History from the very beginning
The Open Era provided tennis players with new opportunities. It all began in late 60s, when professional competitors were allowed to play in the Grand Slam tournaments. However, until 1968 there were hard times. Being not supported by any sponsorship, young talented people like Frank Sedgman, Panch Segura, Jack Kramer, Panch Gonzalez and Earl Buchholz just were eager to do things they adore, therefore the enthusiasts were driving constantly from one place to other in stressful conditions.
They were traveling in station wagons and carrying all their equipment in a van, but could rarely get satisfactory pay-off. In that period, before receiving an injury and retiring as a player in 1970, Earl ‘Butch’ Buchholz had won a number of professional tournaments (he turned pro in 1961) and become one of members of the “Handsome Eight”. This name was given to a group of players formed in 1968 to take part in World Tennis Championship (WTC) sponsored by Lamar Hunt. Still, Butch’s participation in the world of sport continued in occupying a position of an Executive Director of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) in 80s.
Buchholz at Nasdaq-100 Open
A dream about professional tournament came in life in 1980, when Buchholz and a vice president of the Thomas J. Lipton Company agreed upon establishing a two-week event that initially took place in Delray Beach, Florida. The first tournament, called “Winter Wimbledon” and conducted at Laver’s International Tennis Resort, became also the first such competition of the year. The agreement was signed on conditions that the Company would provide sponsorship for five years (within $1.5 million a year) and would own the title (the Lipton International Players Championships).
As usual, Buchholz was absolutely infallible in deciding which people should be involved. Soon Alan Mills, tournament referee at Wimbledon, was appointed as a head referee, and role of director of protocol was taken up by Ted Tinling, a famous fashion designer and tennis player.
The next step was arranging things with professional tennis associations. Buchholz proposed that the ATP and Women’s Tennis Association would get global television rights, prize money and a percentage of the ticket sales in exchange for the right to operate the tournament for 15 years. Now everything was settled down, despite some critics’ attacks.
Later Buchholz said that even leading players reacted with doubt. Also, Bud Collins, tennis writer and TV analyst believed such event to be needless at that time. Perhaps if the negative opinion had outweighed, this event wouldn’t even have been close to the same as today. Fortunately, Buchholz had already signed the contract.
First Victories, 1985
After 20 years of cherishing a dream, the goal was finally accomplished. On Feb. 4, 1985 the Winter Wimbledon welcomed guests from all over the world. 84 of the top 100 men and 97 of the top 100 women performed. A part of the miami tennis tournament was telecast by ESPN, which captured the first weekend and the men’s semifinals, and another part of the finals was telecast by ABC. Besides, there were networks from England, France, Italy, Sweden, West Germany, Japan and Australia. The first victory on the court with a score 6–3, 6–2 belonged to Manuela Maleeva, who played with Angeliki Kanellopula. The battle for championship in the women’s final, when Martina Navratilova defeated Chris Evert, was a sellout.
The men’s final turned out a memorable duel as well. Tim Mayotte‘s victory became the first step towards the position of No. 7 in the world. Considering the income from ticket sales (near $1.8 million), the ‘Winter Wimbledon’ wasn’t much far behind Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. In 1986, however, Buchholz had to search for a new place because of Laver’s financial problems and was hosted at Boca West. 43 of the top 50 men and 46 of the top 50 women participated this time. At that point an innovation became a good tradition, though the tournament had to change home once more. After Arvida, that owned Boca West, sold it, Merrett Stierheim, Dade County Manager and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Executive Director, gave a helping hand.
Miami Open Location
Buchholz discussed several variants with Stierheim and crossed several locations, such as Tropical Park and Amelia Earhart Park. The choice fell on Crandon Park, a Miami-Dade County Park near Key Biscayne. A new Tennis Tournament Center was to be established.
