020, slashed its compensation. Singles champions earned $1.35 million in 2019 however simply $300,000 in 2021. The drastic cuts prompted complaints from John Isner, the 2018 men’s winner, and different gamers in regards to the transparency of the decision-making course of.
However Haas mentioned the BNP Paribas Open was dedicated to sustaining prize cash at its customary ranges.
“I feel that’s one thing the gamers are going to be actually, actually comfortable about,” Haas mentioned in a videoconference name on Thursday. “That’s the way it must be. They’ve gone by way of clearly some onerous instances. Their schedule has been kind of the other way up with journey restrictions and making an attempt to be in a single bubble after one other. I’m hoping that issues will likely be a bit simpler come October taking part in for the prize cash that we predict they deserve.”
The BNP Paribas Open, owned by the American billionaire Larry Ellison, is especially well-liked with gamers due to its desert location, intensive amenities and relaxed ambiance. It has turn into essentially the most vital tennis occasion exterior the 4 Grand Slam tournaments and the season-ending championships for the ATP and the WTA.
“As a German-American citizen, I’m going to name it my very own little Oktoberfest this 12 months, which goes to be nice, particularly since Munich already needed to cancel,” mentioned Haas, referring to the annual German festival that will not be staged this 12 months.
The 2020 BNP Paribas Open was canceled simply forward of the qualifying match in March after a coronavirus case was detected within the space and Riverside County, Calif., public well being officers declared a state of emergency. Many gamers, together with the Spanish star Rafael Nadal, have been already on website. The choice got here so swiftly that many gamers and officers discovered by way of social media.
“As quickly as we canceled, we went to work the subsequent day to see how we have been going to deliver this again,” mentioned Philippe Dore, the match’s media and advertising and marketing director. “I feel we’re on our Model 25 of budgets and completely different eventualities.”
Greater than 450,000 spectators attended the occasion in 2019, and Haas mentioned he hoped to have a lot of followers once more in October. California has been loosening pandemic-related restrictions in sure counties and is aiming to fully reopen its economy subsequent month. Tickets for the BNP Paribas Open are tentatively scheduled to go on sale June 21.
“We’re going to observe all the rules,” Haas mentioned. “Security is clearly the very best concern. It comes first, and we need to ensure that everybody could be very, very snug.”