On Tuesday, the Miami-Dade County Commission will vote on whether to approve a privately funded plan to improve the Crandon Park Tennis Center and extend the county’s lease agreement with the Sony Open to allow the county to host the event for the long-term future.
A Yes vote is important for the growth of our economy and for the tourism trade of Greater Miami and South Florida.
Last November, Miami-Dade voters had the opportunity to voice their opinion on this proposal and did so resoundingly. More than 500,000 people — almost 73 percent of those who voted — supported the referendum, which is not a surprise given that these improvements will be funded entirely by the event, with no taxpayer dollars being used.
The Sony Open is one of the largest economic engines in Miami, and it happens every single year. It generates more than $380 million in economic impact to our community annually, a number that is equivalent to a Super Bowl. It attracts more than 300,000 people from around the world to fill our hotels and restaurants, and showcases our community through a total of 11,000 hours of global television coverage in 193 countries and territories.
The Sony Open and Greater Miami have grown together over the past 30 years. Unfortunately the Crandon Park Tennis Center has not grown with them. The tournament wants to fund a series of upgrades that will vastly improve the park’s condition for year-round public use, while guaranteeing the tournament and its economic benefits remain here for decades to come. These updates include the addition of new green spaces, shaded areas, landscaping with plants and trees native to Key Biscayne and courts with comfortable seating.
The impact of the Sony Open is far-reaching, particularly in the tourism sector. A recent study by the Sports Management Research Institute found that the tournament drew more than 325,000 attendees, resulted in the direct booking of 15,000 hotel-room nights and generated an overall economic impact of more than $386 million. Hotel occupancy rates in Miami-Dade County were up almost 5 percent during the tournament, and average daily rates for hotel rooms rose by more than 15 percent. Almost nine out of 10 Sony Open attendees indicated they would visit South Florida again in the next two years.
This is truly a “no lose” situation for both Miami-Dade County and the tournament. The event will remain one of the premier events in the world, and the updated facilities will be available to the public 50 weeks of every year.
William D. Talbert III, president and CEO, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Miami
Adam Barrett, director, Sony Open tournament, Miami