Mellow subtropical environment and charming architecture made impression of a paradise, no wonder that Buchholz was attracted by this place, and there was enough space for parking and hosting visitors. ‘Postcard feeling’ is probably the best way to describe the region.
As soon as the building of $1 million clubhouse sized 10,000 square foots was constructed, the official court permission to build a stadium was obtained in 1992. Machines, having begun to bite into the ground, were stopped by natural disasters. The unfinished tennis center got hit by Hurricane Andrew and later by what they called ‘The Storm of the Century’. Buchholz was determined to lose no time and have the court completed by the next year. Instead of the planned tournament in 1993 it was successfully organized the following year and saluted as the 10th anniversary event. Attitudes to the initiative changed. Buchholz received many responses revealing that the $20 million stadium had become one of the best in the world. Almost in a month after the grand opening, on March 11, 1994 the first match took place, bringing victory to Karin Kschwendt over Kathy Rinaldi-Stunkel, 6–3, 6–4.
Thus, Miami Tennis Open has turned into one of the most prestigious sporting event and conquered the name of the ‘Fifth Slam’. Nowadays a two-week event gathers more than 300,000 spectators, and even more have the opportunity to watch the tournament due to worldwide broadcasting (for example, in 2014 the general amount of recorded hours was 12,000). The miami open prize money has reached more than $13.0 million.
Since 2014 the international bank Itaú became the sponsor of the tournament, changing its name from the Sony Open to the Miami Open presented by Itaú.
A year-by-year review:
1983: Buccholz makes an announcement about his intention at the French Open and reveals his plan to create a combined tournament in which men and women would participate.
1984: An agreement with ATP and WTA. It is set to run the event in Delray Beach, Florida. Thomas J. Lipton Company allocates funds for prize money ($1.8 million) and the tournament gets the name ‘Lipton International Players Championships’.
1985: Site: Laver’s International Tennis Resort. The event is held in format similar to Grand Slams, and newspapers will not be slow to call it the ‘Fifth Slam’. The fact of starting such event for the first time in 56 years is drawing attention of ABC and ESPN reporters. Martina Navratilova and Tim Mayotte are champions in singles. In general the number of visitors outmatches any previous local tennis event, reaching to more than 125 thousand.
1986: The tournament held at Boca West has become even more popular. Chris Evert-Lloyd gets her 146th title in women’s singles by defeating Steffi Graf. Men’s singles in which Ivan Lendl upsets Mats Wilander receives the largest attendance, and the whole number of people increases by 65%, reaching more than 193 thousand.
1987: In history Miami becomes a permanent venue for the event. Plans concerning stadium construction at Crandon Park, undertaken by Miami commissioners, are developing. 31 countries already watching the tournament in which Steffi Graf and Miloslav Mecir win finals.
1988: This year Graf starts her way to the most times seeded No. 1 player by defeating Gabriela Sabatini. Jimmy Connors loses to Mats Wilander.
1989: The tennis center receives a brand new clubhouse which cost Metro Dade $1 million. Lendl becomes 2nd tournament winner, and Sabatini gets her title by upsetting Evert in women’s singles.
1990: A distinguishing feature is new format, 96 men and 96 women participating in singles, the event is lasting for 10 days. The ‘Fifth Slam’ gets its next record – the youngest champions. Monica Seles, aged 16, wins her 2nd overall title by beating Judith Wiesner, and 19-year old Andre Agassi defeats Stefan Edberg. Another singed contract, this time about a stadium, with Metro Dade Commissioners.
1991: Seles succeeds as a second-time women’s singles winner. Unseeded David Wheaton advances to the final, however, he gives the prize to Jim Courier, who gets into top 10. Resources and efforts spent on building the center resulted in choosing it for U.S. teams’ training. The construction goes on, and in November the contract is signed by James A. Cummings, Inc.
