BNP Paribas Open becomes first major U.S. sporting event affected by coronavirus
The United States now has its first major sporting event affected by the coronoavirus, and it likely won’t be the last.
Tennis will not hold the 2020 BNP Paribas Open as scheduled. The second-biggest tennis tournament in the U.S. behind only the U.S. Open was set to begin Monday in Indian Wells, California.
Most of the biggest names in tennis were scheduled to play.
“We are prepared to hold the tournament on another date and will explore options,” tournament director Tommy Haas said in a statement.
The decision was made after the Riverside County Public Health Department declared a public health emergency for the Coachella Valley after a confirmed case of COVID-19 locally.
“There is too great a risk, at this time, to the public health of the Riverside County area in holding a large gathering of this size,” Dr. David Agus, Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California, said in the statement. “It is not in the public interest of fans, players and neighboring areas for this tournament to proceed. We all have to join together to protect the community from the coronavirus outbreak.”
Other sports events, including Italy’s soccer league Serie A, are being affected by the coronavirus. The NBA has told teams to prepare to play games without fans, and the NHL has closed its locker rooms to media.
On Saturday, the NFL postponed its annual Consumer Products Summit, its annual vendor trade show.
The NFL’s next big event is the annual owners meetings, scheduled to begin March 29 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Its next big public event is the draft, scheduled to being April 23 in Las Vegas.