The prestigious Miami Open hardcourt tennis tournament is poised to leave its Key Biscayne site in 2019 for the Miami Dolphins’ stadium, according to documents made public on Wednesday.
The tournament is one of nine elite Masters 1000 events on the ATP tour and one of four Premier Mandatory tournaments for WTA players.
But since a 2015 court decision blocked upgrades to the ageing facilities at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne there has been a suggestion the event could leave Miami altogether.
According to the Miami Herald, the tournament’s parent company has already signed paperwork with the administration of Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez that will see scenic Key Biscayne, a palm-tree studded island near downtown Miami, host for the last time next year.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross proposes building a $53 million facility to host tournament events in parking lots outside the stadium, while the marquee tennis matches would be held in Hard Rock Stadium itself.
In a memo, Gimenez said the county has agreed to let the tournament leave Crandon Park before its lease expires in 2023, in exchange for a payment of $1.3 million and an agreement not to leave Miami-Dade County for 20 years.
The deal must still be approved by the Miami-Dade commissioners who are expected to vote on it next Tuesday.