1992: This season is marked by Michael Chang‘s and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario victories. Finals sell out proves growing popularity of the event. On March 15, attendance reaches 14,732 and general attendance slightly less than doubles since the first tournament. A year of obstructions; first building of the stadium is paused by court, but then continued due to appeal. In the end of August highly destructive Hurricane Andrew crashes the region, causing overall damage of $25.3 billion in Florida. Construction is postponed until the next year event.
1993: A large cyclonic storm dubbed “No-Name Storm” devastates the region. As a consequence, 4 sessions don’t proceed. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario goes out as a winner again, while Pete Sampras is awarded with men’s singles prize en route to becoming world No. 1 in two weeks. The game is broadcast to 66 nations.
1994: Dade County receives its new stadium designed for 14,000 seats. Less than in a month Karin Kschwendt and Kathy Rinaldi-Stunkel are first to meet on the court. In women’s singles Steffi Graff takes her prize. In men’s final audience becomes agitated as Boris Becker passes his racquet to a ballgirl and she wins, however, Andre Agassi defeats Becker in the end.
1995: Graf and Agassi emerge as winners once more. At that point Graf already owns four titles (consecutive titles in 1988 and 1995). On Sept. 7, the format is announced to be changed by adding one day. As a part of the ATP Tour and of Tier I of the WTA Tour it is the only event of such format. Men’s final is played in best-of-five set.
1996: Graf gets her 5th win in the tournament by beating Chanda Rubin. Agassi takes his 3rd consecutive title. Attendance reaches 234,755. All six sessions are sold out. Only in the first session on March 24 more than 15 thousand visitors entered the center. U.S. Tennis Court and Track Builders Association award the Tennis Center for outstanding court and facility. Another award comes from Athletic Business Magazine in the Architectural Showcase.
1997 tournament is marked by charity event run at the Jackie Gleason Theater on Miami Beach. Celebrities and tennis stars (such as Carlos Moya, Steffi Graf, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis) were present at the evening with actor, sports commentator and comedian Dennis Miller as a moderator. As a result, over $100,000 was given to the Community Partnership for Homeless and the Ashe-Buchholz Tennis Center located in Moore Park. An on-court presentation and dedication of men’s locker room to Tom Gullikson are held with Buchholz’s participation. Thomas Muster gets his first Masters title by defeating Sergi Bruguera, and Martina Hingis wins in women’s singles by upsetting Monica Seles, former world No. 1, 6–2, 6–1.
1998: The 30-year anniversary of Open Era in tennis. Attendance reaches 255,272, with a 40% percent increase on the opening day comparing to previous one. The “Handsome Eight” assembles on the court for a ceremony. Steve Campbell gets into the quarterfinals, and this is the first time that a qualifier reached that stage. On March 28, Kournikova approaches confidently women’s final by defeating top players one by one, but in a three-set final Venus Williams, world No. 11, becomes the winner. Another record is set by Marcelo Rios, the first Latin American male to become ranked No. 1 on the ATP, as he beats Agassi in men’s final. The title sponsorship is going to be take up by Ericsson in 2000, as it was reported in August.
1999: With 48 of the top 50 women and 47 of the top 50 men participating, the field of the tournament becomes the best in miami history. Finals are broadcast on Fox, men’s and women’s are played on Saturday and Saturday respectively. On March 28, the Williams sisters met in miami tennis tournament final, the first match between sisters since Maud and Lillian Watson played against each other in 1884. Venus gets victory 6–1, 4–6, 6–4. In June, Buccholz makes an announcement that he has decided to sell the tournament to the International Management Group (IMG).
2000: The first Ericsson Open. Future world No. 1 Andy Roddick, aged 17, wins the match against Fernando Vincente, 6–4, 6–0, but in the second round gives way to Agassi, 6–2, 6–3. Pete Sampras gets his 3rd title in the tournament by defeating Gustavo Kuerten. This is an epic match, and audience is just turbulent. Sampras leaves with feeling of gratitude for the emotional support. The tournament grows longer by adding one day, and now players will have more recreation between competitions.
