IMG finally gets green light to move Miami Open to Hard Rock Stadium
IMG’s Miami Open has finally received the green light to move from Key Biscayne, its home for 30 years, to the larger, multi-purpose Hard Rock Stadium in 2019, after a dispute over bills owed to Miami-Dade County had threatened to stymie the plan.
The planned move comes after a bid to expand the Key Biscayne site was blocked by heirs to the family that own it.
Earlier, in the dispute over bills, Wendy Elkins, vice president of IMG, the international sports and entertainment company, had told CBS Miami: “We are at grave risk of not staying in Miami.”
However, county commissioners have now approved a compromise plan allowing the event to move on schedule, in a deal that caps past expenses liable to be paid by IMG, the issue that was under dispute, at $1.8 million.
Carlos Gimenez, the city’s mayor, said: “Now we can sign the agreement, and they can start to move.”
The project at Hard Rock involves a $53-million investment for 24 courts in the surrounding area and a 14,000-seat centre court in the stadium.
The annual tournament occupies top-tier places on both the men's ATP and women’s WTA tours.
Mark Shapiro, WME and IMG co-president, added: “The Miami Open belongs in Miami. We’re grateful to have amazing partners in Stephen, the Miami Dolphins organization, Mayor Gimenez and above all the people of Miami who have been supporting the Miami Open for decades. While we’re looking forward to creating the new Miami Open experience at Hard Rock Stadium, our priority is to make the last edition of the Key Biscayne event the best it’s ever been.”