During the month of March, we have seen waves of both cancellations and suspensions in the world of professional sports due to the global outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19. Most recently, the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, have officially been postponed — something we’ve never quite witnessed before.
As the word fights to deal with the impact of COVID-19, there have been many cancellations of tournaments or complete suspensions of sporting leagues, which will have a massive impact on the sports industry, says Adam Adler, a Miami, Florida entrepreneur and former tennis player at the University of South Carolina. In the world of tennis, in particular, two major events have been suspended in an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, which will have extensive impacts beyond just the players themselves.
Suspension of the ATP Tour Through June 7
Earlier in March, the ATP announced a six-week suspension of the men’s professional tennis tour due to escalating health issues arising from the global outbreak of COVID-19. Initially, this meant that all ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour events scheduled up to and inclusive of the week of April 20th would no longer take place. However, on March 18th, a decision was made that all ATP tournaments through June 7th will not be held as scheduled.
Additionally, COVID-19’s global threat to public health has forced the ATP to carefully review the broad impact of this evolving situation related to FedEx ATP Rankings points, and any decisions will be announced in time. FedEx ATP Rankings points will also be frozen during this suspension period.
WTA Suspended Through June 7
WTA tournaments have also been affected by the continuing outbreak of COVID-19, and the Spring clay-court swing will not be held as scheduled, including the combined ATP/WTA tournaments in Madrid and Rome, along with the WTA events in Strasbourg and Rabat and ATP events in Munich, Estoril, Geneva, and Lyon.
At this time, tournaments taking place from June 8, 2020, onwards are still planning to go ahead as per the published schedule, however, appropriate consultation and review of decisions related to the impact of the coronavirus will continue to take place throughout the course, says Adam Adler.
COVID-19’s Unprecedented Impact on the Tennis Community
Although many people may think that massive sports franchises and organizations like the ATP and WTA can handle the financial implications of suspensions like this, there are widespread impacts. In fact, this decision to suspend these tours represents a great loss for the tournaments, players, and fans worldwide.
From a business standpoint, the spread of COVID-19 will affect a lot of stakeholders involved in these tournaments such as stadium employees and event staff as well as the revenue fans contribute directly or indirectly when attending or watching a tournament on television.
Adam Adler also recognizes that while the process of dissolving the spread of COVID-19 can have major financial consequences to the sports community as a whole, it’s much needed in a time like this.
Adam Adler on Taking Responsible Action to Flatten the Curve
The continuing outbreak of COVID-19 is now a major global concern. It has brought economies to a near-standstill, as governments are forced to impose restrictions and, in some cases, nationwide shutdowns. So, if there is a time to avoid large gatherings of people from all over the world, it is now.
At the time of writing, there are currently 266,259 active cases, 11,983 recovered cases, and 6,803 deaths of Coronavirus in the U.S. COVID-19 is expected to peak in the country over the next few weeks and latest guidance suggests that the general population should be wearing masks. Current states with stay-at-home orders include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
General guidelines to help flatten the curve include staying home and only going out for necessities. If people do go out, they are encouraged to wash their hands and refrain from touching their faces to protect themselves against the virus.
While this decision to suspend both the ATP and WTA represents a great loss for the tennis community, it had to be made. At this time, responsible action is needed in order to protect public health and safety in the face of this global pandemic, says Adam Adler. Once the spread is slowed and operations resume as “normal,” we can all look forward to moving past this crisis.
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