2001: Breathtaking match, acknowledged by Tennis Magazine as the Best women’s Match of the year, between Venus Williams and Jennifer Capriati, in which Venus comes out as a winner, 4–6, 6–1, 7–6 (4). Agassi beats Jan-Michael Gambill 7–6 (7), 6–1, 6–0 in men’s final, and this is his 4th title at the tournament, a record among males.
2002: Buchholz starts the NASDAQ Market in cooperation with NASDAQ–100 with the help offered by tennis stars Rod Laver and Martina Navratilova. As Cliff Buchholz retires on March 19, Butch dedicates to him the Stadium Player Center. Six days later Sampras plays his final set in this event losing the match to Fernando Gonzalez. Sampras has already won three championships, the next year he will become the winner of the U.S. Open and then retire. On March 28, excitement rises around the match of Serena and Venus Williams, Serena defeats also Jennifer Capriati, 7–5, 7–6, and comes out as a winner. Agassi, like his wife Steffi Graf, by winning the 4th title sets record of the most titles ever in this tournament. On June 4, Adam Barrett, the Executive Vice President, becomes the tournament director.
2003: On Feb. 18, former world No. 4 Mary Joe Fernandez is appointed to the duty of official tournament ambassador. Grown up in Miami, she has been involved in tournament life, from participating in matches to commenting for ESPN and CBS. On March 22, the tournament is left by Michael Chang, the 1992 champion, after Agassi defeats him in the second round. Thus, Agassi gets 3rd consecutive title by defeating Carlos Moya (and the sixth since 1990). Serena Williams upsets Capriati, 4–6, 6–4, 6–1. The whole match is broadcast by NASDAQ MarketSite on Broadway, NYC. Roddick, having been invited to the US Open, in two weeks will get his first victory in Grand Slam and reach No. 1.
2004: The first time men’s and women’s finals are telecast live on network TV in the US since 1992. Both finals of miami open are broadcast live on CBS, and men’s semifinals are shown on the ESPN2. Additionally, first-day report of the tournament is broadcast live over the Tennis Channel, 12 hours in sum. On March 26, Serena Williams defeats Elena Dementieva, 6–1, 6–1, and gets her 3rd consecutive title. In men’s final, after Guillermo Goria has left because of back pain, Andy Roddick becomes the owner of the title, 6–7, 6–3, 6–1.
2005: On April 2, Kim Clijsters is the first unseeded woman to win the final, setting down No. 5 Anastasia Myskina, No. 4 Elena Dementieva, No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo and No. 2 Maria Sharapova.
On April 3, Federer takes revenge on Rafael Nadal, to whom he lost the 2004 match. Federer in the beginning lets Nadal win two games, and then triumphs in the end of the best final ever seen on this court, 2–6, 6–7 (4), 7–6 (5), 6–3, 6–1. Attendance reaches 263,118. On August 25, Roger Federer and Earl Buccholz start the NASDAQ Market preceding the U.S. Open, which Federer will win.
2006: A year of further improvements, both in organization and facilities. The Hawk-Eye is introduced at the court with the Electronic line calling, to be used in US Open afterwards. Jamea Jackson and Roger Federer are first to acquire prize money divided equally. Audience has the chance to revise the game results on video boards. The Stadium is equipped with chairback seats designed for the 400 level. On March 30, Svetlana Kuznetsova helps in NASDAQ Market opening for trading from a tournament for the first time. New attendance record with more than 272 thousand of visitors and five sellouts is established. On August 29, Buccholz and Dee Dutta make public that the next year tournament will receive sponsorship from Sony Ericsson and NASDAQ–100, though Sony Ericsson becomes the title sponsor.
