SBD/January 6, 2011/Facilities

Dolphins Seek Help From Neighboring County On Renovations

Dolphins willing to pay for portion of Sun Life Stadium renovations

The Dolphins "want Broward County to share its tourism tax revenue to help pay" for a $225M renovation of Sun Life Stadium, which is located in Miami-Dade County, according to Scott Wyman of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Dolphins CEO Mike Dee has been "meeting with area hoteliers, business executives and tourism officials to pitch the idea of rewriting state law to allow Broward to spend its tax money outside the county." Dee at a Miami Chamber of Commerce lunch yesterday said that the Dolphins "want to pursue legislation that would allow counties to increase the hotel tax from the current maximum of 6 cents to 7 cents." Broward County "played host to the Super Bowl headquarters in 2010," and the Dolphins "argue that Broward has benefited heavily from past Super Bowls at the Miami-Dade venue and that a new stadium would help ensure their return in the future." Sun Life Stadium's ability to host more Super Bowls "has been in doubt." Dee said that a renovated stadium "could add about $2.5 billion to the South Florida economy through 2040." Dee: "This is a community decision. This is about the ability to continue to bring big-time events to the community." But Broward Mayor Suzanne Gunzburger said, "There would have to be a lot of sweetener in the pot before I would even think about it." Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler said that she "opposes any additional use of tourism dollars to support professional sports teams." Wyman noted the Dolphins' plans also are "dividing the region's business community." Sunrise Sports & Entertainment President & COO Michael Yormark said that he "believes the Dolphins intend to turn their stadium into a multipurpose entertainment facility that would then compete" with BankAtlantic Center (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 1/6). Yormark in a statement said, "Their request is, in effect, to use Broward County tax dollars to help a privately owned Miami-Dade facility compete with a publicly owned facility in Broward County" (THE DAILY).

WILLING TO CHIP IN: Dee said that the Dolphins "would fund a portion of the renovation -- a significant shift from past statements, when Dee cited" Owner Stephen Ross and former Owner Wayne Huizenga's $300M worth of "investments in the stadium." Dee: "We need to dig deeper." He said that "without the partially enclosed roof and 3,000 seats" that are part of the Sun Life Stadium renovation plan, the stadium "would be less competitive for Super Bowls and other big games, including college football championships" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/6).

NOT ALONE: In N.Y., Ken Belson writes under the header, "Teams And Owners Find Public Money Harder To Come By." Cities that are "short of cash can no longer afford to build stadiums." But in "just as many cities and states, lawmakers, often desperate to appease fans, are finding new ways to help their home teams" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/6).

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Miami Dolphins, Football, Facilities

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