Next month’s Miami Masters will undergo serious downsizing, with a maximum of 750 fans per day allowed to buy tickets for a major event to be played in a stadium parking lot.
With Miami and south Florida a COVID hotspot due to a lack of social distancing or mask enforcement, it will be buyer beware at a tournament which made a controversial 2019 venue move from he pleasant surrounds of the Latin-influenced island of Key Biscayne to a hulking NFL stadium in a gritty metro area.
The event was among the first cancelled last March when the pandemic began to become serious; this year’s rump edition will be scaled down to the max
Instead of spending money on installing a tennis court inside the gridron facility, showcase matches will be staged in a temporary parking lot arrangement, with seating limited to 15 per cent of 5,000 capacity.
The start of pay is set for March 22, the event’s normal date on the calendar and made possible only by the wipeout of the more popular March Indian Wells event in California..
But getting players into the country might become problematic unless exemptions are kept in place for pro athletes, allowing them to avoid any quarantine possibilities.
If all goes to plan, only 18,000, ticketholders will be allowed to buy into the event, whose last full edition was attended by nearly 390,000.
Prize money will be cut to the bone also, with a payout reduction of 40 per cent, from USD 8.5 million to 3.5 for the ATP and WTA events combined.