2007: Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications brings in new events in the tournament organization. South Beach becomes the site for Kickoff Party with Robin Thicke giving a musical performance, and well-known designers Roberto Cavalli, Etro and Dizne von Furstenberg at the luxurious Village of Merrick Park. Norman Van Aken and Katy Sparks gave outstanding chef demonstrations. On-court performances are conducted with the participation of JoJo, Boyd Tinsley, Kelly Rowland, Jose Feliciano, Melissa Kimenez and Jon Secada. The tournament beats his previous attendance record with 288,025 visitors and seven sellouts.
Selena Williams returns triumphantly winning the match against world top seed Justine Henin, 0–6, 7–5, 6–3. The impressive game by Novak Djokovic wins him first tournament title en route to future dominance on the court. Unseeded Guillermo Canas reaches the final losing only to Djokovic.
2008: Since previous event reputation of the Sony Ericsson Open has provided the 2008 tournament with nearly 9 thousands more guests. 11 sellouts observed this time, and tickets to the men’s final were the fastest to go off-sale in the Sony Ericsson Open tennis history. And the event didn’t let down its fans. 12 days of incredible impressions created by various types of performances, from live musical show by the Misshapes and Kenny G to fashion performances by Venus Williams, Fila, EleVen and Blumarine. It was the first time the event literally gone beyond its limits by placing video boards and providing players’ appearances at Lincoln Road and Coconut Grove. Some Miami high schools were involved as well. The tournament attended renowned stars, such as actors Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson, Pauly shore and Brittany Murphy; musicians Alejandro Sanz, Boyd and Common Tinsley, just to name a few. Famous race car drivers, models (like Jessica Gomes), former professional tennis players and TV stars also featured the event. Beside CBS, broadcasting men’s and women’s finals, other networks transmitted the reports on the event for 2000 hours altogether. Nikolay Davydenko and Serena Williams emerge as winners.
2009: It was the second time the tournament went on the streets with performances at Coconut Grove, the University of Miami and Mary Brickell Village. Attendance reaches 293,228 people, and the men’s final has beaten its own record of the fastest sellout. Andy Murray beats Novac Djokovic, 6–2, 7–5. In women’s singles Victoria Azarenka upsets Serena Williams, 6–3, 6–1. Sky Sports is broadcasting the whole event. In general the tournament was seen by more than 153 million of people throughout the world. A Kickoff Party at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach is featured by Wyclef Jean’s performances, fashion shows and musical events with movie & TV stars and sports legends. Among them are: Owen Wilson, Enrique Iglesias, Kelly Rowland, Shakira, Nicky Hilton, Ana Christina, Ed Reed, and many others.
2010: Butch Buchholz’s intention to retire from the position of chairman got known before the tournament, and the Sony Ericsson Open announces the major trophy to be called «Butch Buchholz Championship Trophy» from now on.
Kickoff Party is located at Fontainebleau Miami Beach with celebrity guests such as musicians Mel B and Jimmy Buffett, reality stars Kris Jenner and Kim Kardashian, sport legends Jack Nicklaus, Monica Seles, Boris Becker, Gabriela Sabatini; National Football League stars Terrell Owens, Jonathan Vilma, Willis McGahee and Bryantl McKinney; Anna Wintour, the Vogue editor.
Traditional National Anthem is performed before women’s final by Nicole Henry, jazz singer with three widely known albums released. The performance of Arturo Sandoval, Cuban jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer, at that time nominated for several Grammy and Billboard awards, preceded men’s final. Sandoval received Emmy Award as well for music pieces written for 2000 film about himself, “For Love or Country”. Both artists are connected to Florida – Nicole Henry as a Miami University alum, and Arturo Sandoval as a professor of Florida International University.
Eleven sessions are sellouts with general 312,386 attendance, and men’s final only increases its popularity, beating its own record as the quickest sellout. Unprecedented increase in food and beverage sales are also marked. More than 2400 hours of TV coverage are transmitted by networks.
In men’s singles Roddick repeats his 2004 triumph and gets the second tournament title, and Kim Clijsters, similarly, adds to her existing 2005 title by beating Venus Williams, 6−2, 6−1.
