A process that started in January 2013 when the Miami Dolphins announced plans to upgrade Sun Life Stadium has finally reached approval from Miami-Dade County and is cleared to begin. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross will pay for the $400 million renovations out of his pocket, with the County agreeing to make payments to the team for each major event the stadium hosts.
The plan passed the County Commision by a 7-to-4 vote, according to the Miami Herald's Doug Hanks.
Under the now passed plan, the county will pay the Dolphins $4 million for a Super Bowl or World Cup finals game, $3 million for a World Cup semi-final or national college-football championship, $2 million for a college play-off game and $750,000 for an international soccer match with at least 55,000 paid tickets. The maximum that the county would pay the franchise over a year would be no more $5 million.
The team agreed to delay any payments due from the County for 10-years, allowing the funding reserves for the area to be rebuilt after using the money for other renovation projects, such as the Miami Marlins and Miami Heat recent stadium builds and renovations.
According to plans laid out last year, the work would include a new canopy over the seating areas, moving 3,600 seats closer to the field, adding high definition lighting, new scoreboards in each corner of the stadium, upgraded seats, and improved amenities and food services. The upgrades are expected to put Sun Life Stadium and South Florida back into the rotation for Super Bowls. Currently, South Florida and New Orleans are tied for the most times hosting the Super Bowl with ten each.
The renovations for the stadium are expected to be completed in 2016. Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkle told the Commission that ground could be broken on the start of renovations in "a few weeks."