We’ve seen tarps. We’ve seen signs. We’ve seen video boards. We’ve seen cardboard photos of fans.
Now, we have geckos.
Many pro sports has resumed in this COVID-19 pandemic era, mostly without in person crowds, and leagues and teams have been creative in how to cover up empty seats in the stands. Many teams have used cardboard cutouts with photos of fans as well as video boards.
Enter the Champions Series Tennis circuit.
The tour for champion tennis players over the age of 30 resumed its season Thursday, August 13 at the SoCal Honda Dealer’s Helpful Cup at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. While their events are not yet open to the general public due to the strict Covid-19 safety protocol, the circuit placed cutouts of the famous GEICO Gecko from its sponsor GEICO insurance, which created a unique backdrop to the tennis.
For the last few years, Champions Series Tennis has abandoned linespeople in lieu of the players calling lines themselves, backed up by Hawk-Eye electronic line-calling, and has placed the GEICO Geckos in the on-court positions normally reserved for linespeople for a fun sponsor promotion. Matches have featured John McEnroe, a player on the Champions Series Tennis tour, jokingly (or not) arguing with one of the courtside Geckos to vent after losing a point.
Robby Ginepri, the 2005 U.S. Open semifinalist and former member of the U.S. Davis Cup team, won the first event on the tour’s resumption defeating 2000 Olympic silver medalist Tommy Haas in the final.
Champions Series Tennis is founded by former world No. 1 Jim Courier’s company InsideOut Sports & Entertainment in 2005. For more information, go to www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com