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Miami Dolphins: We'll use county money for stadium renovations only if we get 50th or 51st Super Bowl


The Miami Dolphins on Thursday committed to making a proposed special election to finance $400 million stadium renovations conditional on being awarded the 50th or 51st Super Bowl.

Dolphins CEO Mike Dee announced the team's position after returning from NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, an indication that a majority of owners support awarding the 2016 or 2017 Super Bowl to South Florida when they meet again on May 22.

"We have great confidence that South Florida will be awarded a Super Bowl on May 22," Dee told reporters at a Sun Life Stadium news conference.

When the team agreed to the referendum last month, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he might require the NFL to award South Florida a Super Bowl as a condition for spending mainland county hotel taxes on part of the stadium renovation.

"I don't want to be eligible for anything," Gimenez said at the time. "I'd like to see the results and actually land something."

Dee characterized adding the Super Bowl condition to a referendum as a "risk" the team is prepared to take. He rejected suggestions that agreement is a sign that the time-pressed Dolphins are trying to move along ongoing negotiations with Gimenez over a potential funding deal and efforts in the Florida Legislature to approve a hotel-tax hike and an additional state subsidy.

"I don't think it's a Hail Mary," Dee said.

Dee made the announcement along with Rodney Barreto, chair of South Florida Super Bowl Committee and one of the Dolphins' most vocal backers, who said "core" Super Bowl activities will take place in downtown Miami. The last time Sun Life Stadium hosted a Super Bowl, in 2010, most official NFL activities took place in Broward.

Last week, the committee rejected an NFL request to exempt league employees from local hotel taxes in exchange for landing a Super Bowl -- unlike South Florida's rival for the 50th game, Santa Clara, Calif., where a new $1.2 billion stadium is under construction for the San Francisco 49ers.


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Food for thought

FL GOP get used to not having a Governor at the Mansion.

Panhandle Ben

I don't know what Rick Scot is doing but its not good. I voted for him already but i'm not sure anymore.

Van Hamlin

The stadium proponents are low-balling the amount the stadium renovation will cost. The actual amount has been reported as high as $684 million. That money would be spent in addition to the $225 million spent a few years ago on the last renovation. That's a whopping $909 million on a 24-year old stadium, which is privately owned but built on public land. The Dolphins pay $3 million a year in property taxes for the stadium. Of course, the Dolphins get a $2 million dollar rebate from sales tax for the last renovation and are asking for an additional $1 million as part of this renovation.

The Dolphins are asking for the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County to award them an additional 1% bed tax to pay for “half” of this renovation. A bed tax or transient rental tax is a way for local governments to raise taxes without incurring the wrath of voters since, by definition, the people paying the tax are “out-of-towner’s” who don't vote in local elections. The bed-tax will provide the team with an additional $10 million per year of income, at the expense of so-called tourists who are in reality anyone renting a car, booking a room or eating at a hotel, motel etc. bed tax. These taxes can even apply to housing rentals with contracts of less than six months. In reality, greater bed taxes in Miami-Dade County mean that lower bed taxes in Broward and Palm Beach Counties make their businesses more competitive than the Dade businesses.

The NFL wants you to think that Sun Life stadium is a bad place to watch a football game in February at the same time that they have awarded the next game to New York. Goodell claims that he got rained on down here! I can't wait to hear about those wonderful brisk half-time shows performed up north! Why hasn't the BCS told us that Miami has too harsh of a winter for their bowl game? Think back to Super Bowls played in Dallas, Detroit, and Minneapolis before you swallow that line! Even New Orleans is cold in February. Say, I have an Idea! Come in to New York City a week early and go golfing, maybe take a short cruise or shoot down to Atlantic City for some gambling! If you are smart, you will come to South Florida and do all of those things before you watch the game on TV while you get a tan.

The NFL and the Dolphins claim that they will put hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy. This is just not true! The Wall Street Journal did an analysis and showed that at lest half of the Super Bowl hosts lost money and about 15% came closer to breaking even than showing a substantial profit. This is mainly due to the amount of services the hosts have to comp. The study did show that Miami was one of the top profiting venues though. I did some math and came to a $6 million average net profit. Now, if you understand economics, you know that this money circulated through South Florida's economy three for a grand total of $18 million dollars; $5 million more than the $13 million we will be giving the Dolphins if we agree to Mr. Ross's plan.

The Dolphins keep hinting to a five year span between hosting Super Bowls her in Miami. But I have not heard about any deal with the NFL to accomplish that. Cities compete against each other to host these games. There are no guarantees that our stadium renovations will bring one game here to South Florida. For arguments sake lets assume that we do get a Super Bowl every five years. The citizens of Miami-Dade County would have paid about $65 million to reap the approximate $18 million of profit. That means that the Orange Bowl and any other BCS games played in Sun Life Stadium must bring in about $3.1 million per year, if we are to assume that this money will also circulate three times and provide us with the equivalent of $9.4 million in net profit per year. So, I will concede that we might break even if we get a Super Bowl every five years and no further renovations are needed to the old stadium.

Another big problem with these speculative numbers is the fact that contrary to what the NFL says, South Florida is a great place for a winter vacation. February is normally booked at 80% occupancy down here! Now, to be fair, we have to deduct $14.4 million from that $18 million we might generate from Super Bowl. That leaves only $3.6 million of actual profit. Remember, the Wall Street Journal's numbers came added up to $6 million. The other venues that showed a profit were New Orleans, Phoenix, Tampa and San Diego. These are warm weather venues that everyone knows are great winter vacation destinations. Oops! Could the NFL have over estimated the potential profit from Super Bowl?

Our tourist taxes need to be spent on keeping South Florida businesses at 100% occupancy from November 15 through March 15 and at 80% year round. It might not hurt to use some of that money advertising to Canadians and Yankees alike. We need for everyone to believe that South Florida is a great place to vacation and retire. No income taxes, low personal property tax, wonderful safe schools, great services for seniors and low crime. These are the same services that create the lifestyle we, the taxpayers, want to enjoy. More tourists and snowbird residents translate to increased tax revenue as opposed to NFL welfare. Increased tax revenue allows us to hire more cops, more teachers and improve our public healthcare workers. Let's lure all of those frozen retirees to our beaches, golf courses and condominiums! Those tourists and snowbirds actually pay taxes rather than ask for handouts!


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