Sony Open Still Seeking Facility Upgrades As $30M Renovation Project Remains Stalled
The ATP/WTA Sony Open is "expected to draw more than 310,000 fans over two weeks" to Key Biscayne, Fla., but plans for $30M worth of renovations at the tennis facilty, approved by 72% of voters in a '12 referendum, "have been stalled," according to Linda Robertson of the MIAMI HERALD. The Tennis Center at Crandon Park "has not had a significant upgrade to its facilities since Stadium Court opened 20 years ago." Sony Open Founder and Int'l Tennis HOFer Butch Buchholz said, "The tournament desperately needs an upgrade. It’s not winning the comparison game." Tournament Dir Adam Barrett said, "We want to make it a true tennis center in a park rather than tennis courts in a parking lot." Robertson noted revenue from the Sony Open "would pay" for the facility's improvements. Barrett said, "We want to stay in South Florida but we don’t want to run a second-class or third-tier event. The option of going to the highest bidder -- such as China, the Middle East or India, where money is growing on trees -- is always an appealing option to a corporation." He said, "Indian Wells has the best facility but we have the best fans. We have a city the players adore" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/23).