Audit, new terms jeopardize plan to move Miami Open to Dolphins' stadium
6 December 2017
An agreement to move the Miami Open to the Miami Dolphins' stadium is in jeopardy because of a previously undisclosed audit concerning how much money the tennis tournament owes Miami-Dade County.
Miami-Dade commissioners voted Tuesday to approve the deal after it was amended to have the financial issue resolved by an independent arbiter. But a Miami Open official told the commission the new terms were a deal-breaker that could force the tournament to leave South Florida.
The agreement became public last week, after tournament officials signed paperwork with the Miami mayor's office to move from their longtime home on Key Biscayne to the Dolphins' stadium beginning in 2019. Showcase matches would be held in the 65,000-seat stadium, with other matches on the adjacent grounds.
The deal called for the Miami Open to pay $1.3 million owed to the county for tournaments through 2017. But Mayor Carlos Gimenez was unaware until Friday of an outstanding audit that could push the actual amount owed to the county significantly higher, said Michael Hernandez, a spokesman for Gimenez.
Owned by IMG, the Miami Open is under lease to play through 2023 on Key Biscayne, where the tournament has been held since 1987. The event's future has been in question since a 2015 appeals court decision that prevents upgrades to the Key Biscayne complex.
Tournament officials had no comment after the commission meeting, spokesman Sam Henderson said.