Lockdown costs for next month’s delayed Open are set to bust the budget for Tennis Australia.
The sanctioning body’s bill is ticking over at AUD 40 million (USD 32 million) with that sum only set to rise.
“I can confirm it will be north of $40 million,” tournament TD Craig Tiley told Melbourne’s Age newspaper. “It’s just really difficult to be able to predict exactly where it ends up.
“Our initial budget was closer to between AUD 25 and 30 million (USD 20-24 million).
“My experience with these things is that they don’t go down. They only go up.”
Tiley said that quarantine costs for more than 1,250 players and support staff plus airline charters to bring players in from all over the globe along with everything else weighing on the budget – including a reduced fan base due to COVID-19 restrictions – would mean a massive, unavoidable loss.
“We’re in a situation where really, basically, we have no choice. We believe it’s (the Open) really important to our organisation, to the sport, to Melbourne, to Victoria, to Australia.
“If we can get this right, and have an event and broadcast it globally, we believe it’s going to be the beginning of the real comeback of entertainment and sport as we start to turn the corner with more vaccinations.”
Due to virus protocols, the major is due to begin three weeks late on February 8 after a mandatory 14-day hotel-room lockdown for participants and their limited support personnel.
TA has confirmed a “multimillion-dollar operating loss” looms for fiscal 2021. In addition to AUD 80 million (USD 64 million) in reserves, the organisation can count on help from the Victorian government and will need to utilise a borrowing facility.
Main photo:- AO TD Craig Tiley with Ash Barty.