A maximum of only 1,000 spectators will be allowed each day at Roland Garros after the French government insisted Thursday on tougher restrictions to counter the resurgence of the coronavirus.
The limit of 1,000 fans a day represents less than 3% of last year’s total attendance of almost 520,000. The financial repercussions for the organizers will be huge.
In 2019, Roland Garros accounted for around 80% of the French Tennis Federation (FFT) budget — 255.4 million euros out of a total 325 million.
Ticket sales generate nearly 20% of tournament revenue.
French Open 2020 : Only 1000 spectators can attend tournament now per day
Organisers of the French Open, which gets underway four months later than planned in Paris on Sunday, had hoped for a maximum of 5,000.
That figure had already been reduced from 20,000 and then 11,500.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex insisted that the Grand Slam tournament must be subject to the same restrictions imposed Thursday on sports events taking place in designated ‘red zones’ where the coronavirus is showing signs of resurgence.
“We will apply the same rules at Roland Garros as elsewhere,” said Castex. “We go from 5,000 to 1,000.”
Sources told AFP, however, that the figure does not include credential holders such as officials, media, players and staff.
Earlier Thursday, French Open chief Guy Forget said he had hoped to protect the 5,000 limit and that the nature of the Roland Garros complex would work in the tournament’s favour.
“We are able to accommodate 5,000, as small as it is, on a 12-hectare area,” he said. “We stage the tournament on the equivalent of 15 football fields, outdoors. Everyone wears a mask, even the ball boys and girls and chair umpires.”
The limit of 1,000 fans a day represents less than 3% of last year’s total attendance of almost 520,000.
When the planned limit was 11,500 spectators, Forget estimated that “the tournament’s proceeds (would) be halved”, which corresponded to between 130 and 140 million euros.
US Open 2020 had followed no spectators rule due to Covid-19
The US Open in New York, which ended just under two weeks ago, banned all spectators from its sprawling Flushing Meadows complex.
Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since the Second World War.
Where the fans catch the FRENCH OPEN LIVE BROADCAST & LIVE STREAMING ?
In the Indian Sub-Continent, French Open will be broadcasted LIVE on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports Select 2.
The tournament will also be streamed LIVE on Disney+ Hotstar.