A day after news broke that the Miami Dolphins are trying again to get a deal to renovate their stadium, team owner Stephen Ross issued a statement saying the upgrades are necessary to keep professional football in South Florida.
It's the same argument Ross made last year when he sought county tourism tax dollars and a state subsidy to fund the makeover to Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. But this time around, Ross says the team will pay for the improvements themselves -- if they can turn over ownership of the facility to Miami-Dade County and stop paying its annual, nearly $4 million property-tax bill.
He did not address concerns by the Miami-Dade School Board or the city of Miami Gardens that they would lose tax revenue to fund services.
Here's Ross' statement:
“I have made clear I want the stadium modernized because it’s right for our fans and it’s right for Miami-Dade and South Florida. I have decided the best way to get this done is to pay for the project with private funds. All we ask in return is that we are treated the same as all franchises in the state of Florida. A world-class city needs a world-class stadium.
We haven’t won a Super Bowl bid in Miami-Dade in far too long, and we know that with the stadium as an issue, we never will unless it is modernized. The Super Bowl Committee will have to decide if they want to compete for the next two Super Bowls so time is of the essence. It is time to move forward.
This privately funded project will create more than 4,000 local jobs. We can bring back the Super Bowl, the College Football Playoff Championship and world-class soccer matches -- and all the revenue those big events generate for the local community. I am going to make the commitment and provide the resources because Miami deserves the economic benefits of a modernized stadium.
But for me, this is about something more. I grew up here in Miami-Dade and have been part of this area for most of my life. I want to do this for the community that has done so much for me, and for this storied franchise that means so much to the people of South Florida. With this project, we can secure the future of the Dolphins in Miami-Dade for another 20 years. That is more important to me than anything else.”