Mason, Ohio Is Battling The Charlotte Area In An Effort To Retain A Tennis Tournament

Iga Swiatek, of Poland, returns a shot against Jessica Pegula, of the United States, during her win in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

The promoter wants more than one hundred million in public money for a Charlotte facility.

It appears Charlotte, North Carolina area elected officials are ready to spend tens of millions of dollars in an effort to pry the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament out of the Cincinnati area. The tournament has been played in the Cincinnati area since 1899. Ben Navarro, who paid $300 million to buy the rights to the Western and Southern Open, is now playing the stadium game pitting the Charlotte area against the Cincinnati area. Navarro’s Beemok Capital has a $400 million public-private partnership plan that would move the tennis tournament to the Charlotte area but it requires local money as that seems to be the theme from all sports entrepreneurs these days. Beemok officials said they want Mecklenburg County, the city of Charlotte and North Carolina to cover more than $130 million in costs for the project. Charlotte might be able to come up with around $60 million. Politicians claim the taxes will be paid by people coming to the Charlotte area to use hotels and eat at restaurants. Locals use hotels and restaurants so it is a local tax too.

Unlike most sports stadiums or arenas that are built solely for teams, the public might actually be able to use some of the venue’s tennis courts. Beemok’s Charlotte plan includes four stadiums, five additional match courts and a mix of hard, clay and indoor tennis courts. Beemok then claimed that the event could have a local $275 million economic impact and bring 350,000 people to Charlotte. But Beemok is also playing the stadium game. The group is not forgetting Mason, Ohio, the Cincinnati-area city that currently hosts the tournament. Mason elected officials told the Cincinnati Enquirer they are working with the state to keep the tournament in Ohio. In Mason, the anticipated price tag would be about $150 million for upgrades at the present venue.

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Tommy Paul of the U.S. celebrates after defeating compatriot Ben Shelton in their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)