MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade County Commissioners have approved a compromise plan that will allow the Miami Open tennis tournament to move from Key Biscayne, where it has been played for 30 years, to the Hard Rock Stadium beginning in 2019.
According to our news partners at The Miami Herald, Miami-Dade Commissioners voted unanimously to endorse a deal between Mayor Carlos Gimenez and sports conglomerate IMG to move the tennis tournament to the stadium but only after one more year at the County’s Crandon Park tennis complex.
The deal nearly broke down last month when IMG sparred with the county over what they owe Miami-Dade for previous years’ services.
The initial deal called for IMG to pay Miami-Dade $1.3 million for outstanding expenses but days before commissioners were set to approve that deal, Gimenez said county staff realized auditors still hadn’t reviewed expenses from the last three tournaments.
Gimenez wanted those tournaments removed from the deal and any contested expenses sent to arbitration. IMG balked at the proposed compromise, warning commissioners the tournament was at “grave risk” of leaving Miami under the mayor’s terms. Commissioners approved the deal on Dec. 5 anyway, and on Tuesday, the 13-member board approved a revision of the original agreement. The new terms cap past expenses at $1.8 million, essentially adding $500,000 to the potential payment from IMG to the county for events held through 2017.
The project at Hard Rock Stadium involves IMG and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross spending $53 million for 24 tennis courts in surrounding lots and a center court in the stadium, above the football field itself.
The Miami Open is the sixth biggest event on the tour, and brings hundreds of thousands of visitors who pour millions of dollars into the local economy.