After official grounbreaking earlier this week, the NFL stadium in Miami begins conversion to become home of Miami Open from 2019 onwards. The tennis tournament will grow commercially and in terms of attendance.
On Monday work officially began on the conversion of Hard Rock Stadium. The NFL venue will become home to Miami Open from March 2019 onwards, following the tournament's announced relocation from its current site in Key Biscayne.
The contract with stadium owner, billionaire Stephen Ross, was signed back in 2017. For Miami Open it's a significant commercial upgrade, for Ross it's a way of securing more optimal use for Hard Rock Stadium.
The billionaire had previously financed thorough redevelopment of his stadium in 2015-2016, worth over $550 million. New works will only cost a fraction of that, roughly $53 million. The Miami Open works will include expansion of Hard Rock Stadium's main stand facilities, but most of the project will be located just outside.
29 new tennis courts, 20 of them floodlit, will be created on what used to be parking space outside the stadium. Nicknamed the 'tennis oasis', it's expected to be a major leisure hub and one of the best tennis complexes worldwide.
Work within the stadium itself will see permanent upgrades of the main stand, including alterations of the changing room facilities and, to a smaller extent, corporate hospitality areas. For the duration of the March/April tournament a temporary central court will be built, using only the main stand of Hard Rock Stadium for auditorium and crowd circulation.
Together with temporary seating it will hold roughly 14,000 people. Remainder of the stadium will be visually hidden behind a mesh hanging from the roof. Such layout will allow for both the use of current corporate facilities (72 Club, The NINE and Hyundai Club) and creation of temporary ones in the added seating.
Total on-site capacity of tennis courts will reach 32,474 people, which is an increase from current 25,062. Much bigger growth in parking (from 2,500 to 5,166) is owed to Hard Rock Stadium's vast open-air parking sites.