The Miami Open Celebrates 30 Years
By Angela Betancourt
Photography Courtesy of Miami Open
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Miami Open taking place from March 23rd- April 5th at Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne.
Over the past three decades, the tournament has grown into one of the largest tennis events in the world; offering more than $10 million in prize money and attracting more than 300,000 spectators and a plethora of celebrities.
The tournament has become one of Miami’s premier events, and in addition to enhancing the city’s image internationally, it has had a major financial impact for Miami-Dade County.
“Our event generates an economic impact of $386 million annually which is the equivalent of hosting a Super Bowl. That does not include the 12,000 hours of global TV coverage in 193 countries the tournament generates,” said Adam Barrett, Miami Open Tournament Director.
“Over the last 30 years, the tournament has grown from a family run event into one of the biggest, most glamorous and most prestigious events in the world. But what I think is even more impressive is how the tournament has been a leader in the sport in terms of how an event entertains its guests,” he added.
In addition to watching world class tennis players compete, the Miami Open wants attendees to feel more engaged in the experience. They transform Crandon Park from a tennis center into an interactive and social environment. Events for children, VIP lounges, live music, a food court, and shopping are just some of the features they can enjoy. “The Miami Open has always looked for new ways to make the experience on-site special both on and off the court. Whether we are bringing in on-court entertainment and celebrity musical performers pre- match, having live performances on our entertainment stage, or offering unique shopping and food and beverage experiences we strive to make everyone’s time here special. Today, you see events all over the world using the same model we started here in Miami.”
The tournament was founded in 1985 by former US Pro Championship tennis player Butch Buchholz, who had a vision to create the first major tennis event of the New Year.
The Miami Open has had a few name changes along the way. In 2000, the event was rebranded as the Sony Ericsson Open. In 2002, the event was renamed to the NASDAQ-100. In 2007, it once again became the Sony Ericsson Open and maintained that name until 2014.
Late last year, tournament owner IMG announced a new sponsor and a new name. For the next four years, the event will officially be named the Miami Open presented by Itaú. Itaú is the largest privately owned bank in Latin America.
This is the first time Miami is part of the name and the change has been welcomed with open arms. “We are very excited to have Miami in the tournament name. When people hear the name Miami they think energy, excitement, luxury, and world-class service. These are all traits that are synonymous with our event, and being able to better align the Miami brand with the tournament can only help the continued growth of the event. We were fortunate to find a presenting sponsor like Itaú who agreed with this philosophy and were on-board with this idea from the start,” said Barrett.
Improvements have also been made to the tennis center site itself. They’ve added new shade structures to the food court for a more enjoyable dining experience and have also spruced up their social media efforts with the addition of a new Social Media Wall by SAP. Barrett also wants guests to know that the repairs to the Bear Cut Bridge have been completed and that the tolls at the entrance to the causeway have been replaced with Sunpass. The change to Sunpass will certainly help the flow of traffic and that is welcoming news because IMG is expecting to exceed 300,000 visitors this year.
Celebrating 30 years is a testament to the dedication that IMG and Miami-Dade County have to keep tennis thriving in Miami. However, the true stars of the show are the tennis fans around the world who will continue to make this event a success.
Barrett feels that “we are so fortunate to be able to host this event in one of the most vibrant, metropolitan, and diverse cities in the world. The entire South Florida community has really embraced the tournament and they are wonderful tennis fans. It is what makes this event so special. The energy and excitement that our fans bring to the event are very unique among our events. It doesn’t matter what country a player is from, they are guaranteed to have a large contingent of fans.”
Click here to view post on the 2015 March/April issue.