The Miami Dolphins have spent the offseason searching for the right fit for the franchise. This search, however, has nothing to do with the football side of the organization, but rather the business side; Miami needs a new naming rights deal for the former Sun Life Stadium, now being called New Miami Stadium until a deal can be reached. We told you last year that the original five-year contract with Sun Life Insurance expired in January 2015, with the Dolphins then confirming the name would remain for one additional year as renovations began on the stadium. This offseason, the team is looking for the right partner.
According to a report from NBC Miami, two possibilities for naming rights have been identified, though nothing official has been released, and there is no indication of how serious discussions with the two companies are. The first is Hard Rock, the international restaurant, hotel, and casino company that has ties into the South Florida area. The other is Qatar Airways, the state-run airlines of Qatar.
Hard Rock Stadium could be a good name for the stadium, but the league would have to figure out a way around the casino piece of the company. The NFL typically stays away from anything tied to gambling, but if the Dolphins and Hard Rock were to sell the hotel and restaurant side of the organization - basically ignoring any reference to the casino - the deal could be made.
Qatar Airways is a little more obscure, but it does make some sense from the business side. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has been leading a group of US and Qatari investors in an attempt to buy Formula 1 racing. There is a relationship there that could lead to a renaming of the South Florida franchise's home.
Counting New Miami Stadium, the home of the Dolphins has had eight names since it opened in 1987: Joe Robbie Stadium (1987-1996), Pro Player Park (1996), Pro Player Stadium (1996-2005), Dolphins Stadium (2005-2006), Dolphin Stadium (2006-2009), Land Shark Stadium (2009-2010), Sun Life Stadium (2010-2016), and New Miami Stadium (2016).