Miami Open At "Grave Risk" Of Leaving City After County Changes Hard Rock Stadium Deal
A deal allowing the ATP/WTA Miami Open to "break its county lease on Key Biscayne and move to Hard Rock Stadium" was approved yesterday, but developments at the meeting "left even more questions" about the future of the event, according to a front-page piece by Douglas Hanks of the MIAMI HERALD. It was supposed to be a "moment of triumph," as Miami-Dade commissioners voted to approve the deal, but yesterday's decision saw tournament representatives "rushing out of the commission chambers, refusing to say whether they would accept the relocation plan after a last-minute dispute with the county mayor over an outstanding audit of what the event owes Miami-Dade." Miami Open Senior VP Wendy Elkin said, "We’re going to regroup. We are at grave risk of not staying in Miami with this deal." Miami-Dade commissioners "approved the arrangement in a 10 to 2 vote" yesterday, freeing the Miami Open from its agreements at Crandon Park after '18 and "approving inclusion of the event in an existing subsidy arrangement with the Dolphins." The approved deal includes a $1M "yearly subsidy from the county for the tournament." Before yesterday's vote, Elkin "warned that the Miami Open opposed the deal because the county at the last minute wanted to change a provision settling expenses that the Miami Open owed for the last few tournaments." The problem is that the mayor’s office only "recently realized the county is several years behind in auditing the tournament’s finances and wanted to leave final payments open for arbitration rather than stick with the original provision that set the payoff" at $1.3M. Elkin said that is a "deal breaker." Now the fate of the "long-awaited relocation rests on Miami Open" taking Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s offer. Without the deal, the tournament is "obligated to continue playing on Key Biscayne" through '23 (MIAMI HERALD, 12/6).