Miami Herald: Miami Beach Insists Convention Center Ready for Huge Baseball Crowds

As South Florida gears up to host the Major League Baseball All-Star game, Schwartz Media Strategies CEO Tadd Schwartz shares with the Miami Herald Miami is has grown beyond the beach. 

Downtown Miami

‘Baseball theme park’ to test readiness of Miami Beach’s $615M convention center

By Adam Beasley

Marlins Park, with its retractable roof, spray-painted models and whirling home run statue, won’t be South Florida’s only big-ticket project in the spotlight during All-Star week.

Across Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach’s new-look convention center will transform into a baseball mecca for fans — serving as a stress test as the facility’s first large-scale event since construction began in earnest.

The renovation project, paid for by hundreds of millions of tax dollars, remains a work in progress. The state-of-the-art space will regularly attract “large-scale business, trade, civic and cultural events,” the city boasts.

Major League Baseball’s All-Star FanFest, an interactive festival celebrating “America’s Pastime,” certainly qualifies. The fan experience, dubbed the “world’s largest interactive baseball theme park,” runs from July 7-11 in the convention center’s biggest common space.

And despite weeks of construction delays because of planning, permitting and design changes, those in charge of the 1.4 million-square-foot facility are confident it will be in working order when the masses descend…

By the time the NFL’s Super Bowl returns to South Florida in early 2020, any bugs should be fixed. The game’s local host committee, led by Rodney Barreto, has already made a deal for Miami Beach for use of the facility, and also secured a funding pledge from the city.

The Super Bowl’s media center and its own fan experience will both be at the convention center — at no charge to the league.

With sparkling new baseball and football stadiums both coming on line in the last five years and Miami’s downtown thriving, Miami Beach could no longer simply assume the big events will come across the MacArthur. The renovations kept South Beach in the game.

“While our appeal has historically centered around the sand and surf, our global brand has expanded beyond the beach,” said publicist Tadd Schwartz, who represents the Downtown Development Authority. “Now we’re home to a thriving urban core with waterfront parks, a growing inventory of hotel rooms, and the state’s best transit network.

Schwartz added: “All-Star Games and Super Bowls are spectacles that transcend the game itself by becoming community gatherings and tourism drivers, and the completion of the Miami Beach Convention Center will be another world-class venue that puts Miami in position to capture the biggest events.”