Miami Open set to move off Key Biscayne starting in 2019

As has been anticipated for many years, the Miami Open finally has a new home. Tournament owner IMG has filed paperwork with the Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez to relocate the Masters 1000 event from Crandon Park Tennis Center on Key Biscayne to mainland. The new site will be the current home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins–Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

Miami-Dade commissioners must approve the agreement. Assuming that happens, the 2018 Miami Open will be the last on Key Biscayne. Thus will end one of the longest-running traditions in Miami-based professional sports. This tournament has been played at its current venue since 1987, never leaving despite undergoing various name changes from the Lipton International Players Championship to to the Lipton Championships to the Ericsson Open to the Nasdaq-100 Open to the Sony Ericsson Open to the Sony Open and finally to the Miami Open presented by Itaú. Interestingly, 1987 is the same year the Dolphins started playing at Joe Robbie Stadium (now known as Hard Rock Stadium).

Tournament officials have threatened to move the Miami Open off Key Biscayne after running into various legal roadblocks over the last few years preventing the expansion of Crandon Park Tennis Center. Their hope now is to upgrade the event with state-of-the-art facilities at Hard Rock Stadium. Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross has proposed a new $53 million tennis complex both in and around the stadium. A portable stadium court will be constructed inside Hard Rock Stadium, while a Grandstand and permanent courts for both matches and practices will be constructed outside the main stadium.

“I mean, it depends on the importance of the growth of the site,” Roger Federer said during a 2017 press conference when asked about the potential move. “I know they can’t grow, so traffic is rough. It’s not getting easier. I don’t think they can improve much in terms of capacity.

“So the question is: is everybody happy this way or not? If you want to go bigger, clearly you have to move. But is the grass always greener on the other side? I’m not sure. It’s a hard one. I know this tournament from a long time ago here. I even played the juniors back here on this very court back in ’98. So, look, in a way you wish it goes on here. I think at this point everybody also understands if it were to move.”

“I mean, Key Biscayne–it’s just like paradise, I think, for the players,” Chris Evert noted. “But when I do hear mumblings and rumblings a bit about the venue it’s from the spectators…. Getting there and the parking, it is a hassle. It isn’t Indian Wells. It still has a lot of heart and a lot of history and it has a lot of fans. So I, for one, am really disappointed if it would move or when it moves. I’m going to be sad about it.”

3 Comments on Miami Open set to move off Key Biscayne starting in 2019

  1. Holy Leaping Lizards…..the end of a great era in Miami tennis….but new venue might be a LOT easier to get to….glad I’ll be there in 4 months to say good bye…can’t wait!!!!

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