SBD/May 10, 2013/Facilities

Goodell Wants Dolphins To Stay In Miami Despite Failure To Pass Renovation Plans

Dee (l) says problems with stadium bill will not impact on-field product
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday said the league wants to "see the Dolphins stay in Miami," according to Steve Wyche of NFL.com. Goodell said, "We want to see them stay in a facility that will allow them to compete, and to bring in other big events, including Super Bowls. That takes work, it takes investment, and [Dolphins Owner] Steve Ross was doing the investing and was really the guy who was putting his heart and soul into this and his passion into this. What's frustrating is that it didn't get a chance to get to the voters." Goodell noted the league will "do whatever is necessary" to help the team in its stadium renovation efforts because league officials "do think it's right for all of Florida." Goodell: "We think it's particularly good for the Miami-Dade area." He said is disappointed the initiative was not put up to a vote in part because the "local officials in the Miami-Dade County region had worked very hard with the Dolphins to come up with a proposal that was very intelligent, very thoughtful." Goodell: "I was there on the day that the Senate passed the (bill) 35 to 4, and we met with members of the House. I think the frustration is it never had the opportunity to go to the voters. ... I think the voters deserved the opportunity to evaluate the proposal, and make the kinds of changes that Steve Ross and the county and city officials had proposed. We think that would be good for the community, we think it would be good for the stadium and we think it would be good for the team" (NFL.com, 5/9).

HEADING NORTH? In Miami, Adam Beasley notes Dolphins CEO Mike Dee on Thursday hinted the team "might consider pursuing a new stadium in Palm Beach County." Dee: "You can’t close the door on anything. I wouldn’t say it’s a priority to evaluate that and march down that road at this time, by any means, but the simple fact is we have to address a long-term issue with the venue. All ideas -- good, bad, indifferent -- should be considered.” Dee noted that the team "will not cut corners when it comes to the on-field product" despite not succeeding in landing the stadium renovations. Dee: “The outcome of the stadium will have no impact on the way we address the needs of the football team. Absolutely none" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/10). In West Palm Beach, Ben Volin cited a source as saying earlier this year that the Dolphins "likely wouldn’t consider trying to build a stadium in Broward County because elected officials there have shown little interest in providing public funds for the team." But the source said that the team would "investigate sites in Palm Beach County, most likely in the western portion of Delray Beach or Boynton Beach." Palm Beach County Mayor Steven Abrams said that "neither he nor county administrator Bob Weisman have been approached by the Dolphins" (PALM BEACH POST, 5/10).

ALL FOR NOT: In Miami, Douglas Hanks notes South Florida Super Bowl Bid Committee Chair Rodney Barreto detailed the $21M Super Bowl L plan Thursday, but also "acknowledged a failed effort for a subsidized renovation of Sun Life Stadium seemed to render the pursuit of the milestone game a futile exercise." Several times during his presentation, Barreto "referred to the plan for the 2016 game as something that could have been." But he also said that "hope is not lost and said NFL owners will have a 'tough decision' on May 21 when they award the 50th game." Hanks notes the plan would "bring a lavish festival to downtown Miami, with football played on a Navy aircraft carrier docked at Bayfront Park, a zipline ride over Bayside Marina and nightclubs set up on barges in the bay." Miami is competing with S.F. for the game, and the "loser will take on Houston for Super Bowl 51." Barreto said that South Florida would "scale down the plan for the 51st game if it managed to knock out Houston for the consolation prize" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/10). Barreto said of the Dolphins' public funding request dying in the Florida Legislature a week ago, "It's kind of the elephant in the room, isn't it?" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/10). In Miami, Armando Salguero writes S.F. now is "clearly the favorite to land" Super Bowl L. This "isn’t about Atlantic versus Pacific," but instead about "old school versus new technology." The 49ers' new Levi's Stadium is going against a venue that "needs upgrading and isn’t getting any." Sun Life Stadium "pales as a Super Bowl facility," so South Florida "cannot compete in the one area that perhaps matters most to the NFL. ... The game’s venue" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/10).
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