SBJ/May 19-25, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Dolphins on agenda with stadium update

The Miami Dolphins will update owners this week on their long-running quest for a renovated stadium that could host the Super Bowl, suggesting the club has finally turned the corner and thus will bid on the 2019 NFL championship game.

The update will come as part of the NFL owners’ spring meeting, which runs through Wednesday in Atlanta.

Typically, stadium projects come before NFL owners for one of three reasons: a vote to exceed league debt limits, a lease approval, or to secure league stadium financing. In any case, it would mean the Dolphins’ stadium efforts are moving forward.

“There’s an update on pending stadium matters, including Miami,” said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello about the meeting’s agenda.

One team source said there is likely to be a vote and that owners would learn about sales tax benefits the Dolphins may have coming to them. The Florida Legislature passed legislation earlier this month that means the Dolphins and other Florida franchises could each receive up to $3 million annually for 30 years. The bill was before Gov. Rick Scott for his approval last week.

Dolphins President and CEO Tom Garfinkel declined to comment.

Team owner Stephen Ross has had political battles in South Florida, failing to get a referendum before voters last year that would have asked for $200 million in public funds. Earlier this year, Ross proposed he would foot the $400 million renovation of Sun Life Stadium in exchange for no longer paying nearly $4 million annually in real estate taxes on the venue. That too met stiff resistance, but then earlier this month, the Legislature passed the stadium sales tax bill.

The bidding process for the 2019 Super Bowl begins this summer, with Atlanta and the two losing bidders for the 2018 game expected to submit preliminary bids. As for that 2018 game, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Minnesota will square off at the meeting for the right to host Super Bowl LII, with an announcement on the winner expected Tuesday (see related content).

Owners at the meeting also will get an update on planning for the 2015 draft, which may move out of New York. Expanded playoffs beginning this season or in 2015 will be discussed as well, and owners will hear about ticket pricing models. That likely means a discussion of variable ticket pricing, which several clubs have introduced this offseason.

In addition to the Dolphins, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles will have stadium renovation projects before the owners. Those clubs previously announced plans to renovate their facilities. Several competition proposals, held over from the league’s annual meeting in March, are also on the agenda.


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