A world-class sporting event stands in for charity. Champions for Chile, a double match with participation of Andy Roddick, Gustavo Cuerten, Jim Courier and Fernando Gonzalez was intended to help the suffered from the 2010 Chile earthquake. Over $125,000 was raised to help in funding disaster relief efforts.
2011: With over $1.5 million invested back into the 27th edition of the event, no wonder that even more astounding results were achieved. First of all, technical support and services were significantly improved, including electric line calling. A larger video wall was installed at the entertainment stage, and the site also received bold new graphics. Food service presented wide choice among cuisines of different styles and countries: barbeque, Papa John’s Pizza, Italian sausage and peppers, Latin cuisine, NY style deli sandwiches… Furthermore, guests had a chance to enjoy menus from several famous chefs. The number of public seatings increased, along with newly introduced check-in locations that allowed the tournament be integrated into social media. In addition, an app was designed for both iOS and Android platforms that allowed to track match results in real time. The event was broadcast live on CBS, ESPN2 and Tennis Channel, and more than 600 reporters from 30 countries were present. Other sites connected to the event were at Coconut Grove and Bayside Marketplace, on March 24 and 25 respectively.
In men’s singles Djokovic takes his second prize adding to the 2007 win. Victoria Azarenka in women’s singles defeats Maria Sharapova, 6–1, 6–4, and this is also her second win in the tournament (since 2009).
The Sony Ericsson’s promotion of the Butch’s brainchild has paid off and even surpassed expectations. Total attendance reaches over 316 thousand, with attendance of 14,625 of men’s final. In the last five years the Sony Ericsson Open has beaten its record for the 4th time, and nine sessions are sellouts. Hot commodity acquirement combined all 348 packages sold out and over 14 thousand room nights booked, not to mention a 65% increase of retail sales.
Participating celebrities included, among others, such famous persons as golf stars Greg Norman and Sergio Garcia, music producer Bob Sinclair, singer Brandy, actress Brooklyn Decker, WTA & the ATP stars Kim Clijsters, Vera Zvonareva and others. With their help and attaching donations from the Grand Slams, ATP World Tour, the WTA, IMG, SAP, FILA, Lagardère, adidas, ITF, Sony Ericsson and fans, over $300,000 were raised for donation to the Red Cross in order to help those who suffered from the tsunami in Japan.
2012: Year by year visitors of the tournament at Crandon Park are getting more and more entertainment benefits, that is one of aspects of good promotion work done by the Sony Ericsson. It has become a profitable tradition – for both promoters and guests – that so many menus and cuisines are included, for example, burritos, crepes, deli sandwiches, barbeque, traditional South American and Cuban food. Such establishments as Sushi Bar, the Corona Beach House, Veuve Cliqcout Champaign and the Bombay Sapphire Lounge would anyone’s taste. For gourmets a visit to the Collector’s Club presented by Nespresso is a must.
In order to bring the event to people, for the fourth time video boards, interactive games and player appearances were attracting audience at Coconut Grove (March 22) and Mary Brickell Village (March 23). All in all, organizers had done their best to fulfill the expectations of guests, whose attendance exceeded 326 thousand. Fourteen sessions were sellouts, and five of them got attendance records as well. No doubt, the region has gained a significant economic donation, judging by the number of booked nights in local hotels (over 14,700) and sold packages (403). Stephan Croix, Head of Marketing Creation at Sony Mobile Communications, expressed his hope that the tournament would be a perfect platform for introducing the company’s new smartphones.
It is clear that an event of such magnitude would draw attention of media. Over 500 credentials were given out to reporters from 32 countries. As usual, CBS was broadcasting both singles finals, while the early rounds could be seen on ESPN2 and Tennis Channel. 73.5 hours of domestic TV coverage were also recorded. Social media activity has risen, especially on Facebook, where the tournament page collected more than 100,000 likes – and no other event could be followed by so many users, except the Grand Slams. On Twitter the number of followers exceeded 17,000. And it was supposed to, considering the amount of interesting articles, interviews and exclusive videos posted by the Sony Ericsson Open during the event.
