Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross Unveils Sun Life Stadium Upgrade Plans

Mike Ehrmann

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross announced the renovation plan for Sun Life Stadium yesterday at a press conference. The owner pledged to pay for the majority of the renovations himself, but laid out a plan to ask for hotel tax increase and a larger rebate from state sales-tax. The team wants to keep the stadium an attractive option for Super Bowls and NCAA National Championship games.

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross yesterday laid out a plan for renovating Sun Life Stadium. Ross pledged to pay for the majority of the $400 million project, while asking for an increase in hotel taxes and a rebate on the state sales-tax for items purchased on the site of the stadium. The tax increase would not impact the residents of Miami-Dade county, since it would only be felt by patrons of the hotels in the area, and would be a one cent increase in the "bed tax."

The additional cent in the hotel tax is already authorized by the state, but has never been enacted.

The Dolphins stressed the recognition of the political environment currently in Florida, with many citizens and political leaders turned off of giving public money for stadiums following the debacle of building Marlins Park only to watch the Miami Marlins dismantle their team during and after their first year in the new stadium.

Ross personally pledged to pay for the majority of the cost out of his pocket, while creating a world class facility to stand the test of time, make people want to come to the stadium, and use the renovations and the upgraded stadium to add jobs to the south Florida area.

During the press conference, with the videos linked on our Facebook page, or head over to MiamiDolphins.com to watch them, the Dolphins outlined a plan to move about 3,600 sets 18-feet closer to the field, improve the amenities around the stadium, and add a canopy roof over the seating area. The renovations also include lighting changes, scoreboard upgrades, upgrading the food service capabilities in the stadium, upgrading the concourses, upgrading the in stadium sound systems, and upgrading the seating itself. Overall, there are 22 areas in which the stadium can, and will if the plan passes, be upgraded.

The canopy is the major area fans and media have been discussing over the past few years. It is needed to keep Sun Life Stadium in the running for future Super Bowls and NCAA National Championship games. During the 2007 Super Bowl, a torrential rain storm sent fans running from the seats. It was the only Super Bowl to be played in adverse weather conditions, despite Miami having hosted the game 10 times, and several NFL personnel, including Commissioner Roger Goodell, stated that a change would have to be made to allow Sun Life Stadium to host any further Super Bowls.

The Dolphins hosted the game in 2010, after plans for a New York City stadium for the Jets fell through. The site is also a finalist for the 2016 Super Bowl, which would be the 50th anniversary of the game - and the Dolphins. The Dolphins recognize the importance of hosting Super Bowl L, both in terms of the prestige of the game and in bringing the economic boost of hosting the game to the city and surrounding areas.

Ross stated that the renovations would keep the Dolphins in the stadium through the next 25 years. The stadium originally opened in 1987 as Joe Robbie Stadium.

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