By: Marisa Herman
Delray’s ATP tennis tournament, the Delray Beach Open, isn’t going anywhere until at least 2030.
The commission voted 4-1 to settle litigation with the tennis tournament operator, MatchPoint Inc. Mayor Shelly Petrolia cast the sole dissenting vote.
The city commission sued the tennis tournament operator in 2016 alleging the 25-year, multi-million dollar contract was voidable because the contract wasn’t competitively bid. The contract was renewed in 2005 and is set to expire in 2030. The tournament operators say the city couldn’t have bid out the tournament because it is a sole source provider meaning it’s the only one that could provide the service.
Instead of continuing the legal battle in the court room, the two entities agreed to a settlement.
“This is a big win,” Commissioner Ryan Boylston said. “We saved millions. We negotiated a better contract for the city.”
Terms of the agreement:
- The city’s annual contribution to the tournament will remain at $1.646 million until Feb. 2030.
- MatchPoint will increase television coverage of the tournament to seven days with a minimum of 50 hours airtime
- The city’s agreement with Players International Management, Inc. will receive a 5-year extension on the Delray Beach ATP Champions Tour. A 3 percent escalator is removed and the city’s annual contribution will remain at $443,369.
- Both parties will dismiss the lawsuits with prejudice.
- Both parties will pay their own attorney’s fees.
- Delray will pass an ordinance that permits for a “best interest” exception that would allow for the type of agreement the city has with MatchPoint
Petrolia said she voted against the settlement because she believes the city has a strong legal position and she does not agree with the best interest ordinance saying it can be “easily abused.”
“I feel we are absolutely selling out too cheap and this isn’t a good business deal for our constituency,” she said.
But the rest of the commission was satisfied with the terms of the settlement.
“I applaud my colleagues for seeing the value in this gem of sports tourism and allowing it to continue until at least 2030,” Commissioner Adam Frankel said. “I look forward to the city working with Mark Baron and his team and continuing to put on a world class ATP event in our city.”