Both players and fans were pleased by some innovations introduced this year, for instance, new lounge areas, enlarging of the locker rooms, the Player Dining area and the Player Lounge. In general, the money invested into improvements amounted to $1 million. Changes in services and infrastructure reflected the change in the tournament title announced this year. The next event will take place under the name of the Sony Open, since Sony Ericsson became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony.
In women’s singles Agnieszka Radwańska, who lost only 4 times this season, got victory over Maria Sharapova, 7–5, 6–4. Novak Djokovic, not unpredictably, got his 3rd title in the tournament by defeating Andy Murray, 6–1, 7–6.
2013: For the fourth consecutive year total attendance reached more than 300,000. “Most glamorous” on the World Tours of WTA and ATP – that’s how the event is considered. This, apart from exciting on-court duels, explains the number (over 14,000) of booked room nights and ten session sellouts. In general, an economic impact of the tournament on Miami-Dade County was estimated to account more than $380 million. Fantastic Miami Florida weather, good quality entertainment and most prominent figures in sports and show business featured the tournament. On the court, Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova, 4–6, 6–3, 6–0, beating the record of Steffi Graf owning five titles. In men’s final, Andy Murray upset David Ferrer, 2–6, 6–4, 7–6.
It was announced that after the 2014 event a $50 million project approved by voting would start. The plan included the expansion of food and beverage areas in the main stadium, as well as green space around the Tennis Center to make it fit better in general landscape. Besides, three permanent show courts would be constructed. The IMG had already prepared for funding the project, and not taxpayer money would be spent.
Many cuisines were presented in partnership with the official food and beverage provider, Great Performances. Visitors enjoyed various dishes and drinks, from margaritas to champagne, along with spending pleasant time at Latin Café of the Champions Club presented by Itau, the member’s only Collectors Club presented by Nespresso, the Bombay Sapphire Lounge, Sushi Bar, the Corona Beach House and Veuve Clicqout Champaign.
Wide publicity in media, received by the event, in addition to high social network activity in previous years, resulted in great media attention again. The tournament was broadcast on Tennis Channel, ESPN and CBS, covering 72 hours of domestic television and 7000 hours of global TV and transmitting to 193 territories all over the world. Media credentials were received by more than 500 reporters. Users of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube could also find the tournament last news tagged by @SonyOpenTennis. The Facebook page received over 118,000 likes. The smartphone owners could download an app by the Sony Open and SAP which was designed to keep anyone informed about actual news, including live scores, videos, photos and players’ biographies. The app has a virtual replay function too.
An exclusive party by Sony Open in downtown Miami featured stars of sports, music and show business, such as Flo Rida, Austin Mahone, Calvin Harris, Dario Franchitti, Ryan Tannehill, Alex Rodriguez, Tony Kanaan, Rob Lowe and Calvin Harris, to name just a few.
2014: Attendance exceeded 300,000 for the fifth consecutive year, propelled by exciting on-court performances, good quality entertainment and back-laid weather. This time nine sessions were sellouts. Famous persons, noticed at the event, included musicians Alejandro Sanz, Bob Sinclar and Gloria Estefan; golf star Rory McIlroy; actors Diego Luna and Kevin Spacey; supermodels Nina Agdal and Adriana Lima; Vogue editor Anna Wintour; entrepreneur Richard Branson.
The tournament was broadcast to 193 territories all over the world and received a record 106.5 hours of TV coverage on the ESPN and Tennis Channel. Again more than 500 credentials were given out to media from 36 countries.
