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Dolphins to make stadium upgrade case Monday

The Dolphins Monday plan their grand unveiling of a plan to make between $350-$400 million worth of upgrades to Sun Life Stadium to, as the team claims, make the facility a first-class place for the next 30 years.

The Dolphins are calling this "a modernization" of the facility that opened in 1987.

And here's an unexpected kicker: Ross is prepared to pay for "substantially all" of the freight of this modernization as long as his government partners begin helping him with the cost of running the facility. This according to a source familiar with the Dolphins' thinking.

That's a big deal.

But despite this, the team faces an uphill battle. Local sentiment runs very much against using tax dollars to upgade or update private sports facilities -- particularly in the wake of the Marlins deal with Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami, which proved to be frought with broken promises and misdirection.

The Dolphins privately claim they are not the Marlins. Not even close.

Today, in fact, they will call themselves "a different kind of fish," while not publicly naming the Marlins.

Privately, they make the point they are going to put up a significant portion of the price tag themselves. Even  If Ross doesn't get the lease concessions from the politicians, he's willing to pay between $150-$175 million, although that pricetag would have to be negotiated out. In that scenario, the club believes that with owner Stephen Ross is putting up approximately 40-50 percent of the cost to improve the facility, local politicians will still see this as a palatable partnership.

There's also this: The tax dollars aren't coming out of the pockets of local taxpayers. The public side of the funding in the deal is expected to come from a hotel bed tax. The Dolphins will ask local politicians to raise the tax tourists pay for staying at local hotels.

The Dolphins will argue that none of these funds take money out of city or county coffers that are used to pay for teachers or schools or cops or firemen. Hotel bed tax money is slated exclusively for the improvement of local facilities such as the Miami Beach Convention Center and, yes, Sun Life Stadium among others.

So what's the trade-off?

The Dolphins say making this modernization to Sun Life will help attract events such as Super Bowl 50 and the BCS national title game to town. That, they say, is a boon to the local economy. Although the team will continue to back local Super Bowl bids regardless of whether this project goes through or not, the fact is the NFL has recently reserved Super Bowl awards to communities that have either built new stadiums (Indy, Houston, New York) or upgraded their current stadium (New Orleans).

(South Florida is in the running with a new stadium going up in Santa Clara for the 49ers for the rights to Super Bowl 50).

The Dolphins also believe upgrades will give their facility more of a homefield advantage for them as well as the University of Miami football team, which also plays its home games at Sun Life. Part of the proposed upgrades include bringing seats closer to the field to improve sight lines and increase crowd noise. Sun Life currently has the highest percentage of fans sitting in the upper deck of practically any other facility in the NFL. The team wants to cut that number while adding seats closer to the field.

The upgrades would also include a newer version to the old canopy roof proposal the team made previously.

There will be pushback among some locals. Those folks are still stung by the Marlins deal that basically funded 75-80 percent of the new Marlins Park at the old Orange Bowl site. The Marlins are on the hook for only 15-20 percent of that project.

The Marlins got that deal, in part, by saying they were losing money. They nonetheless refused to show officials their books and it was later learned the club was making money.

The Marlins got that deal, in part, by promising to put a top-flight lineup on the field after spending years cutting salaries, even at the expense of trading great talents for inferior, younger, cheaper talent. They did that for one year. And this offseason they've gone back to cutting salaries.

The Dolphins obviously will counter this by showing that Ross will be highly invested in this venture, and indeed, nearly fully invested if he gets lease concessions. And the club can make the point that unlike a professional baseball team, the NFL's collective bargaining agreement calls for a salary cap.

That salary cap contains both a ceiling as everyone knows, but also has a floor which prevents teams from conducting talent fire sales to cut costs.

And then there is the giant elephant in the room. Ready?

If the Dolphins do not get the modernization they're hoping for, they will continue to play at Sun Life as is. And they will continue to do so as long as Stephen Ross is the owner.

But ...

