Australian Open boss Craig Tiley admits it will take years to recover from the financial impact of running the Melbourne grand slam during the coronavirus pandemic, estimating a loss of easily more than $100 million.
Despite the success of the event in terms of COVID-19, with just one player contracting the virus and no community transmissions, Tiley says the cost has been astronomical.
As well as running the tournament with limited crowds, Tennis Australia has had to absorb massive expenditure for transport and stringent quarantine measures for over 1000 people for two weeks leading into the event.
Tiley says TA will exhaust its cash reserves of $80 million, and take out a loan of between $40 million and $60 million, plus rely on the success of future Australian Opens to put the governing body in the black again.
"It's going to be tough (to look at the bottom line figure)," Tiley told SEN's Dwayne's World on Thursday.
"It's not going to be easy - we're going to lose multi-millions of dollars on this event.
"We said all along that it's important to do this because we have to have a platform to grow for 2022, so we're going to rely on returning to high levels of revenue for 2022- 23-24."
Tiley said the final balance sheet wouldn't be known for about a month but admitted the snap five-day lockdown in Victoria, which banned spectators, had done further damage.
"We have $80 million in reserve and we will exhaust that and we will take anywhere from a $40 to 60 million loan - it's a big loss but we haven't finalised the number yet," he said.
"We've still got to see what our receipts are.
"Obviously we took a big hit with five days with no fans as you don't sell merchandise, sponsors don't get activation and you don't sell tickets or premium hospitality.
"So five of 14 days, that's big hit."
Tiley said that the upside of running the Open was that its future on the grand slam calender was further secured, and that TA had earnt "a great deal of appreciation from the players".
He said TA had signalled to the world that such a large international event could be held successfully.
"Australia's now got a playbook that we can share with the rest of the world," Tiley said.
"We've made Melburnians, Victorians and Australians proud that no-one in the pandemic has brought in this many international stars from that many hot spots around the world and played an international sporting event for $86 million and in front of crowds.
"Maybe there's a way for us to get sports and entertainment up and going again; we've got the model and we've learned a lot."