A new Miami Open attendance record was set during the tennis tournament’s first run at Hard Rock Stadium, and officials are touting the event as a success.
Under Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, Hard Rock Stadium has been extensively renovated in recent years while welcoming a wider array of events outside of NFL games and Miami Hurricanes’ college football contest. The stadium’s event calendar saw a major addition in March with the Miami Open, which relocated to the Miami Gardens facility after being staged at Crandon Tennis Center on Key Biscayne annually since 1987.
Extensive preparation was needed to make Hard Rock Stadium ready for the Miami Open, and it seems that the effort paid off. A new attendance record of 388,734 was set over the two-week event, surpassing the previous record of 326,131 that was reached in 2012. Stadium and Miami Open officials acknowledge that some adjustments will have to be made ahead of the 2020 event, but overall the tournament’s first year at Hard Rock Stadium is viewed as a success. More from the Miami Herald:
Other than “a lot of little hiccups,” tournament director James Blake and Tom Garfinkel, president and CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium, said the feedback from fans and players was overwhelmingly positive. They liked the added space and amenities; and traffic flowed smoothly into and out of the grounds. One complaint they plan to address was not enough seating on the small outer courts.
Garfinkel said they will also consider lowering parking prices, although they were in line with other events at the stadium. A parking pass cost $25 online in advance, and $40 cash at the lots.
“We don’t want to overcharge for parking,” Garfinkel said. “We made an incentive to buy in advance and charge so much to buy on site because when people have to pay cash at the gate, and get change, the cars back up. If you buy in advance, you have a pass and the cars flow in. We’re trying to alleviate traffic flow.”
Blake predicts everyone will get used to the new site with time after 31 years on Key Biscayne.
Originally opening in 1987 as Joe Robbie Stadium, Hard Rock Stadium’s renovations have yielded significant design changes, with one of the highlights being a new canopy that covers the vast majority of the seating bowl. The facility has a few major football events coming in the near future, including Super Bowl LIV next February and the College Football National Playoff Championship in 2021.
Image courtesy Hard Rock Stadium.
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