Miami-Dade County likes to think of itself as a big deal. Well, we are. We are driven by big events. So far, there have been 53 Super Bowls. Miami, between the old Orange Bowl Stadium and the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, has hosted 10 of them.
This February it will be Superbowl LIV, our eleventh. Let’s face it. We look good hosting events in the dead of our short and warm winter. Every time the camera cuts away to young people frolicking on our beaches or race horses pounding the turf at Calder, millions of people stuck in their homes by blizzards and ice all long to be here where we are.
Events like Art Basel draw a free spending demographic that fill our hotels and sip away our booze. The Miami Open, long held at the Tennis Center on Key Biscayne
has successfully moved to Hard Rock Stadium, preventing it from leaving to another major city”
We have the opportunity to capture something faster than football and more glamorous that professional tennis: Formula 1 Racing. And we have the chance to hold it at the same Hard Rock Stadium where the Dolphins and tennis stars play.
Once upon a time, we had Grand Prix Racing in downtown Miami. As exciting as it was, it was like the minor leagues as compare the World Series of open wheeled auto racing, Formula 1.
There is a plan to build a Formula 1 race course on part of the 250 acres of parking lot at Hard Rock and to make the race an annual event for at least 10 years. However, some residents in the surrounding community are against bringing Formula 1 racing to Miami Gardens.
While we are respectful of their concerns, we think that the burden on the neighborhood would be minimal. The Dolphins play a combined 10 home games each year. But the NFL team isn’t the only entity using the stadium.
The University of Miami Hurricanes call the Hard Rock home for six home games, plus the annual Orange Bowl game is played there. The Miami Open will take place over a two-week period. Similarly, Cirque du Soleil will be putting on its Alegria show at the Hard Rock over a multiweek period this fall. Add to all of the frequent music concerts and you have a venue that is busy all year round.
So how much of an added burden will the Formula 1 races be each year?
The Formula 1 races will be held on two consecutive weekend days. These aren’t 24 hour races or runs that take 500 miles start to finish. The cars, and the noise they generate, will only last for three to four hours a day for two days. Football games take longer to play than a Formula 1 race. The Jazz in the Garden festival and the Rolling Loud concert events generated more noise and were held over a 12 to 15 hour period.
The upshot is that all of South Florida will benefit from the added economic activity that a Formula 1 event generates. “People come from as Palm Beach or the Keys for football game or concert. They’ll fly Europe, Asia and South America for a Formula 1 race and will need to rent cars, stay in our hotels and eat at our restaurants while they’re here.”
One estimate is that Formula 1 racing in South Florida would be a $400 million boost to the local economy.
Unlike the Super Bowl or the Orange Bowl, it doesn’t matter who wins the Formula 1 race, who takes the checkered flag. The real winners will be Miami-Dade County and all of our residents.