SBD/February 2, 2011/Facilities

Dolphins Present County New Deal For Stadium Upgrades In Hopes Of Securing Funds

The Dolphins proposed a new split in Miami Beach's regional tourist development tax
Dolphins CEO Mike Dee yesterday said that the team has “offered to sweeten the pot for Miami Beach in a push to secure public financing for renovations of both Sun Life Stadium and the city's aging convention center,” according to David Smiley of the MIAMI HERALD. Dee said that the team sent a letter yesterday to the Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association, “offering to alter a proposed state bill that would allow Broward and Miami-Dade commissioners to increase a regional tourist development tax by a penny.” Dee said that the “new split would send 60 percent of the new revenue to the convention center and 40 percent to Sun Life Stadium, the Dolphins' home stadium, or potentially other eligible sports franchises.” Smiley notes that Dolphins' “push for public financing has drummed up considerable opposition.” Florida state Sen. Mike Bennett on Monday confirmed that he is “supporting legislation that would allow Miami-Dade commissioners to raise the county's convention development tax by a penny in order to finance the convention center only -- excluding Sun Life Stadium.” Dee said that the Dolphins' new offer “was not made in response to Bennett's proposed legislation” (MIAMI HERALD, 2/2).

TRYING TO STAY COMPETITIVE: In Miami, Armando Salguero reported the "amount of money the Dolphins need for their upgrades here is $200 million, not the previously stated $250 million." The money would be used to upgrade the stadium’s “original 1987 lighting that has to be improved for the benefit of modern television technology.” The money would also go toward upgrading what Dee called an "inadequate" video system infrastructure. In addition, it would “bring a number of seats 18 feet closer to the field and add 3,500 seats, thereby increasing the number of seats between the goal lines.” But the money would “go, most notably, toward building a canopy-type roof over the stadium that would guard fans against the elements while still allowing the playing surface to remain out in the elements.” Dee: "Doing all those things would bring us just above the Mendoza line, or in the zip code of where we need to be as a facility capable of attracting Super Bowl and BCS title games." Dee added that the upgrades “would also add approximately 30 years of shelf life to Sun Life Stadium.” Dee: "Facilities have come online that are newer and perhaps more attractive to the NFL. Dallas is going to be competing for Super Bowls over the longterm. It won't be a one-off award to Dallas. … We take the possibility that we could be out of the Super Bowl rotation as real.” Salguero noted the “approach the Dolphins want to see South Florida take is that the league's biggest game comes to town perhaps every four to five years,” and Dee indicated that “that will not happen unless Sun Life is upgraded” (MIAMIHERALD.com, 2/1).
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