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Without tax dollars, Miami Dolphins owner must decide whether to spend own cash

via @doug_hanks

Without tax dollars at his disposal, how much money will Stephen Ross spend on Sun Life Stadium?

That’s the question looming over the billionaire owner of the Miami Dolphins in the wake of the Florida Legislature denying his request for both state and county dollars to fund about 45 percent upfront of a $350 million stadium renovation. The team claims the 1987 stadium will be rendered all but unusable in the next five to 10 years without a major rehab, including removing the former Florida Marlins dugouts. Ross’s top aide last week said public dollars were mandatory for the project to proceed.

“I was asked was there a chance Mr. Ross will go forward without a private-public partnership,’’ Dolphins CEO Mike Dee told reporters on April 26. “My answer was no.” In April, Ross told CBS 4 of the Tallahassee bill: “If it stumbles... there won’t be a renovation.”

While Ross has preemptively rejected funding the full $350 million project — which included a canopy to shield the seats from sun and rain — he has not said whether a more modest renovation is possible. One portion of the proposal involved ripping out about 9,000 cheap seats in the top rows of the stadium and adding about 3,000 pricier ones near the field.

Those changes would reduce Sun Life’s capacity by 13 percent to about 65,000, which could help the Dolphins avoid television blackouts that the NFL imposes when the stadium has too many seats to sell on game day.

“He needs to look at the [upgrades] that will pay for themselves’’ said John Vrooman, a Vanderbilt University economics professor who studies stadiums. “I don’t think the roof is going to pay for itself. Cutting back on the marginal seats in the upper deck...creates excess demand [and] inflates the prices for the other seats. That is a positive move” for Ross.

More here.


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Everyone forgets the great role played by the tea party and the Governor in defeating this. Stephen Ross should look into it not the legislators alone.

John P.

Weatherford and the NFL and Dolphins are about to go in an all out war. Gonna be interesting to watch.


Where is your true committment to developing YOUR STADIUM & community with YOUR OWN MONEY Ross and not stealing from the Miami-Dade bed tax? GREAT job state house of representatives and not let outright thievery take place!


Any sane banker (if there are any left) would tell Ross and his folks: "If the investment is so valuable and will pay off so well, why should we lend you the money without you putting up most of your own money for the deal?"

Well, Stevie, what is your answer to that?


Gee, I guess the Dolphins, Inc.are going to have to do like any other business: pay for their own improvements if they want them.


Hmmmm. Let's see. Super Bowls, NCAA Championsip Games, and other future events would benefit the business sector of the entire Miami area. Seems to me that the Florida Legislature just said a big "FU" to the local businesses, not just the Dolphins. This is not baseball here where you hope your team makes it to the playoffs (I know, that sounds funny considering the Marlins are the team referred to here). This was about large events that draw large audiences for not only the events themselves, but for days on end leading up to said events. And let's not forget all those that still come to the area without tickets in hand just so they can partake of all the surrounding festivities. Any business owner, private or corporate, should remember this come election time. Dumb move by the State Legislature -- purely dumb.

Juan Campos

Yeah, but unlike any other business "Betsy", the amount of media, local shops, entertainment big bucks, and tourism from Superbowl aren't things other businesses don't generate for the state,city or county.

Also, tax dollars shouldn't be used to fund politician campaigns as they do now. How about starting there?

Honest in Miami-Dade County

Miami and Broward County win the Super Bowl so often because the weather is great in South Florida. Be honest, you all know that is true. Hotels do not need Super Bowl business because they are 100% booked during Super Bowl with normal tourists. Ross can pay to fix up his own property.


"Honest in Miami-Dade County":

Recent superbowls have been awarded to Detroit, Indianapolis, New York/New Jersey, and now Santa Clara, Atlanta, and Houston are in the mix.

Warm weather in February is not the clincher it used to be. The NFL is awarding cities that build new facilities.


Any business draws money. The rest of us fund our own. The Dolphins can too. I don't like welfare. It brees a class dependent on the public dole. This is corporate welfare.


Gridiron Goons They are bluffing whan they say they are going to move, and Dee act like he is entitled to a handout, he is pure trash for him to have such a sense of entitlement. I say no to fixing their private stadium with tax money.

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