Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins’ need for playmakers on the field is well established, but the team will also need some playmakers off the field if the team is to successfully win approval for a new Sun Life Stadium renovation plan.
The Dolphins pitched a plan Monday that would completely redesign Sun Life Stadium with no new taxes for local residents, according to Fins owner Stephen Ross. The billionaire said he is prepared to fund a majority of the costs for the proposed improvements.
Ross unveiled artist renderings of the proposed changes to Sun Life Stadium and made a six-point pledge to the residents of Miami including:
- Approach this partnership differently than any other by investing more, pledging more, and returning more to the community and fans
- Ensure that private funding pays for the majority of stadium construction costs
- Not request a tax increase for Miami-Dade residents
- Create thousands of local jobs by hiring contractors, subcontractors, and vendors from Miami-Dade
- Create a world-class facility with improved sight lines, seats closer to the field, and an electric environment for the Dolphins, Hurricanes, bowl games and international soccer
- Secure the future of the franchise by committing the Dolphins to play at a modernized Sun Life Stadium through 2034
Ross’ pitch of no new taxes for local residents will instead look to tax hotels to receive some public funding for the project which is expected to cost around $400 million.
The Herald reported the team plans to ask Miami-Dade County to raise taxes charged to mainland hotels from 6 to 7 percent, with the additional revenue going to the stadium. The team also wants an additional $2 million rebate on sales tax on top of $2 million in subsidy the stadium already gets, according to the Herald.
The stadium renovations are needed to avert a threat from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who said a few years ago that if significant improvements weren’t made to Sun Life Stadium, the Super Bowl may not come back to South Florida.
A bigger problem for the Dolphins, according to CBS4 news partner is the Miami Marlins.
The former tenant of Sun Life Stadium took a blowtorch to any publicly-funded stadium plans when they forced taxpayers to pay for a majority of a $639 million stadium and then held a fire sale of any talented players on the roster.
The new Sun Life Stadium would have wider seats, seats closer to the field, huge HD video screens in the corners of the stadium, HD sports lighting, upgraded concessions, updated fan transportation, and an open-air canopy that would partially shield the field from rain, but preserve an open-air feel.
But, that doesn’t mean everything will improve for fans. According to the Herald, the plan will get rid of many upper bowl seats, which are typically the lowest-priced seats. That could hurt attendance depending on the final setup of the stadium and the price of tickets at a refurbished stadium.
Regardless, getting a stadium deal with any tax revenue through both local and state governments at the present time, will present the Dolphins with more of a challenge than stopping Tom Brady.