The Real Club de Tenis Barcelona is once again transformed to host the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, having received the ATP’s Annual Award for Excellence for its organisation of the event
There is only one way to get a tennis club of 2,500 members to grab the attention of the world’s best rackets for a week and the visit of 80,000 people. To ensure that its modesty does not conflict with its ambition nor its sobriety with good taste. And that the management of all the people making it possible is so exemplary that this once-a-year transformation has reached its 63rd edition.
The Real Club de Tenis Barcelona is counting the hours to open its doors to the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, popularly known as the Conde de Godó Trophy, having received earlier this year the Annual Excellence in Organisation Prize awarded by the ATP.
The president of the RCT Barcelona, Albert Agustí, explained at the presentation of the tournament that “a tournament of this nature cannot be held without knowing the idiosyncrasies of the club.” A club that throws itself into the celebration of this annual event, which sees it as one of the fixtures marked in red on the Barcelona calendar, and whose members must happily seek refuge at other courts of the capital to continue playing for a week when the RCT Barcelona gives way to magic.
The comings and goings of workers begins in the small Godó facilities 35 days before the start of the tournament: 470 people are responsible for mounting a special centre court grandstand with 8,390 seats and weighing 540 tons. Eight cranes and 52 trailers are required to adapt both the court and its surroundings. More than 500 employees work full-time to prepare the tournament and more than 1,000 people collaborate.
An event like this would be impossible without the involvement and firm commitment of the sponsors. Banc Sabadell, as the main sponsor, is joined by another 69 companies who, to a greater or lesser degree, link their image to the tournament. The VIP Village, visited by more than 20,000 people, is a hive of public relations activity and the club restaurant, where about 6,500 menus will be served, has been fully booked for days.
The organisation is sparing no resources in promoting the event, from advertising on Barcelona city buses and shelters, posters and banners to decorating the most emblematic Paseo de Gracia shop windows with tennis-related objects. As a result, Barcelona lives and breathes the Godó.
Social networks and the internet are another large virtual showcase that in recent years has helped position the event even better. Proof of this are the 290,000 webpage visits during the tournament, 68,670 clicks on YouTube videos from the competition, 30,000 followers on Facebook, 7,000 on Twitter, and over 1,600 on Instagram.
There are also numerous media: 486 accredited journalists, with matches broadcast on television in 160 countries and some 28 million viewers in total.
The line-up this year promises a guaranteed spectacle thanks to the participation of five players ranked inside the top 10: last year’s Japanese winner Kei Nishikori (4), Rafa Nadal (5), Milos Raonic (6), David Ferrer (7) and Marin Cilic (10). “It is difficult to convince the best of them to come because they take their preparation very much into account according to the calendar,” explains the director of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, Albert Costa. “You have to invest time and money to travel to the different tournaments during the year and have the chance to talk to the players and their managers. But we are getting there and this will be one of the best editions ever”.