The Miami Open presented by Itau ended its 35th year with Roger Federer winning his 101st title. More than 17,000 fans, a new record (old record was 14,625 in 2011), came out to watch the legend play last year’s champion John Isner in the men’s final. The day before, Australian Ashleigh Barty won the woman’s finals. In the double’s tournaments, the Elise Mertens and Belarus Aryna Sabalenka won the women’s and brothers Bob, and Mike Bryan won the men’s.
This year was the inauguration of the Miami Open’s new home at the newly renovated Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens after three decades in Crandon Park in Key Biscayne. In 2017, IMG and the stadium’s owner Stephen Ross, entered into a partnership to keep the Miami Open in Miami and expand its offerings. The partnership proved to be a great idea.
The 2019 Miami Open set numerous attendance records: 15 of its 24 sessions had higher attendance than the previous records, including an all-time single-session attendance mark of 32,831 during the Saturday, March 23 day session. Overall, the tournament’s two-week attendance was 388,734, breaking the old record of 326,131 set in 2012. It also marked the 10th consecutive year the tournament recorded more than 300,000 in total attendance.
With a new canvas to work with, the Miami Open featured a variety of new luxury, food, and entertainment offerings.
When guests arrived, they received a schedule of matches for the day as well as a schedule of entertainment. Visitors enjoyed a variety of music ranging from an acoustic artist performing in the Grove to a DJ at Kiki on the River. Various companies and organizations set up various family friendly activities and games.
For food and drinks, tournament goers had access to an expansive array of international dining experiences. Continuing a commitment of diverse flavors, Hard Rock Stadium, IMG and Centerplate curated local restaurant partnerships with some of the most desirable venues in town, including Bluestone Lane Cafe, Bourbon Steak by Michael Mina, Casa Tua Cucina, Chi Fa, Kiki on the River, Novecento, Pincho Factory, Sushi Maid and SuViche, and as well as high-end beverage activations with Moet & Chandon, Kim Crawford, Stella Artois and William Grant & Sons. There was even a signature cocktail called the MO Smash made with Hendricks Gin, blood orange sour, club soda, blood orange liquor with garnish and a dehydrated lemon wheel.
This year the Miami Open also featured art world-class art. A partnership with Art Miami and art murals curated through Goldman Global Arts from Wynwood Walls made it possible to feature modern and contemporary paintings, prints, sculpture, and photography in a massive pavilion located at the tournament entrance.
The galleries that showcased were Arcature Fine Art (Palm Beach), Ross Kramer Gallery (New York), Ascaso Gallery (Miami and Caracas), Durban Segnini Gallery (Miami), Eternity Gallery (Miami, Paris, Singapore) GGA GALLERY (Miami) and Masterworks Fine Art Gallery (Oakland). The galleries will focused on Latin American contemporary artists like Soto, Cruz Diez, Botero as well as works from Andy Warhol, Sam Francis, Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso, and Frank Stella. All of the art was available for purchase.
With so much to offer, guests and players alike had positive reviews about their experience at Miami Open’s new home. There were however some issues and those included the cost to park. Many guests expressed disgust at the $40 parking fees. While the Miami Open did say on their website that ticket holders could pay $25 if they purchased in advanced, it not surprisingly turned many people off.
Perhaps the Miami Open will reconsider parking costs next year. One thing is, and that is that this year’s tournament has set a new standard for what it means to attend a Tennis event in the Magic City.