Australian Open to utilise zone scheme for fan attendance

Tennis Australia (TA) has set out an initial plan for 25% capacity at the three main stadiums for the Australian Open, launching a zone-based ticket scheme focused on these venues.

TA set out the plan today (Wednesday) after confirming at the weekend that next year’s rescheduled edition of the grand slam will take place at Melbourne Park from February 8-21, having initially been due to commence on January 18.

With this year’s Australian Open having taken place before COVID-19 took hold, TA has since been left to weigh up how to stage the 2021 edition during the global pandemic. The ticket sales process launched today, with a new game plan to ensure the safety of those onsite.

Melbourne Park precinct is to be divided into three zones, each including one of the three major arenas – Rod Laver Arena (RLA), Margaret Court Arena (MCA) and John Cain Arena (JCA). TA said each zone will offer its own unique combination of tennis action, live experiences and the culinary offerings for which Melbourne is renowned.

Ticket prices have been frozen or reduced in many categories for 2021 which takes into account the change in access to different areas onsite. Tickets start at A$49 (£28/€30/$37) for JCA, the same cost as a Ground Pass in 2020.

RLA (pictured) starting prices are the same as 2020, from A$62 for a day session and A$65 at night; while MCA starting prices are down from 2020, starting at A$56 for day sessions and A$60 at night.

As part of the Open’s COVIDSafe plan, tickets will be sold in family ‘pods’ of between one to six tickets to assist with physical distancing. All tickets will be digital in 2021 to minimise touchpoints and assist with contact tracing, and stadium start times will be staggered, with RLA and MCA sessions commencing at 11am, and JCA at midday local time.

“The AO will be a great celebration for Melbourne and all Victoria after an incredibly tough year,” said Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley. “Although our event will look a little different as we prioritise the safety of everyone, it’s going to be a fantastic opportunity to come together and experience many of the best things about Melbourne – live, world class sport in an exciting festival atmosphere.

“We look forward to welcoming the world’s best players to Melbourne Park. I know they can’t wait to compete in front of crowds again and are prepared for the strict quarantine process when they arrive, all of which is a key element of ensuring everyone’s safety.

“Tickets will be more limited this year so you’ll need to get in early to secure your seat. We are starting ticket sales at 25% of capacity in our three main stadiums and as we work closely with the Victorian government, hope to be in a position to increase our numbers as we get closer to the event.”

Image: Global-cityzen/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size