Plans to move the Miami Open tennis tournament to Hard Rock Stadium, home of NFL American football team the Miami Dolphins, could be in doubt after an audit detailing how much money the event owes Miami-Dade County was revealed.
The Associated Press news agency reported that a tournament official yesterday (Tuesday) told Miami-Dade commissioners of the development, which could lead to the event leaving South Florida.
Commissioners had voted to approve the deal to take the event to Hard Rock Stadium, but the future of the tournament is now in the balance.
“We’re going to regroup,” Wendy Elkin, senior vice-president of the Miami Open, said, according to the Miami Herald newspaper. “We are at grave risk of not staying in Miami with this deal.”
The tournament, which forms part of the men’s ATP World Tour and the women’s WTA Tour, currently takes place in Key Biscayne, where it has been held since 1987.
Organisers are said to be unable to expand the facilities at Key Biscayne’s Tennis Center at Crandon Park venue, and a move away is viewed as a necessity to ensure the future of one the sport’s most high-profile non-grand slam events.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has proposed building a new facility that would host matches in parking lots outside of Hard Rock Stadium, with showpiece matches to be played inside the 65,000-seat venue itself.
The 2018 Miami Open is due to take place in Key Biscayne in March. Roger Federer and Johanna Konta are the defending singles champions.
Image: A.J. Lipp