Ross is 72 years old now. He eventually will sell the team. And although he would like to sell it to someone who will keep the team in South Florida, the truth is there is no guarantee he will do that.

He may sell to someone who wishes to move the team. Yes, the NFL would frown upon this but NFL teams do move. (St. Louis, Cleveland, Oakland, Arizona among them).

And the Dolphins, unlike practically all other NFL teams, currently have no lease holding them to their home stadium and thus their hometown. So basically, nothing is tying the Dolphins to South Florida other than tradition and ownership.

Therefore, it might be wise for South Florida politicos that if they do this deal to indeed let Ross pay for, again, "practically all" of the project and also tie the Dolphins to the region and the stadium that is being upgraded. I'd suggest a 30-year tie, which is approximately the length of time the club is saying the upgrades will keep Sun Life contemporary.

Would that cost local government in having to help run the facility? Yes. Will that require funds? Yes. Might that require tax dollars for operating subsidies? Yes.

The Miami Heat have a similar arrangement.

This is a big deal for the team and it comes on a big date: Today is January 14, 2013. It is the 40-year anniversary to the day of Miami winning Super Bowl VII and completing a perfect season.


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LMAO... Mando's using scare tactics now..


Any truth to the rumor that Hell was patterned after Upstate NY?

Just kidding (but not really). I got family up there. I guess it's ok if you're into that sort of sh*t.

Sorry guys, it's Winter. My body has a bias towards the Southern climate.

Phins78, I was simply pointing out that any deal isn't contingent on any kind of political deal with the city of Miami and that this would be a county thing (possibly two counties if Broward becomes involved to ome ectent as has been suggested).

Most of the hotel bed taxes collected would not be from within the city limits, no. Miami Beach would have far more.

Not trying to be contentious here at all, just factual.

If you like the leaked logo, you are stupid. It lacked ***eyes*** and was gross.

Which leaked logo, Joe? There are many of them out there.

I can spell 'extent' even if my keyboard can't. :)

The stadium is considered not far off from being a dump by people in the NFL. If you don't think Ross has been told by the NFL that he needs an upgrade or they will not get another SB, then you know very little about football. Sports teams and great stadiums are an important part of a city. Whether you like it or not tax payers have to play a role, especilly when buildinga new stadium. The funny thing is tax payers act like somene will come to their door and take an extra 20 bucks to fund a renovation. When the bottom line is the city has your tax dollars already, its just a matter of where they spend. If they don't spend it on a new stadium do you think that money will not get wasted anyway. States waste a lot more of your tax dollar than you realize. Team needs a new stadium, end of story.

The team isn't tied to the City it's tied to the stadium. Why would someone buy the Dolphins/stadium then abandon it to rent one in another city while Sun Life loses money. That would be a huge business blunder.

Unless you sleep in a hotel in South Florida you aren't paying a dime for any of this, anyway.

Does anybody actually READ anymore or is it just react blindly all the time? Christ.

JRS.. Miami Beach is a different city and the bed tax would not apply to them.

Sea of Orange--

The bed tax would be for Dade COUNTY as a whole. That was the entire point. This is NOT a "city of Miami" thing alone, nor do the Dolphins even play in Miami.

Hell, do I hate $ and business. I'm a Doctor, I'm into the Science of Healing.

It is very possible, that if even a Billionaire approach$ me seeking relief for his ailments, I might turn him down.

It is not only possible, that relief seeked, it is a Certainty.

Actually the article dose not say clearly if it's a City or County thing. So yes if it's a county thing then your right MB pays. I for one have no problem with tourists paying an extra $1 to $1.50 on their stay.

I kinda like the new logo. Not a big fan of the "happy Dolphin" they have currently. Liked the old logo better than the current.

Truly, the only solution to the Arab-Jewish dilemma is to breed among themselves. No?

Brian Hartline is a good receiver, but we need better. Yes?

Sea of Orange--There is a more extensive story in the Herald about the deal.

