Miami Open moving to Hard Rock Stadium in 2019 under new deal

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross plans $53 million complex to host tournament

Stephen Ross, Hard Rock Stadium (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Stephen Ross, Hard Rock Stadium (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

After a two-week standoff, Miami-Dade county officials agreed Tuesday to move the Miami Open from the Crandon Park tennis complex in Key Biscayne to Hard Rock Stadium in 2019.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez and IMG, the sports giant that runs the tennis tournament, agreed earlier this month to make the move to the Miami Dolphins stadium owned by developer Stephen Ross, but negotiations fell through over a dispute over IMG’s unpaid expenses for past tournaments, the Miami Herald reported. IMG was prepared to pay $1.3 million to get permission to break its lease at Crandon Park, but then Gimenez’s office realized that Miami-Dade officials were several years behind in auditing tournament expenses.

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Gimenez wanted to scrap the $1.3 million payment, move forward with the Hard Rock Stadium deal and leave the expenses to arbitration, but Open officials balked. If the deal had fallen through, the tournament’s senior vice president Wendy Elkin said it was “at grave risk of not staying in Miami.”

Instead, the 13-member County Commission approved raising the cap on past expenses to $1.8 million. Crandon Park will host the tournament once more in 2018 before moving north to Hard Rock Stadium, where Ross plans to build a $53 million tennis complex to host the Open. He said he will also build temporary courts above the stadium’s football field for the main matches. [Miami Herald] — Dennis Lynch