MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami/AP) — This year for the Miami Open, their theme could very well be ‘out with the old, in with the new.”
As the tennis tournament is just about to begin its last year of play on Key Biscayne, a ceremonial groundbreaking was held Monday at its future site on the grounds of the Hard Rock Stadium.
Eight-time champion Serena Williams and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross were among those putting shovels in the ground to help convert the complex for tennis.
The tournament has been held since 1987 on Key Biscayne, but an appeals court decision prevented upgrades to the complex there, and the Miami Open will move to the stadium next year.
Ross spent $500 million on recent stadium renovations, including a canopy, and now the backhoes and front-end loaders have returned. While the ceremonial groundbreaking was Monday, work began weeks ago to construct outer courts and a spectator plaza in the parking lot adjacent to the stadium.
When it’s all done, the Miami Open will have 30 show and practice courts; a tennis oasis with a large video screen; a sponsorship village with expanded and upgraded entertainment spaces; permanent retail facilities; improved Wi-Fi, media facilities, locker rooms and fitness space for players and tennis staff.
The centerpiece of it all will be a new Center Court with a 14,000-seat stadium within the Hard Rock Stadium.
Organizers say the move would mean thousands of more parking spaces. They would also have nine more on-site courts and about 7, 400 more on-site seating. As for stadium seating, they say it stays about the same with a 13,800 capacity.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)