SBD/March 25, 2013/Facilities

Dolphins Willing To Reimburse County For Sun Life Stadium Referendum

A stadium referendum could appear on Miami-Dade city council's ballot in May
Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said the team is “willing and interested” in reimbursing Miami-Dade County for any costs related to a stadium referendum, according to Adam Beasley of the MIAMI HERALD. Dee said, “If the opportunity presents itself to reimburse the county for any and all costs for the special election, we are supportive and want to do that. It’s been our position since Day One.” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Thursday “asked the Florida Division of Elections for an opinion on whether the Dolphins could pay for the potential referendum, which the county elections department estimates would cost $3 million to $5 million.” During a meeting with Dee and Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross last week, Gimenez "asked them to agree to pay for the election if the state allows them to.” The date of the referendum “will likely be either May 7 or 14.” Gimenez said, “I don’t think the people of Miami-Dade should bear the cost” (MIAMI HERALD, 3/23). In Miami, Armando Salguero wrote season-ticket holders that “spent their money last season are not so far buying in as well this offseason despite the apparent upgrades in free agency and the hope that some of the club's upcoming 11 draft picks will be contributors to turning the Dolphins into winners for the first time since 2008.” Many want to “see results before they invest in tickets again” (MIAMIHERALD.com, 3/23). Salguero noted the team reportedly has “gotten less of an initial season-ticket sales bump this year than" in the '10 offseason, when the team made several bold moves. Although new customers are “signing up at a solid rate, the club’s ability to retain old season-ticket customers is way, way down.” And the team is “not really certain why that’s the case because, internally, the organization’s mood is upbeat and optimistic and expectant.” Everyone but “paying fans, it seems, is excited.” Perhaps the reason some of those fans “aren’t jumping on the ticket-renewal bandwagon is because they’ve been here and done that before” (MIAMI HERALD, 3/24).

APPLES TO ORANGES? In N.Y., Ken Belson examines the impact the Marlins’ tax payer-funded ballpark is having on the Dolphins’ attempt to get public funds for renovations to Sun Life Stadium. Gimenez said the Dolphins’ proposal has “a much more tangible public benefit.” But he added, “The Marlins’ stadium has created such an adverse appetite for another deal because the Marlins have really poisoned the well” (N.Y. TIMES, 3/25).
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