G. Eric Knowles

G. Eric Knowles, president, Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce

As a former employee of both Hard Rock Stadium and the Miami Dolphins, where I served in several capacities, I understand both the challenges and the opportunities that having a world-class venue in the heart of Miami Gardens brings to both the residents and businesses. As the president of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce that was conceived in 1974 due to the lack of opportunity and inclusion in Miami Dade County, I am charged to advocate for the Black business community.

Miami Gardens will host Super LIV (54) in the beautiful city of Miami Gardens, where numerous members of the chamber will participate in the Super Bowl’s small business outreach program, benefiting from the economic impact that will be generated not only on Super Bowl Sunday, but throughout the weeks leading up to the Big Game.

However, today we are faced with answering the question, should Hard Rock Stadium be the home to Formula 1 racing? Formula 1 is a global event, and yes, there will be will be some level of impact; that has brought concern from the residents that surround the stadium. Yes, 199th Street in front of the stadium will be closed once per year on Saturday/Sunday while the track is in use, and yes Formula 1, like concerts, brings a level of sound during the event. On other hand, the 3-hour race – which takes place only one weekend per year – runs almost exclusively on stadium property, plus a half-mile stretch of Northwest 199th Street with no mailboxes on either side and will result in the creation of a new, international motorsports business headquartered Miami Gardens, with executive level employees, vendors, and thousands of event staff.

Hard Rock Stadium is now home to the Miami Open; and it is home to the largest fundraiser in the NFL, the Dolphins Cancer Challenge, raising millions of dollars for cancer research at University of Miami’s world renowned Sylvester Cancer Center. The CFP Championship game will be played there in 2021. The Miami Dolphins are building their training facility in Miami Gardens next to the stadium. And it’s overwhelmingly likely that Miami Gardens will be hosting World Cup matches in 2026.

We now have an opportunity to host Formula 1, an opportunity to join the ranks of the renowned global cities such as Monaco and Singapore. Ownership has invested well over $500 million into the stadium to attract world class events such as the Super Bowl, which is making its eleventh appearance, the most of any region that has hosted the game. Yes there will be jobs, yes there will be tax dollars generated, but my question to ownership is, what will be the benefit to the business community? Will you create a local vendor program? How will businesses in Miami Gardens, along with businesses of the chamber, benefit both directly and indirectly from Formula 1, and the continued development of the campus of the home of the Miami Dolphins? In 2016, you delivered not only a renovated Stadium, but more importantly, 3,452 jobs and $8 million in spending with certified small businesses. We hope that was just the beginning. Let’s make sure that this Formula 1 opportunity means more small and Black business opportunities.

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