The Miami Dolphins say they're willing to foot most of the bill for a badly needed facelift for Sun Life stadium -- and are hoping state and local funding will supply the rest. But lingering taxpayer anger over another stadium deal could be hanging over the proposal like a dark cloud.
During a meeting with the Miami Herald's Editorial Board, Miami Dolphins officials said the improvements to Sun Life Stadium would include new seats closer to the field, better concessions and a canopy roof that would shield fans from the elements.
Dolphins owner Steve Ross says the estimated cost for the upgrade is $400 million. "I am prepared to put up more than half money for doing this,” says Ross.
The Dolphins say they've located two possible sources of public money for the project. One is a $3 million annual sales tax rebate on items sold at the stadium. The other would be increasing the bed tax on mainland Miami-Dade hotels.
Although the latter would affect more tourists than locals, it's still likely to be a hard sell in Miami-Dade, where a new Marlins ballpark was built with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.
Dolphins CEO Mike Dee says he's aware of the angst over what he calls "the ballpark to the south."
"I don't get the sense that there was an opposition to supporting things that made sense for the community,” says Dee. “There's opposition to bad deals for the community."
Miami is competing against San Francisco to host Super Bowl L in 2016. If the renovation plan is approved by state and local lawmakers, Miami Dolphins officials say Sun Life Stadium could be ready for the Big Game.