95 euros for the hat, 15 euros for the spritz...How the tournament is catching up with the last two years of the pandemic

95 euros for the hat, 15 euros for the spritz…How the tournament is catching up with the last two years of the pandemic

At Roland Garros,

The anecdote was told to us by a colleague. When he wanted to relax at the end of a long day, our journalist friend ordered three spritzes at the bar located just opposite the Philippe-Chatrier court. Price of this tour between colleagues: 48 euros, without peanuts or olives. After verification, the cocktail is not even mixed on the spot but served from a bottle already prepared and which can be found at 20 euros in the shops. But at Roland-Garros, it’s 16 euros a glass. It is therefore better to plan wide to avoid finishing empty pockets in two seconds.

More than anywhere else in France, inflation here reaches peaks. The espresso is 2.80 euros, the fries cost 7 euros, the key ring goes up to 10-12 euros. And must of the must, the Roland-Garros panama, the famous white hat worn and often offered to VIPs, reaches 95 euros. Crazy prices but that the public, who have already paid dearly for their place (minimum 30 euros), accepts in spite of themselves.

The Roland-Garros panama costs 95 euros – F.Launay / 20 Minutes

“We find it expensive but we are not really surprised”

“I paid 7.50 euros for two coffees. It’s overpriced. It’s even more expensive than Eurodisney. We feel like we’ve been fooled a bit, but we come anyway. It was my birthday present,” says Alice, who came from Nantes to attend a night session.

On average, a Roland-Garros spectator spends more than eight hours on site and spends 80 euros at the official store where a derivative product is sold every two seconds. A big business that does not surprise Alexane in view of the target clientele. “The event is still quite classy and it is clearly not accessible to everyone. We are lucky to be able to afford it, ”says the young woman who came to see the ladies’ semi-finals.

The Roland Garros 2020 balls are sold at the store...in 2022
The Roland Garros 2020 balls are sold at the store…in 2022 – F.Launay / 20 Minutes

The price of rarity for one of sport’s greatest events

Temple of French chic, Roland-Garros has always cultivated this posh side. In Paris, it’s clearly the place where you have to show up at the end of May-beginning of June when you’re a VIP or well-to-do. With this brand image conveyed, prices soar. But for Virgile Caillet, expert in sports marketing, Roland-Garros quite simply pays the price of rarity.

“If we compare it to what we pay for a traditional show, it may seem above average. On the other hand, if we compare it to what it is, that is to say something unique, Roland-Garros is rather at the bottom of the Grand Slam average. It’s cheaper than at Wimbledon for example. We must understand that we are on a rare event. There are only four Grand Slams in the world, including one in France. Roland-Garros is therefore part of the category of major international events. And inevitably, as we say in marketing, everything that is rare is expensive,” insists the expert.

The public in the aisles of Roland-Garros
The public in the aisles of Roland-Garros – AFP

86% of the federation’s budget comes from Roland-Garros

As a result, nothing is too good or too expensive at Roland-Garros, which is clearly the cash cow of the French Tennis Federation. 86% of the FFT’s budget comes from revenue from the famous tournament. A dependency Roland which allows in particular to help the clubs and the leagues of the federation on all the territory.

“Any margin generated does not go to a shareholder. It allows the tournament to develop and it feeds the various cogs of the federation to the licensees. We must not forget that we have the cheapest license in French sport”, reminds 20 minutes Stéphane Morel, assistant general manager of the tournament.

The portion of fries is 7 euros at Roland-Garros
The portion of fries is 7 euros at Roland-Garros – F.Launay / 20 Minutes

295 million euros in turnover in 2022, an absolute record

Of the turnover of Roland-Garros, a little more than a third comes from TV rights. Next come almost equally (20%), ticketing, partnerships and hospitality. Then comes merchandising, which represents just under 10%. Figures on the rise everywhere in 2022, an already historic year with 295 million euros in revenue generated.

“This is a record edition from an economic point of view. With the establishment of ten night sessions, we welcomed 150,000 additional people, i.e. more than 600,000 spectators. This is historic in terms of ticketing. Economically, it allows us to catch up with part of the last two complicated years, ”continues Stéphane Morel.

“It’s a new cycle that begins”

With the Covid and the health restrictions at Roland-Garros, the FFT lost 90 million euros in 2020 before almost breaking even in 2021. It’s not easy when you have to reimburse the 400 million at the same time. euros contracted to renovate the central court. But the return of the happy days at Roland made it possible to relaunch the cash machine.

“It’s a new cycle with a new stadium, with night sessions. There are still things to improve such as the flow of spectators to reduce queues. But we are very confident for the future. I sincerely think that we have caught up in certain aspects with the other Grand Slam tournaments, ”rejoices the deputy CEO of the Fed.

Roland-Garros still does not have pandemic cancellation insurance

Even if the tournament has still not taken out pandemic cancellation insurance unlike what Wimbledon did in 2020. “I challenge anyone to find pandemic insurance now or else it now costs the same price as the turnover . Insurance companies don’t do that anymore (smiles). We are insured for cancellation but for risks other than the pandemic, such as dantesque weather conditions, for example, ”explains Stéphane Morel, returning to the precedent of 2020.

“It was not a strategic error. In other years, we had all-risk cancellation insurance, including the pandemic. But these are contracts that we renew every year. And when we wanted to take it in 2020, the pandemic had already started. More than ever, Roland-Garros is crossing its fingers so that no epidemic comes to break its regained momentum at the economic level.

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