Marathon talks between the Miami Dolphins and Miami Dade County officials appear to have delivered a tentative deal.
In the agreement, the Dolphins would receive $7.5 million a year in hotel sales taxes to renovate Sun Life Stadium. The deal also stipulates that the Dolphins repay the county between $110 million and $120 million over the next 30 years. The team would face huge penalties if it fails to bring high-profile sporting events to the stadium, including four Super Bowls and four college football championship games.
On January 14th, 2013 the Miami Dolphins announced a controversial plan to completely renovate Sun Life Stadium. The proposed renovations to the 25-year-old facility included expanded seating, a canopy to cover fans and new high-def video screens. The Miami Dolphins promised to privately finance at least half of the cost. The remaining funding would come from a $3 million-per-year tax rebate for the Dolphins and a 1% increase to the Miami-Dade County hotel bed tax.
The public funding in the Marlins stadium deal has been called one of the biggest boondoggles in sports history. But hardly any stadium now is built with only private funds. Why do governments fund these facilities?
On April 1, opening day of Marlins' season, Rick Horrow with WLRN-Miami Herald News hosted a special roundtable, Foul Ball! The Future of the Marlins in Miami, a two-hour radio special on the impact of the Marlins stadium deal. Some of the guests included:
SunLife Stadium, which I will forever lovingly call Joe Robbie Stadium, in honor of the man who built it, on his own, with no public funding, is in need of some sprucing up. The current owner is asking for public money to help in this endeavor. A public that is very wary of rich team owners asking for financial help—think Marlins.
As Miami-Dade commissioners sit down to talk about the public's role for the first time today, the National Football League is offering its support to help Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross pay for improvements to Sun Life Stadium.
The Dolphins have been reluctant to talk about the idea but are hinting that the NFL's contribution is contingent upon public help first. The Miami Herald reports today the amount is unclear, but could be in the tens of millions of dollars.
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.