Roland-Garros limited the damage to the reception of the public

Just appointed to the general management of the French tennis federation, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra experienced a cold sweat, unrelated to her former career as a professional player. After having given up the courts for the benches of the ENA, this former senior executive in the mass distribution became acquainted with the ERPPA (establishments open to the public).

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This complicated acronym applies in the sports field to stadiums and fan zones and responds to specific rules set out by the government. Until June 8, the public is admitted up to 35% of the maximum capacity limited to 1,000 people with a curfew at 9 p.m. From the 9, the gauge rises to 65% within the limit of 5 000 people with postponement of the curfew to 11 p.m.

120,000 tickets on sale compared to 500,000 in 2019

The former enarque, assisted by an army of lawyers and architects, grabbed his calculator and his double decimeter to divide the perimeter of Roland Garros into six ERPPAs, which makes it possible to multiply the stake. The center court has therefore become an ERPPA on its own, like Suzanne Lenglen, Simonne Mathieu, courts 2 to 5, 6 to 9, and 10 to 16.

Result, 5,388 people will be able to be together in the stadium until May 8, a little more than 13,000 thereafter for the last three days. The whole subject to the presentation by the spectators of a health pass, in the form of a test or a certificate of vaccination.

If we are far from the 38,000 spectators per day of 2019, a record year, the 2021 edition will avoid the disaster of the stands and empty boxes of 2020. A little less than 120,000 tickets will be on sale, against 500,000 in 2019 , with a shortfall of around 150 million euros, which will be lacking in the coming seasons for the help of local clubs, training, high level. ” This is very significant compared to a normal edition. There will be very important work on cleaning up the financial situation, Roland-Garros being the economic heart of French tennis ”, she says.

The bet of delaying the tournament by a week to try to stick to the deconfinement calendar has therefore paid off. Even if it means tightening the accounting bolts as much as possible, except the most important: the money of the players, many of whom have suffered a difficult year, with bonuses halved on most tournaments. If all the gains paid to players have fallen slightly (34.3 million euros for 2021), the most fragile have been preserved. The sums allocated to players eliminated in qualifying or in the first round have not changed, nor those for wheelchair tennis.

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“It’s a big effort, because Roland-Garros was the only grand slam affected two years in a row by the Covid”, points out Tournament Director Guy Forget. Canceled in 2020 (but with an extraordinary insurance contract), Wimbledon will experience an almost ordinary 2021 edition, just like the US Open. The Melbourne Open was severely handicapped in 2021, but it had had a perfect 2020 edition, since the pandemic had only broken out after the last exchanges.

First night under the roof

Guy Forget congratulated himself in advance on the historic evening of Wednesday, June 9, the first with a curfew at 11 p.m. It will allow the organization to welcome the public during the famous night meetings, made possible by the roof on the Central court (it was already operational in 2020 but had been little used). The other meetings scheduled for the evening before June 9 will take place without an audience due to the 9:00 p.m. curfew.

This roof will allow the FFT to double the day and evening tickets and therefore to garner more revenue. In three years, the system will be even more profitable with the coverage of the Suzanne Lenglen court, which will have to be effective for the 2024 edition, before offering hospitality to the boxing events of the Olympic Games in Paris, then the volleyball tournament. -Sitting ball of the Paralympics.

→ VIDEO – Who was Roland Garros?


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