By Zachary Fagenson
MIAMI (Reuters) - One of the most popular professional tennis events has a new name - the Miami Open presented by Itaú - following the announcement that the Brazilian bank Itaú Unibanco is taking over as its new title sponsor from Sony.
The tournament, nearing its 30th year, attracts the world’s top male and female tennis stars who help drive flocks of international visitors and tennis fans to the ritzy island of Key Biscayne off Miami where it is held.
“Itaú’s understanding of the international consumer experience, innovation, entertainment value, and commitment to the growth of tennis makes the company an ideal partner,” Miami Open Director Adam Barrett said in a news release.
The tournament was previously named the Sony Open for the Japanese electronics giant. A tournament spokesman on Tuesday told Reuters Sony may remain a sponsor, though at a lower level. Next year’s matches are slated to take place from late March into early April.
Miami is a hub for the international private banking operations of Itaú, catering to high-net worth clients.
The city has also been a magnet for Brazilian tourism and investment, attracting hundreds of thousands of Brazilian visitors who spend more than a billion dollars annually, according to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Brazilian fast-food chain Giraffa’s has opened a handful of restaurants across the city and high-end furniture maker Artefacto operates a pair of showrooms.
“We see the Miami Open as a perfect platform to strengthen our relationships with our clients around the world,” Itaú Marketing Director Andrea Pinotti Cordeiro said in a statement.
Itaú is a prominent sports backer in Brazil, where it sponsors the country's national soccer team and was the country's lead sponsor for the recently concluded FIFA World Cup.
(Reporting by Zachary Fagenson; Editing by David Adams and Eric Beech)