We hope you and yours are safe and healthy during this unprecedented time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who are affected and to our front line heroes in the medical profession who battle COVID-19 everyday.
After careful consideration for public and player safety, availability of support services, City of San Francisco guidelines and the impact of the novel coronavirus on the live entertainment and sports worlds, promoter Squash Engine has canceled the 2020 Oracle NetSuite Open.
The outdoor pro squash tournament at Embarcadero Plaza has always been positioned in late September to take advantage of San Francisco’s minimal precipitation at that time. Later periods of the year are not an option in this location.
As we see many big league sports both here and abroad make efforts to return to competition this summer, much of that will take place at closed venues with no fans due to the financial benefits of large TV and streaming audiences. Unfortunately, pro squash does not have that revenue stream and we cannot sustain the event economics with CDC regulated social distance requirements at our venue, limiting our audience to 25% per session.
With so much upheaval in our world, from the assault of COVID-19 to the reality of continuing racism and corrosive economic division in our country, squash seems quite insignificant. Yet, for most of us, it’s more than just a game that we play, it’s a passion, a challenge and a test of character that leaves us breathless. Every squash player feels connected to every other player. Squash has given us a wonderful set of friends here and abroad.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has made it impossible to reconnect this year at the Oracle NetSuite Open. While there are some bright spots as the country reopens in certain regions, our sport will not be at the forefront and our PSA athletes will not be able to travel freely for some time, likely through much of the fall.
Evan Goldberg, Oracle NetSuite and I appreciate every ounce of enthusiasm you have brought over the last eight years to our effort to bring the best players in the world to the Bay Area. Our tournament became a major stop on the PSA World Tour and was one of the first Gold level events in the world to offer prize money parity. Because of you, the Oracle NetSuite Open made a positive impact on the world of squash…and we had fun doing it.
I am hopeful we can reconvene in 2021 and will be back in touch as a new tournament plan emerges.