Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins NFL American football franchise, wants to build a new tennis complex adjacent to the team’s Hard Rock Stadium.
The Miami Herald newspaper, citing sources familiar with the matter, reported that Ross is seeking to partner with organisers of the Miami Open and move the tennis tournament from Key Biscayne to Miami Gardens, where Hard Rock Stadium (pictured) is located.
The Herald reports that Ross, along with Dolphins president Tom Garfinkel, met with Miami Open executives on Thursday at the Crandon Park facility, where this year’s event is currently ongoing.
According to the newspaper, Ross has proposed that a temporary stadium court be constructed inside the NFL stadium for marquee matches, with a smaller, permanent venue to be built, as well as match courts and practice courts.
Miami Open founder and director Butch Buchholz told the Herald that he would rather the tournament stay in Key Biscayne, but admitted he would be open to Ross’s plan if it meant securing the future of the event in the city.
“I have heard that Steve Ross has an interest in building a facility and moving the tournament there, and I think that would be an excellent alternative, but only if it doesn’t work out in Key Biscayne,” Buchholz said. “The reason I chose Key Biscayne back at the beginning was because of the island atmosphere, the idea that you drive over the bridge and see that view, and it sets the tone that you are entering an island paradise.
“The No. 1 priority has to be to keep the tournament in Miami. Don’t let it leave. The players and fans love coming here, and it is a jewel in our community. If they can get the improvements done on Key Biscayne that they need to do to keep up with other top tournaments, that would be the best scenario because you have the best of both worlds – great facilities and a view of the ocean, bay and Miami skyline from the top rows of the stadium.”
The Miami Open is regarded as one of tennis’s leading tournaments outside of the four grand slams.