There is no question here. It's a county (and state) deal to work out the finances. No political involvement with the city of Miami at all, unlike the Marlins situation. The hotel bed tax would apply equally across the county.

I am learning much here about Finances. Same as Ross about Football.

The problem is not with the actual stadium, seats roof etc, the rel problem is where the stadium is located. Until they have a way to connect the stadium to public transportation they are not solving the true problem plaguing attendance, access for people who would go to a game if they did not have to drive there. If they used the money to connect to the tri-rail station then they might be able to pull it off. But simply changing the seats around is not going to get it done. The shade will help for the folks who already go, but it will do nothing to attract more people to the home games.

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder DC.

From where I'm sitting you live in hell! In a large city, high crime, dirty looking highways, bums, hookers and drug dealers every where.

I live in Saratoga NY. Right near Saratoga Performing Arts Center where there are giant parks full of flowers in the summer and cross country ski trails in the winter. I look out of my window right now and see a forest of evergreens lightly coated with fluffy white snow.

I live a few miles away from some of the most beautiful lakes in the country. I love to snowboard and have a season pass to Okemo, Stratton, and Mount Snow (best mountains in the east), all in Vermont and all only an hour away from where I live.

Take a trip 20 minutes south of my home and there are beautiful giant waterfalls in the town of Cohoes. Kayaking in Lake George is also a favorite pass time of mine. Big beautiful lake that is home to Fort William Henry.

Dude, if this is what hell looks like sign me up!

I have defened the play off Joe Flacco on here many times....

These past two weeks he has lived up to expectations....Flacco is BIG TIME in crunch time...a few years back he put a PERFECT pass in Houshmanzada's hands tow WIN the AFC Championship game...and Housh dropped it....

I think last year...he placed a beauty in a WR hands (to win the game)...and the douche started to celebrate instead of tucking the ball away...RESULT...the ball got knocked out of his hands before he completed the catch....

I don't think Flacco can get past the PATS...but if he does...he gonna get PAID...its a CONTRACT yearfor him....and even tho he was up and down a few games...he has proven his worth come January....

Probably tops in @ just under 100 Mil....

we'll see...

To all of these educated people leaving pearls of wisdom in regard to this article. I'm sure that your plan would be far more productive than a Billionare real estate Mogul. If he wants to restore the facility, and is asking for a "Hidden Bed Tax" that would not affect the local people, then what are you all crying about. As a tourist coming down to vacation, or as a florida resident coming down just to watch a game, It would be an incidental cost that you would not feel directly.
I've been watching the Dolphins since 71'...When I was born! And I still love the team. I've seen the good, and the terribly bad. At least these guys are trying thier damnedest to get this franchise, and public appeal back to the standard that MOST fans can remember... If you don't have anything good to say shut the hell up. Armando, you should try this practice..lol. I know you have an obligation in the media, but your articles are so negative that I think you should move your act to a new location. Maybe your fans will follow you!! LOL Take it easy man!

I know jrs I wasn't either. I spent a little time down there for college but wasn't exactly sure how the politics of this deal would effect each town and city within the county. Thanks for clearing it up.

I WILL EXPLAIN SOME OF THE PROBLEMS WITH THE LEAKED DOLPHINS LOGO TO THOSE WITH IQs LESS THAN 120. I am serious and I hope Mando makes sure someone with power in the organization notices this post, for the team's sake:

1. It lacks eyes. Looks like a Sea World logo. Idiotic statements to the contrary, it's most certainly NOT modern, however, in that regard. Rather, it's 10-years-too-late-to-the-party dated and looks very 2003.

2. The dolphins has its back arched, exposing it's soft underbelly to a would-be tackler. The first thought it evokes in any real football fan's mind is an exposed receiver over the middle when the QB leads him too high and "gets him killed" by the safety or linebacker. Seriously. You slow ones: look very carefully and think very hard about this.

