Organizers say Nasdaq-100 Open to generate $100 million
By Suzy Valentine
The Nasdaq-100 Open tennis tournament, which begins Wednesday (3/23) on Key Biscayne, could net up to $100 million for the region, organizers say.
"We use conservative multipliers," said tournament director Adam Barrett. "We presume that for every dollar you can track, there's another two or three spent you can't track. The bigger events like the Olympics or the Super Bowl use a 6- or 7-to-1 model. We try to be conservative rather than aggressive in our forecasting."
A Weston sports analyst said work she conducted for the US Open, one of the professional circuit's Grand Slam events, put its impact at a fraction of that. "The event brought $600,000 to the economy," said Kathleen Davis of Sports Management Research Institute.
Nasdaq-100 organizers follow the mathematical model used in the most recent economic-impact study they conducted, in the late 1990s. "Probably we'll commission another study next year," said Mr. Barrett.
In the most recent research, up to 11,000 hotel reservations were linked to the event - a figure Mr. Barrett said has been surpassed. "I think it's closer to 13,000 now."
It is important that tournament organizers link hotel traffic to the event, said Ms. Davis. "The biggest challenge," she said, "is to ascertain whether people come for the tennis or they just take some in while they're in South Florida. You have to justify that they're coming to the region for the tennis."
The tournament, which will run through April 3, is in its 21st year in Florida. Event organizers last year distributed 268,000 tickets.
"That doesn't include the 10,000 credentials we issue," Mr. Barrett said. "In our best year, we distributed 274,000 tickets."
Another indicator of the tournament's popularity, he said, is telephone traffic. "The phones are very heavy," he said. "This year, the phone volume and ticket sales are up. It's been three of the busiest weeks preceding a tournament."
This year's sponsors represent a good mix of regional, national and international brands, said Mr. Barrett.
"ADT is a Boca Raton-based company," he said, "and Royal Caribbean has Miami ties. Then there's Lan Chile, which has regional headquarters in Miami together with American giants Merrill Lynch and Starbucks and European sponsors like Warsteiner."
A good field at the tournament vying for a share of the $6.5 million purse, Mr. Barrett said, would also be good for business. "All the male players will be here," he said. "I haven't heard of any of the majors withdrawing, and Belgian Kim Clijsters is making a return in the women's event."
Strength among Latin contenders, said Mr. Barrett, should attract support in the community. "All of the big South American players are competing," he said, "and right now, the region's tennis is very strong.
"South Americans really rally behind these players like Fernando Gonzalez, from Chile. Then we have the US greats like Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick. This year, 15-year-old Donald Young debuts at the tournament. Then there's the European contingent - Roger Federer plays well on every surface."
Miami-Dade County, said Mr. Barrett, is enjoying healthy event-driven tourism. "There was a buzz about the Ford Championship at Doral golf tournament," he said. "The entertainment landscape surrounding the town's doing very well, and events are getting a lot of hometown support."