Miami, Now Also A Sports Hub
By: Hernando Vargas
The first Formula 1 Grand Prix, 13 Major League Baseball games, three MLS soccer matches, and at least two NHL ice hockey postseason games will be played this May in Miami, a city that, in addition to being a tourist destination by definition, it has also become a sports hub.
Beyond the beaches and being a place to have fun and take a break, the ‘City of the Sun’ now offers top-level sporting events, and the most recent and highlighted, due to its novelty, is undoubtedly the Miami Grand Prix. On April 18, 2021, Formula 1 announced that Miami would host a race starting this year.
From the moment of the announcement, the interest of the general public has been overwhelming, so much so that in a matter of hours the tickets to attend the race were sold out. Resale prices range from $1,500 to $8,000.
However, not everyone welcomed F1’s arrival in the city, since Miami Gardens residents have widely complained about the potential hearing damage the competition could cause.
Despite of this, on April 20, a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge ruled that “it will not stand in the way of the upcoming Formula One races at Hard Rock Stadium,” adding that any potential harm to residents it would be avoidable “by using ear plugs or staying inside the home.”
The potential of Miami as a sports hub was recognized by a Latin American, the Mexican Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez, who had the luxury of being the first Formula 1 racer to drive on the Miami circuit after testing the new track of Florida on April 19, according to the Red Bull team.
“Miami is the perfect place for Formula 1. It is a nice city with a good atmosphere. The track looks great. Austin always feels like a home race for me and I think it will be no different in Miami,” Pérez said on the Austrian team’s social media.
The Miami Grand Prix will debut on the weekend of May 6, 7 and 8 in the current Formula 1 calendar. The 5.3-kilometer track will run around the Hard Rock Stadium and the circuit, designed by the British company Apex Circuit Design, has 19 curves.
Baseball is back
Another sport that will be based in Miami is baseball. The 2022 Major League Baseball season began with a week of delay and the Miami Marlins started it with the hope of fighting for a place in the postseason, a goal that was not fulfilled in 2021.
After a winter of many obstacles, the team’s owners and the players reached an agreement and the Opening Day of the Major League Baseball (MLB) arrived on April 7.
The Miami team, with the modernized LoanDepot Park, has delighted its fans with men like Cuban Jorge Soler, Most Valuable Player of the last World Series, and Joey Wendle, who played in the All-Star Game the previous year. Plus, manager Don Mattingly will have a team full of players who can work in more than one position on the diamond.
This month, those who want to see the Marlins will have several options, as they play 13 games at home, being noticeable the three-game series against the current Major League champions, the Atlanta Braves, who will be in town on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of this month.
Football and hockey are also at stake
Inter Miami, a team that is part of the Major League Soccer (MLS), is celebrating its third season in the league and, after failing to make it to the Playoffs in 2021, the team from the City of the Sun has as its first goal to be within the postseason.
Those led by the British, Phil Neville, were reinforced with national team players such as the American DeAndre Yedlin and the Jamaican defender Damion Lowe, in addition to the arrival of two talented youngsters such as the Colombian Emerson Rodríguez and the Ecuadorian Leonardo Campana, the latter of great performance in his first matches.
In May, Inter Miami will play four times in its stadium, the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, welcoming in league matches three great teams such as DC United from Washington, the New York Red Bulls, and the Portland Timbers, current runners-up in the MLS. Also, in the US Open Cup, they will play against South Georgia Tormenta FC.
On the other hand, in NHL ice hockey, the Florida Panthers have been one of the best teams in the league this regular season and are serious candidates to fight for the title and win the Stanley Cup, the trophy that is awarded to the winning team.
In the first week of May, in a schedule to be determined, the South Florida team, which plays at the BB&T Center, located in the city of Sunrise, will have at least two games in the First Round of the Postseason on its way to get its first Stanley Cup.
Although it happened a few weeks ago, the Miami Masters 1000 was held in the city, one of the most important events in the world of tennis, and the NFL season begins in September, with the Miami Dolphins as the team that represents the City of the Sun, making it clear that Miami, also in sports matters, is a true destination to visit and enjoy.