3. The arched back pose is the exact opposite of a forward charging rusher, tackler, sacker, TD scorer, 4th-and-1 first down getter. This is related to #2 above. Contrast the Rams and the Patriots (now old) "new" logo. Those logos evoke a 230 pound RB or LB bulling forward for a goal line first down or tackle. The leaked logo dolphin, again, has his back arched and has his soft underbelly exposed. If anything, it evokes and outdated mid 80s approach of trying to leap over the line ala Walter Peyton, which is no longer good. It's better to keep your feet on the ground and drive forward.

3. again on the arched back -- another thing it evokes is our QB getting nailed in the small of the back after Jake Long got pancaked flat on his back. It's the exact opposite of the pose of how any football player wants to be. In other words, no football player, at any position, offense or defense, ever wants to look like the leaked logo dolphin, with its back arched and soft underbelly exposed.

4. even a real dolphine is never in the position depicted in the leaked logo. the current/old logo is far superior.

In all honesty tho...

my picks were terrible this weekend...

I took:

Den (LOSS)

Seattle (LOSS)


and NE (WIN)

good thing i'm nt a betting man....

but your articles are so negative that I think you should move your act to a new location. Maybe your fans will follow you!! LOL Take it easy man!
Posted by: Snafu' | January 14, 2013 at 11:56 AM
. I will give you a pearl necklace Snafu.

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/2013/01/the-dolphins-today-plan-their-grand-unveiling-of-a-plan-to-make-between-350-400-million-worth-of-upgrades-to-sun-life-stadi/comments/page/2/#comments#storylink=cpy

Oh, there have always been great a transportation system from Manhattan to the great Racetracks outside of that City. Trains. Of course, Horseracing is not Football, but at least, they offer a prayer of Hope for Winning.

The poster at 11:51 makes an excellent point. It is VERY important in an area like that to have public transportation to the games. Madison Square Garden could promote a show involving only a stick with a piece of poop on the end of it sitting in the middle of MSG and the show would sell out. Yes there are a lot of people in NY. But there are also a lot of people without cars that live way too far to walk. Public transportation in the form of buses and a subway that runs directly through the Garden are key. If the Dolphins could somehow find a way for public transportation to be viable they would sell out , win or lose. Look at the Jets.

I've always liked the current logo (alot better than the old one btw) but all these recent 'leaked' pics of the new logo just does'nt look good at all.

I've yet to even see decent ideas of the new logo so why dont we either scrap the actual body of the Dolphin and just have it's face?

What about scraping the Dolphin altogether and just have the words 'DOLPHINS'?

Sounds like a better idea imo

Tax payers should not be responsible for paying to update billionaires/millionaires businesses. If Ross wants changes, let him pay for it. All of it!

Man, they leave you right inside the Garden.


Guy, you are cracking me up! That was classic! I thought I was going to learn something after a statement like that. I realized shortly after reading that I had just wasted 30 seconds of my life reading about a logos arched back and what it might tell our competitors. lmao was that serious because if so,,,ummmmmm,,, I'll leave it alone.

But if it was a joke that was pretty damned funny and kudos to you!

cheap ross?

Joe Mama,

You are correct...

The new logo should show a fierce looking dolphin, ripping itself, finally, through a Tuna net.

Kris after Saturday I said the same thing. I picked Denver to win a close one (it was close but I picked the wrong winning team!) and I picked Rodgers to show Kapernick how to ball in the playoffs. Boy was I wrong.

Thankfully I redeemed myself yesterday with my two picks.

So I'm .500 , and the way I see it that makes me a true Dolphan, stuck in mediocrity!

Joe Mama, you are late to the party. Ross has already stated public ally that the "leaked" logo you're referring to is NOT the one they're going with. What jrs and others were talking about was an entirely different one. Check the link.

tj where is the link? I wasn't aware they have a different logo on the table. I want to check it out too.

Yeah, f&^k the Dolphins! What have they ever done for Miami!?