In partnership with Great Performances, the Sony Open provided its tennis guests with various kinds of food, e.g. tacos, burritos, sushi, deli sandwiches and so on. The visitors could taste exquisite dishes from top chefs like Peter Vauthy , Cindy Hutson and Michelle Bernstein, as well as attend the Bombay Sapphire Lounge, Latin Café, Sushi Lounge, the Michelob Ultra Beer Garden, the Champions Club presented by Itaú and Moet & Chandon Champaign. The member’s only Collectors Club presented by Chateau Group Residences offered gourmet food.
Player question and answer session met enthusiastic responses. The same situation developed in social networks, with over 165,000 likes on the Facebook page. As always, brand new information tagged by @SonyOpenTennis could be found on Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram. The event developers presented the official tournament mobile application.
In men’s final Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal, 6–3, 6–3, while the women’s final prize was taken by Serena Williams, who won the match against Li Na, 7–5, 6–1.
Huge economic impact on Miami-Dade County was estimated to be more than $380 million. Over 15,000 room nights were booked at local hotels. A sponsor change was announced. From now on, the tournament will be run under the name of Miami Open presented by Itaú.
2015: Attendance exceeded 300,000, and 9 sessions were sellouts with 3 session records. Visitors had a chance to feel the Latin spirit of this year’s event brought in by Itaú. Its graphic designers presented a new logo with vivid colors, reflecting the magic Miami culture. Each sponsor has made great efforts for improving the tournament and creating energetic, entertaining and modern atmosphere. Lacoste, exclusive fashion and sports apparel brand, designed clothes for the linesmen, lineswomen and the ball kids on court. In addition, a special collection for the Miami Open was created and available for purchasing at Lacoste retail stores throughout Florida. Claro provided access to Wi-Fi all around the site. Being the presenting sponsor of the Miami Open’s tennis annual Kids Day, Lexus run player appearances and on-court activities for local youths. X sponsor established really important charging stations for fans’ mobile devices.
But that’s not all about the changes. Approximately 4500 square feet of asphalt outside of the west side of the stadium were taken out to put 320 tons of sand instead, and that became the center stage of Miami Open beach party. They added large video boards, Tiki Bar and Adirondack chairs for fans to lounge. Just about the same area of asphalt was replaced with pavers and white couches were put in front of the main video board. Additionally, new chairs, tables and shade structures were established. Completely new mood, and it’s matching Miami perfectly.
Guests appreciated Tori Praver’s new Spring/Summer Resort collection, with cover model Hannah Davis wearing a costume from it. In between the matches famous chefs Scott Conant, Tom Colicchio, Josh Capon and Michelle Bernsten offered delicious dishes, like Capon’s award-winning Burger. Emotions boiled over the AVP Pro Volleyball exhibition which involved three men’s and women’s teams. Multiple Olympic Gold medalist Phil Dalhausser participated.
Winners of Miami Open Final presented by Itaú showed impressive game and added to round amounts of their titles. Andy Murray won his 500th career ATP singles match. In men’s final Djokovic defeated him in 3 sets, 7–6, 4–6, 6–0.
Serena Williams won her 700th career match and record 8th title.
2016: New tennis star Novak Djokovic, Serbian player, has equaled Agassi in amount of titles (6) by defeating Kei Nishikori, 6–3, 6–3. Novak also has won most consecutive tournament titles (2014, 2015 and 2016). In women’s final Victoria Azarenka defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6–3, 6–2. Each singles winner received prize money of $1,028,300 (the 2016 Grand Total is $13,881,734).
With such excellent achievements, however, the tournament still faces some obstacles, that may force it to leave Crandon Park, though it seems unbelievable. The matter is that the IMG project on improvement of the Tennis Center can’t be carried out without legal court permission. And the court denied such possibility.
Serena Williams, who expressed her support and devotion to the tournament, mentioned that Miami Open has had too many merits to be neglected like that. It was the first tennis tournament outside the Grand Slams which featured both men and women, and it played a great role in lives and careers of many top players since its foundation.