Key Biscayne tennis tournament gets a new name: Miami Open

Just when tennis fans had gotten used to calling the annual Key Biscayne tournament the Sony Open after a long string of name changes, the event will have a new name beginning in 2015.

This one will be simple and easy to remember: Miami Open.

Tournament owner IMG announced Tuesday that for the next five years, the Miami Open will be presented by Itau, the largest privately owned bank in Latin America. Unlike previous sponsors, the Brazil-based bank, with 95,000 employees and an office in downtown Miami, decided to let the city’s name — and all the tropical, energetic images that conjures up — lead the tournament branding.

That was music to the ears of tournament director Adam Barrett, who for years has wanted to have Miami in the event title.

“For the first time, we are able to use Miami in the name of the event, aligning ourselves with what Miami offers … five-star hotels, five-star restaurants, world-class beaches, the sun. Everything that is South Florida is who we are. Tennis is a multicultural sport. A diverse sport is a perfect match for this diverse city, and it’s great to be working with a presenting sponsor that has a South American influence and wants to leverage all that Miami is, like we do.

“When you’re traveling, Miami is what’s recognized worldwide. Everyone knows what Miami is.”

The 2015 Miami Open is March 23 to April 5 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on Key Biscayne. The world’s top 96 men and women are expected to play.

Andrea Pinotti Cordeiro, Marketing Director of Itau (pronounced It-Ah-Oo), said: “Leveraging the Miami brand is a great effort to strengthen Miami’s reputation as an epicenter for sport and entertainment. The city is also home to Itau’s international private banking operations, which is why we see the Miami Open as a perfect platform to strengthen our relationships with our clients around the world. A lot of Brazilians and Latin Americans live in Miami and visit here. It is the perfect partnership.”

The tournament logo is a rainbow-colored lower-case “m” with a yellow circle, symbolizing a tennis ball, in the middle. It is meant to look like a bouncing ball, and the colors symbolize Miami’s scenery and culture.

Event organizers said the tournament will make some cosmetic changes to incorporate the new logo throughout the grounds.

Itau has been involved with the Miami tournament for the past six years, and is also the lead sponsor of the Rio Open and was the Official Bank of the 2014 World Cup, as well as the sponsor of the Brazilian National Football Federation.

Cordeiro said Itau will advertise the Miami Open all over Latin America, offer ticket packages to its clients and invite top clients to its Stadium Court suites.

The Key Biscayne tournament draws 300,000 fans per year. It began in 1985 as the Lipton International, then became the NASDAQ-100 in 2002, the Sony Ericsson in 2007 and the Sony Open in 2013. Many longtime South Florida tennis fans still refer to the event as “The Lipton” because that was the name for so long.