The Miami Open, scheduled to being March 23 and similar in prestige to the BNP Paribas Open, has not yet been canceled. The Ultra Music Festival, another major international cultural event scheduled for March in the Miami area, has been called off for 2020.
“The intent is still for Miami to operate,” Simon said. “It’s obviously two weeks away, but right now our approach is we are planning to operate all of our upcoming events and put every precaution in place. But we will obviously continue to work with the event very closely and will have to monitor all the situations there.”
The BNP Paribas Open is offering ticket holders refunds or credits toward tickets for the 2021 edition of the tournament.
The tennis tours shift to Europe in April for the clay season, which includes the Italian Open in Rome in May, a prestigious tournament in one of the countries most affected by the virus.
No subsequent tournaments at tour level have yet announced cancellations. Several smaller minor tournaments in China had been canceled previously, and a tournament in Bergamo, Italy, canceled its final.
Founded in 1974 and played under various names and in various locations, the BNP Paribas Open has become one of the pillars of the professional tennis tour since its move to Indian Wells in 1987. Larry Ellison, the tech tycoon and co-founder of Oracle, bought the event and the tournament complex, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, in 2009. Since the purchase, new stadium courts and amenities have been added, and the tournament is regularly voted by the players as the best event in its category.
Although this is the first time the event has been canceled, in 1980 the tournament was not completed because of rain, and the men’s singles final was not contested.
Simon said the cancellation this year would be costly. “There will be losses for everybody,” he said. “But at this point this isn’t about the money per se. It’s about what is right, and I think it’s a challenging time right now.”
Marc Stein contributed from Los Angeles.