SBD/April 22, 2013/Facilities

Ross: Public Will Benefit The Most From Dolphins' Sun Life Stadium Renovation

Ross guaranteed Miami would land Super Bowls if Sun Life is properly renovated
Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross said the “public is the one that really benefits” from the proposed upgrades to Sun Life Stadium, according to Armando Salguero of the MIAMI HERALD. Ross said, “As we disclosed in our financials, we don’t make a lot of money. In fact, we lose a lot of money. ... What we’re talking about here won’t really bring any fans in if I’m not winning [games].” He said, “This will help bring marquee events. We’re talking about BCS Bowls and Super Bowls and I guarantee we’ll get that.” Ross: “I never threatened to move the team even though we need modern facilities. It’s a lot cheaper to do a modernization than it will be to wait another 10 years and build a new stadium.” He said of asking for public funding to help renovate the facility, “The fact is one has only so much money you can spend. There’s a private-public partnership here. I’m carrying more than my share of it by paying in today’s dollars roughly 70 percent of the $350 million cost. That’s the minimum I can pay and it can go higher.” Ross was asked if he would “continue to own the Dolphins even if this issue doesn’t work out.” He said, “Yes. If I die, my family will have to sell it and then that’s where I worry about who’s going to be the buyer when you don’t have a facility to play in, and you have declining attendance and you’re losing money. That’s when you have to worry about the Dolphins being able to stay in Miami.” When asked if a future owner could “sustain the Dolphins here in this existing stadium without renovations,” Ross said, “I don’t think so.” He added, “If we’re winning and doing all the right things, the answer is yes. Will we be having marquee events? No. Would it be kind of a laughingstock? Yes” (MIAMI HERALD, 4/20).

WHO STANDS TO GAIN? In Miami, David Sutta noted taxpayers “could argue” Ross is the one to “benefit the most” in the proposed financing plan. He asked Ross, “Do they really stand to gain as much as you?” Ross said, “Yes. The economic benefits really don’t just end at the stadium. It’s really the hotels, the small businesses, the restaurant workers, the hotel workers, the taxi cab drivers. They all benefit by what we do and driving people to Miami-Dade County.” Forbes reported Ross’ net worth is “$4.4 billion,” and he made “a billion dollars in the last year.” Sutta noted of the renovation cost, “A check like this would be miniscule.” But Ross said, “Well not really. I have a lot of other businesses that need assets that I continue to support and grow and continue to grow and it’s part of that. I bought the Dolphins not to see how much money I can make but really creating a winning football and enhancing the community.” Sutta asked, ”Is this in your mind a good deal compared to what a good deal should look like or is it just a little better than the Marlins?” Ross: “This isn’t even close to the Marlins deal. I don’t think there has ever been a deal that’s been offered to any community, anywhere in this country, that is as good as what we’re offering and how the community can benefit by it” (CBSLOCAL.com, 4/19). In Miami, Patricia Mazzei explored the negotiations under the header, “Anatomy Of A Deal: How The Dolphins Negotiated A Stadium Renovation With Miami-Dade County” (MIAMI HERALD, 4/20).
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