Miami-Dade Commissioner: Sun Life Stadium "Absolutely" Needs Renovations
Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose Diaz yesterday said that “aging Sun Life Stadium ‘absolutely’ needs a canopy if South Florida wants to keep hosting the nation’s premier sporting events,” according to Beasley & Rogers of the MIAMI HERALD. But how that roof gets paid for “remains up in the air.” Diaz, who is also Miami-Dade Sports Commission Chair, said that the Dolphins “have not yet asked the county for public funding to make renovations on their 25-year-old stadium.” The Dolphins “would likely need” Diaz as “an ally should they make a play for tax dollars.” When asked if he would support public financing, Diaz said, “We have to look at all the variables involved. What would the citizens get for this? That’s a question a lot of people, including myself, have put up.” Still, Diaz said that if renovations “are not made -- including the rain-blocking canopy, improved seating, high-definition lighting and a scoreboard upgrade -- South Florida risks missing out on the blue-ribbon sporting events this area has hosted for decades” (MIAMI HERALD, 11/26). In Ft. Lauderdale, Chris Perkins noted the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee “met Wednesday morning but Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said no decisions have been reached on matters such as whether they’ll ask for public funding to make necessary stadium upgrades.” The team is “hoping to land Super Bowl L.” Dee said of competing for that game, “We need the ‘Wow!’ factor." Dee: "We’ve got a 25-year-old facility and it clearly needs some tender loving care." He added that the Marlins’ “recent fiasco could impact their plans to seek public funds" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/22).
COMPETING FACTORS: In West Palm Beach, Ben Volin noted the Dolphins are “competing against just one other city for the game, but it is a daunting opponent -- San Francisco, which hosted the game just once (1985) but has a brand new $1 billion stadium on the way, loaded with high-tech gadgets and other conveniences to enhance the fan experience.” Dee on Wednesday said, “You picture what our opponents may do, being in the technology hub of the United States. We can’t treat it like any other Super Bowl, nor is it a right that we have to expect that we’re going to get it. We’ve got to have a game plan to commemorate this Super Bowl in a way that other bids haven’t included.” He added, “We’ve got to have a plan and we’ve got to have dialogue with the community to see if there’s an appetite for that (public money). We’re going to put this (Super Bowl) bid in with the best stadium we can. If that means the stadium in its current form, so be it, but we’ve got more work to do on that front.” Volin noted one improvement to Sun Life Stadium that is “already close to completion is the installation of high-density wireless internet throughout the stadium and parking lots, courtesy of AT&T” (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 11/22). Dee said, “We read the paper and watch television and listen to the fans. That’s why we haven’t made a decision if we would move forward” with requesting public funding. He added, “We’re studying everything and hope to have something in 30 to 60 days” (MIAMI HERALD, 11/22).