Who cares about the countless charities and children's hospitals they fund! Screw the fact that they were the major reason people starting going to Miami to begin with, helping to build the city to what it is today! Who cares!

Don't help them back because we hate people who have more money than us!

lmao at the screamers.

Well it's pretty obvious who the office slaves are. :) I guess it's lunch time, talk to you guys later.

lol @ Phins 78....

"true Dolphin fan...stuck in mediocrity".....

and @c 12:12...I thought I was about to learn something as well....lol....thats what I get....

Ross press conference starts soon...
I dont care if it cost a Billion $$s to upgrade the stadium.
What true Dolphin fan wouldn't want a new stadium?
It rained last Superbowl, u know rich folks dont like watching the Superbowl in the rain, especially when u are wearing expensive clothes. And the females wearing new hair do.

Phins, Saratoga sounds like an outdoorsman's paradise.

But you're right, eye of the beholder. I'm a city rat. Once I stop seeing cement (and hookers), I'm in no man's land.

Honestly, I wish more people were like you (then they could get out of the cities and we wouldn't have so much traffic).

Living in Taxachusetts all I can say is don't vote for tax payer funding for any private enterprise. You will end up regretting it.

It's the link jrs posted earlier. If you scroll back it's there.

Dolphins need to "upgrade" themselves before worrying about a stadium.


Good past @ January 14, 2013 at 10:13 AM

You make very good points.

Kris it was funny right? Arched back showing his vulnerable belly. I was laughing so hard.

And DC said, "But you're right, eye of the beholder. I'm a city rat. Once I stop seeing cement (and hookers), I'm in no man's land."

And once again I was cracking up. You guys are on fire in here today! The Hookers thing was priceless.

DC I am a country boy at heart I guess but I still enjoy visiting the city once a year. But yeah, I could never live there and I have a lot of respect for people who choose to do so because it seems like a pain in the butt. I need my space and outdoor activities.

Luckily NY city is a 3 hour drive. If I need a city fix I can be there and back in a day. I'm always grateful for the experience but every time I drive back through the trees I thank God I'm home!

There have been many economic studies that show that sports teams and stadium improvements and the like actually do not have a positive economic benefit to a city.

The costs tend to be more than the benefits over the long-term. Even worse, it is the crony capitalists that benefit the most instead of real capitalists and citizens competing in the marketplace with equal rules for all.

Yes, stadium improvements would be nice. However, there are many, many more government services that will help a city more.

Think of it this way. If an individual stays in a Miami hotel, he would be, in effect, paying a tax to a man with billions. If Ross wants a better stadium, he should and can build it himself.

If the city wants a better stadium, then tax Ross and use the funds from him to build the stadium. Unfair? It's much more "fair" than normal people or small businesses paying taxes to support Ross.

How did we EVER win 6 games in 2011? Our HC got demoted to an OC and then demoted again to a position coach (how embarrassing). Our OC left a 6-10 offense for a 2-14 offense, and now is being demoted to an offensive assistant "with no specific responsibilities at this time." Think Belichick feels sorry for the guy? Hilarious.

Makes me respect Matt Moore that much more. Surprised he was able to succeed with these yahoos running things.

Hey now, let's stop with all the hooker badmouthing!!!

"Think of it this way. If an individual stays in a Miami hotel, he would be, in effect, paying a tax to a man with billions."

How is that different from paying our taxes to the government who will then turn around and use it on wasteful programs that we don't want and only a very small minority of people actually receive benefits from?

Not to mention the politicians, who are also rich, using campaign funds from other corporations to insure they get special treatment. I digress a bit there but it's all the same.

At least football is entertaining and distracts us from life's annoyances, like the government.

I'm in NY State. I will happily give $10 a year to upgrade Miami's stadium. Seriously, I would sign something and they could automatically deduct it from my check book every year. I don't live there and would see no benefits except for my team finally playing in a real stadium and not an old baseball field with seats no where near the playing surface. A nice billowing sail like canopy would be awesome. State of the art and would benefit fans and players. Sign me up, I'll pay my share and then some.


