SBD/March 26, 2013/Facilities

Dolphins Offer To Pay County Penalty If Stadium Fails To Host Minimum Events

Sun Life Stadium renovation plans will cost an estimated $389M
The Dolphins have offered to “repay Miami-Dade County for a portion of the public costs of renovating Sun Life Stadium, and to pay millions of dollars in penalties should the team fail to bring major events to South Florida, including four Super Bowls over the next three decades,” according to a front-page piece by Salguero, Hanks & Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. A source said that the Dolphins “have told the county they will repay Miami-Dade for the initial share of the renovation costs in about 30 years, but the rebate would not include the debt payments that will likely come with the deal.” A source said that team officials during last week's owners meetings “shared a confidential report on their ongoing negotiations with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez to bring the issue to a countywide vote.” The source said that the Dolphins “offered to use private dollars" to fund $225M in construction costs for a renovation now estimated at $389M, less than the $400M figure that was the "most commonly used estimate for the deal.” That amounts to the Dolphins “asking for public money to fund about 43 percent of the construction costs, less than the 49 percent that was initially floated as a starting point by the team.” The source added that the Dolphins have “offered to go one step further and repay Miami-Dade" for the $120M the county "would be expected to put into the renovation.” The remaining $44M “would come from a state sales-tax subsidy.” The team also would “pay the county a penalty at the end of the 30-year agreement if the Dolphins do not deliver a minimum number of events at the stadium, including at least four Super Bowls, four college football championship games and 22 soccer matches.” The penalty for “not landing a Super Bowl would be $15 million.” The Dolphins also would “sign a non-relocation agreement, agreeing to stay in Miami until 2043.” The source said that the stadium renovation “would be completed by September 2015” (MIAMI HERALD, 3/26).

TIME TO BRING IN THE CONSULTANTS: In Miami, Patricia Mazzei noted Ashley Walker, the former Florida chief for President Obama’s re-election campaign, will head Mercury Florida, a "new public affairs consulting firm with the strategists tapped to lead a potential” Dolphins referendum campaign. Walker's firm will “bring together national firm Mercury with Floridian Partners, whose team includes” South Florida Super Bowl Bid Committee Chair Rodney Barreto. The Dolphins have “reached out to” Mercury Partner Michael McKeon, who knows Walker, Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross and former Obama Florida campaign spokesperson Eric Jotkoff to "shape the football team's political strategy” (MIAMIHERALD.com, 3/25).
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