MIAMI (CBSmiami/AP) — One of professional tennis’ premiere events is undergoing a name change.
The Sony Open is now The Miami Open.
The annual event on Key Biscayne will keep the name for the next five years according to Latin American bank Itau which has taken over as the event’s presenting sponsor. The tournament had most recently been called the Sony Open and Sony had been in the event’s name since 2007.
“Leveraging the Miami brand is a great effort to strengthen Miami’s reputation as an epicenter for sport and entertainment,” said Andrea Pinotti Cordeiro, Itau Unibanco’s Institutional Marketing Director.
In its 29-year history in South Florida this event has had its share of names. Before being called the Sony Open it was called The Sony Ericsson then just the Ericsson, before that the Nasdaq. It was born as the Lipton In Delray beach before founder Butch Buccholz moved it to Key Biscayne.
The name switch is one of many changes that might be coming to the event, which draws the top men’s and women’s players in the world to South Florida each spring. Organizers are hoping to upgrade the tennis facility, with plans — which have been met with some resistance — calling for expansion of the main stadium and other improvements around the grounds.
Without those fixes, organizers fear the event could lose some of its luster.
Traditionally one of the top tournaments outside of the Grand Slams, the event started in Delray Beach, Florida in 1985, moved to Boca Raton the following year and then came to Key Biscayne. More than 300,000 tickets are sold annually and matches are broadcast to 193 countries.
Next year’s tournament is March 23-April 5. Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams won the titles on Key Biscayne this year.
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