The client:

The Miami Open – tennis’ fifth grand slam – has hosted the sport’s greatest players of the past 30 years, from Chris Evert and Andre Agassi to Roger Federer and Serena Williams. The Tournament has become one of Miami’s most anticipated sporting events and a catalyst for the city’s international brand.

The challenge:

To ensure the Miami Open can keep pace with tennis tournaments around the world, the event’s owners launched a public referendum campaign aimed at galvanizing voter support for privately-funded facility upgrades that would keep the event in Miami long-term. Winning approval meant securing at least two-thirds of the public’s vote and overcoming opposition from a small-but-vocal group of detractors.

The solution:

Our team began framing the referendum debate as soon as the measure was placed on the ballot – and we continued to communicate our messages throughout the campaign through a mix of media relations, digital marketing, social media and public events.

We enlisted current and former players as credible surrogates and emphasized the tournament’s economic impact and international brand value at every turn. The most critical element of our campaign was convincing a skeptical electorate that the event’s plans would be entirely privately financed, without a penny of taxpayer dollars.


  • Referendum garnered 73% of the vote, eclipsing the required 66% threshold required for passage
  • More than 525,000 people voted to support the measure
  • Campaign secured the Miami Herald editorial board’s endorsement
  • Thousands of Miami-Dade business and civic leaders, community groups and residents signed letters of support