The momentum is definitely behind the Miami Dolphins’ $400 million dollar plan to upgrade Sun Life stadium. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross announced the plan just two weeks ago, but he already has the backing of key politicians and even the local media. First, the Miami-Dade County Commission voted to back the plan as it heads to Tallahassee. Then, the South Florida Sun Sentinel editors threw their support behind the plan.
Ross pledged this would not be the usual “billionaire needs a handout” plan that Norman Braman loves to swat down on the local airwaves. Ross promised to approach this partnership “differently than any other by investing more, pledging more, and returning more to the community and fans.” The Miami Dolphins would ensure private funding pays for the majority of stadium construction costs. The team wound not request a tax increase for Miami-Dade residents. The plan would seek a tax rebate from the Florida Legislature and a portion of the Miami-Dade hotel bed tax. In return the team claims the renovations would create thousands of local jobs by hiring contractors, subcontractors, and vendors from all over Miami-Dade. Plus, the team promises to play at a modernized Sun Life Stadium through at least 2034.
“I bought this team because I love this town. I went to high school here and built much of my business here,” said Ross. “I believe no other community in America represents a better destination for blockbuster events. My goal is to secure the future of Miami-Dade and the Dolphins so we can remain a global competitor for sports and entertainment for at least another 25 years. That’s why I’m willing to make the initial and most substantial investment in this project.”
The plans call for better seats with even better sight lines. The fans would be closer to the action on the field. New high definition television monitors would be added so fans never miss a replay. New escalators, elevators and modernized kitchens would be added to make the suite and club level dwellers happy.
But the biggest part of the plan is the addition of a canopy roof to Sun Life. The open-air canopy would protect spectators from rain while allowing for a real grass playing surface. In 2007, Sun Life hosted the first Super Bowl ever to be played in rainy conditions. Peyton Manning overcame sloppy conditions, leading the Indianapolis Colts to victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. Many believe the NFL will not bring the Super Bowl back to South Florida without renovations to Sun Life stadium.
“Our intention is to make Sun Life Stadium a world-class facility that is competition-ready for Super Bowls, college football championships, and global soccer events, as well as providing a much better environment to watch the Dolphins, Hurricanes and Orange Bowl every year,” Ross said. “I think our planned modernization will maintain the special outdoor flavor of Miami, while giving us the look of the best stadiums around the world.”