I know you're trying to stir up controversy & force panic among the fan base, there are few things that I'd like to point out to you & the people who post here;

1) The team is not moving. If & when Ross sells the team there's a VERY slim chance that the new owner would move the team to another city. If the new owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars is content to stay in Jacksonville which has an even smaller market & a weaker economy than Miami, I think the city of Miami is pretty safe. Plus where would the team move tp??? I can't think of one other city that makes financial sense other than L.A. & for whatever reason--bringing an NFL team to Los Angeles involves jumping over a lot of hurdles.

2) For the people that think that Ross is a "cheap owner," please just shut up already. This hasn't been the case since he took over the team & clearly if he's willing to put up this much money to renovate the stadium--he's the polar opposite of CHEAP.

3) Ross is clearly trying to put his own stamp on the franchise by putting up money to renovate the stadium & changing the logo BUT it is my opinion that he's not doing enough to improve the product on the field. This year, unlike last year, we didn't come out flat at home. What happened is that the defense got worn out in the 4th quarter b/c the offense continued to stuggled to sustain drives by effectively running the football & eating up clock. You can fix the stadium & bring the fans in closer thus making it louder for opposing teams but that doesn't change the product on the field. How did that great home field advantage that Arrowhead stadium gives to it's team work out for the Chiefs this year??? If the product on the field doesn't improve then the Miami Dolphins will be irrelevant to the people who live in the area & the only way to make this team relevant again is to win more games.

I like the hiring of Philbin & I like that we finally took a QB in the first round BUT I can't get past the lack of talent that Philbin inherited. I don't think that keeping Ireland after Sparano was fired was the right decision & when I look at our team & I compare it to team's that made the playoffs, I just have to wonder where the WR's are...I have to wonder where the pass catching TE is....I have to wonder why we can't consistently run the football...And finally I have to wonder why our O-line is not much better than they are in pass protection & in the running game.

Phins 78,

I live in Manhattan & DC is just wrong on this. Saratoga is a beautiful place. Been been there on a number of occasions & been to SPAC to see concerts as well. My guess is that he's thinking of Albany or Buffalo.

"I'm in NY State. I will happily give $10 a year to upgrade Miami's stadium. Seriously, I would sign something and they could automatically deduct it from my check book every year. I don't live there and would see no benefits except for my team finally playing in a real stadium and not an old baseball field with seats no where near the playing surface. A nice billowing sail like canopy would be awesome. State of the art and would benefit fans and players. Sign me up, I'll pay my share and then some."


Agreed. I like the idea of improving the stadium & moving the fans closer to the field. However the product on the field is not good enough. Not even close. I'd be willing to pay even more if we started getting some play makers & became more than a expansion team.

Maybe this team would be better off if it were a public company that was owned by the shareholders (like the Packers) than one ego-maniacal billionaire who knows as much about football as I do about marine biology.

Guys check out the new stadium in the new blog!

How did we EVER win 6 games in 2011? Our HC got demoted to an OC and then demoted again to a position coach (how embarrassing). Our OC left a 6-10 offense for a 2-14 offense, and now is being demoted to an offensive assistant "with no specific responsibilities at this time."

Posted by: DC Dolfan | January 14, 2013 at 01:28 PM


It is almost beyond belief Bill Parcells could think Sporano was head coach material...

The scary part for us now...was he that wrong regarding Ireland as GM material?

I'm not an Ireland hater. I pray he does a great job this off season...

But I really wonder about anyone Parcells left with us.

But it is true that whenever I left Manhattan and looked back at the Big City, I felt going into Sh-t up North.

whdp I don't think DC knows I was in Saratoga nor does he know the area so you're probably right. And I don't balme him, if he's talking Buffalo, Syracuse, or anywhere in middle to west NY he is correct. They are vast wastelands of nothingness. People in eastern NY got all of the good :)

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