SBD/June 18, 2014/Facilities

Sun Life Stadium Deal Approved By Miami-Dade County, '19 Super Bowl In Focus

Early work on Sun Life Stadium renovations is set to begin early next month
The Dolphins "won a deal Tuesday from Miami-Dade County that will have the team renovate its stadium, including adding a partial roof, in exchange for county payments when the team brings big events to the Miami Gardens facility," according to Douglas Hanks of the MIAMI HERALD. The Dolphins’ plan, approved by the County Commission in a 7-4 vote, would earn the team $4M when Sun Life Stadium hosts a Super Bowl, $3M for hosting a College Football Playoff title game and “as little as $750,000 for international soccer matches and other special sports events.” The money for the 20-year deal would “come from hotel taxes.” Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel said that early work on the renovation of the stadium would “start by July, with major work taking place" during the team's '15 and '16 offseasons. With hotel-tax revenue “already strained,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez “negotiated a 10-year delay on payments to the Dolphins.” The deal also calls for the Dolphins to “sign a 30-year non-relocation agreement with Miami-Dade.” But while the team “agreed to stay 30 years, the subsidy program expires 20 years after it starts.” The program is “likely to start” in ‘16, provided the NFL “awards the Dolphins” the ‘19 Super Bowl next spring. If not, the program would “not begin until Sun Life is awarded a Super Bowl or a World Cup soccer match.” Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross is pursuing a $3M “annual state subsidy for the renovation, and plans to tap into NFL construction funds that are reserved for franchises that secure government assistance for stadium deals.” Garfinkel said that the renovation would “add more seats closer to the field while removing upper-level seats, bringing the stadium’s current capacity of about 76,000 down to 65,000" (MIAMI HERALD, 6/18).

WAITING FOR THE SUN: In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis notes the renovations would help “upgrade the 27-year-old stadium's lights, sound system, seats and other facilities,” and include adding a “canopy over the seats, but not the field, to protect fans from the South Florida heat as well as the rain.” The next Super Bowl available for bid is in ’19, and finalists are “expected to be selected in October.” South Florida Super Bowl Committee Chair Rodney Barreto said, "We're back in the business, and we're going to work hard to bring home 2019” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 6/18).
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