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NFL could contribute $150 million to Miami Dolphins stadium deal

@Patricia Mazzei

The National Football League could contribute $150 million toward the Miami Dolphins’ proposed stadium renovation, lowering the direct costs to the team for the estimated $350 million project, according to a county report released Tuesday.

Miami-Dade officials see the NFL and Dolphins contributions as coming from the same pot of private money, which would account for about 55 percent of the costs and leave the county paying about a third. But the NFL’s contribution had been one of the last remaining questions as county commissioners meet Wednesday to consider a last-minute deal between the Dolphins and Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who want to ask voters to raise hotel taxes to upgrade the 1987 facility.

Teams may use revenue that otherwise would go to the NFL to instead pay down a league loan used for stadium construction or renovation, provided the project has government participation. A Tuesday report on the proposed Sun Life Stadium financing deal prepared for the county by the PFM Group consultancy in Coral Gables notes the Dolphins would likely qualify for $150 million in NFL financing.

That would leave the Dolphins to raise another $41 million to reach the $191 million in private dollars owner Stephen Ross has committed to the $350 million project, or about 12 percent of the total, according to Miami Herald calculations. Miami-Dade would contribute enough hotel tax dollars for the Dolphins to borrow about $112 million, or about 32 percent of the total. A new state subsidy would give the Dolphins an additional $47 million.

A Dolphins spokesman said it’s too early to determine how much money the NFL might contribute to the deal, and disagreed with the calculations.

“The Dolphins are responsible for coming up with more than 70 percent, and how the team does it really doesn’t matter,’’ Dolphins spokesman Eric Jotkoff said in a statement Tuesday night.

Some of the dollar amounts were outlined in a summary Gimenez sent commissioner Tuesday night, though the full paperwork to finalize the plan has not been released.

More, with Douglas Hanks, here.

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