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Design & Development

Western & Southern Open organisers weigh up move to new complex in Charlotte

Featured image credit: Josué Goge/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size

Featured image credit: Josué Goge/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size

US businessman Ben Navarro has proposed plans for a new $400m (£319m/€366m) tennis campus in Charlotte, North Carolina amid a possible relocation of the Western & Southern Open event from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Navarro’s Beemok Capital, a financial services company, acquired the tournament, also known as the Cincinnati Masters, from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in August. The event is one of the largest outside of the four grand slams and is currently staged at the Lindner Family Tennis Center (pictured) in Mason, just north of Cincinnati.

Organisers are weighing up a possible relocation of the event, with Charlotte one of the cities under consideration. Relocation of the event, which forms part of the ATP Tour and WTA Tour schedules, would include building a large racquet facility in Charlotte, as well as a site to host other events including college and amateur tennis tournaments, pickleball events, concerts and festivals.

The campus would include a 15,000-seat centre court, more than 30 hard courts, a 50-plus-acre campus, parking for 10,000 vehicles, a 45,000-square-foot academy building, and retail and restaurant space. Tournament organisers have identified the River District site in Charlotte as a potential location for the campus.

Organisers presented their vision to Charlotte City Council’s Jobs & Economic Development Committee and the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners Economic Development Committee yesterday (Wednesday). Organisers would provide two thirds of the funding required for the campus, with the remaining cost to be funded by public contributions.

A spokesperson for Beemok Capital told the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper: “Our process in other cities follows the same course we have taken in Greater Cincinnati, to both present the benefits of the tournament to the local community as well as evaluate the opportunities and constraints the region presents.

“We’ve had productive conversations with state and local representatives in Mason and the surrounding area and have made considerable efforts to develop a potential master plan to expand the event in its current location. We have great respect for the City of Mason and are excited to host the tournament here in August and for years to come.”

In 2025, the Western & Southern Open will double in size and duration from an eight-day, 56-player event to a 14-day, 96-player event. Organisers have estimated that the increased number of attendees and the wider economic impact of hosting a two-week tournament in Charlotte would be around $275m.

Beemok Capital created a similar development in Charleston, South Carolina. In April 2022, the company opened a $60m renovation of Credit One Stadium, where the Charleston Open WTA Tour event is held.

A decision on the future of the Western & Southern Open is expected this summer.